User appetite for online video consumption is growing year-on-year — rising 43.9% in 2015 — and brands are increasingly seeing the opportunity and effectiveness of this rising tide, and investing their marketing budgets in video. In France, video ad spend has reached €126 million, and global digital video consumption is expected to jump by 20% in 2016.
As all of us strive to be best in class, the question is — how can marketers master video advertising to deliver the most  impactful campaigns?

1. Understand video ad formats and metrics

Video advertising success depends upon a detailed understanding of the ad formats offered by premium quality video platforms like YouTube and Facebook, how they differ, and how the measurement of each aligns with core business goals.
What constitutes a view and how important is watch time? A three-second view on Facebook might be cheap, but what’s the real impact of such a short exposure, and would you be better served with YouTube’s skippable TrueView format, where advertisers are charged only when the user watches over 30 seconds or the entire ad.
Or is click-through rate the key media metric to measure? Overall, Facebook video ads lead to higher user engagement rates in simple interactions (likes, shares), given the social nature of the platform. While TrueView offers interactive elements like information cards and companion banners, Facebook’s interactive elements are simpler and take up more screen real estate, making it easier for users to interact.
Once the key differences are understood, marketers can implement data-based planning to ensure video advertising is efficient and targeted, and allocate budget to the platform that is most likely to achieve brand objectives.

2. Utilise data to hyper-target and drive action

The online video user base is vast — YouTube alone has over one billion viewers — and while this provides enormous reach, it also raises the need for high-impact messaging and accurate targeting. Walled gardens provide unique access to high quality, second-party audience data that enables advertisers to build targeted, far-reaching campaigns with multiple insight-based targeting options. Pre-roll ads can be targeted to appear ahead of videos related to specific topics and linked to keywords in video search queries, or ads can be targeted to, and  to specific audience segments. The ability to target contextually on YouTube (e.g. by channel) has a measurable impact on video completion rates and audience retention — we’ve seen 1.5x higher view rates when using placement targets (targeting specific channels) compared to standard affinity targets.
To achieve maximum engagement, brands must include a clear call to action (CTA) that aligns with the interactive elements offered by each premium platform. YouTube provides YouTube Cards, Companion Banners, and Shoppable Links that appear within videos and present viewers with the opportunity to immediately take action. Facebook’s simple engagement buttons make it easy for viewers to show interest by liking and sharing across their social network.

3. Test frequently and optimise in-flight

Video advertising, like its audience, is subject to real-time changes. Marketers should constantly monitor campaign performance and adjust budgets accordingly to enhance reach and value. They should experiment with A/B tests on audience segments, and with different asset lengths and CTAs to assess impact and gauge audience receptivity. A test, learn, and buy approach is key, with the ability to shift budgets based on what is resonating with the target audience. This is where technology plays a key role, replacing hours of flawed manual effort. Multivariate testing, dynamic in-flight optimisation, and real-time measurement are made more efficient and effective when powerful technology is implemented.
Video ad formats may be more complex than an upfront TV buy, but the rewards of premium video advertising can be much greater. By setting informed campaign goals, granularly targeting the right audiences, and investing in proven technology, marketers can harness the power of video advertising.
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