3 Things Financial Marketers Must Know About Digital Video Now

Video advertising for banks and credit unions is evolving far beyond classic commercials and traditional TV screens. Digital disruptors keep coming up with new ways to slice audiences and reach them with innovative formats and messages that engage and entertain viewers.

According to projections by eMarketer, spending on digital video advertising could eventually surpass traditional TV marketing. In 2018 digital video represented 12.4% vs. 31.2% of total media ad spending allocated to traditional TV. By 2022, eMarketer estimates digital will have grown to 17.5% and traditional TV will have fallen to 23.5%.

The online video advertising market has been heating up rapidly. The “Digital Advertising 2020” report from Salesforce found that 65% of marketers have been increasing their digital video ad spend. Among North American firms, 57% have increased video somewhat, while 9% have made substantial increases.

Where digital advertising intersects with video and social media has been constantly evolving. “Expect Facebook and Twitter to keep emphasizing streaming video in order to keep up,” Criteo observes in a report. “With competition from visual-first mediums like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat, it’s clear that social needs to be mobile, engaging and movie-like to keep user attention.”

This content has to be entertaining, not just a “commercial.”

“Good ads today need to be more than ads,” Criteo explains. “They need to be memorable experiences that offer something that reminds, engages, or inspires the shopper. It’s a ‘full funnel journey’ that tracks across the awareness and consideration passes down to conversion.”

Here are three key facets of the changes happening in the digital video and online advertising world that financial marketers need to know today.

1. Video Grows in the Mobile Channel

Not long ago, mobile video wasn’t a factor, thanks to prohibitively expensive wireless data plans. But streaming video is de rigueur for younger consumers — particularly Gen Z.

“Mobile video ads are not new, but they are beginning to gain more prominence in the minds of marketers,” says Rahul Chadha, an analyst with eMarketer. The research firm says $16 billion will be spent in 2019 — a 22.6% increase over 2018 — and $25 billion by 2022. Nearly all of mobile video will be purchased programmatically, according to eMarketer.

Chadha says that U.S. adults are expected to spend 24 minutes on average watching mobile video and by 2020 that will near 30 minutes.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “2018 Video Ad Spend Study” found that 51% of respondents planned to increase spending on mobile video over the next six months, with most of the remainder maintaining current levels. (The same study found that many advertisers engage in cross platform buys, purchasing both TV and digital video.)

“Rewarded” video ads — you opt in to view the mobile ad and then get something, such as “coins” for a mobile game or a period of commercial-free music on a streaming service — are expected to be used more in 2019, according to Chadha. They are moving into new applications, even news apps, which give complying users access to exclusive content.

“It’s in the early stages, creeping out of gaming apps,” he explains. Pandora uses rewarded ads to deliver content that is normally only provided to paying subscribers.

Chadha says rewarded video exemplifies the “attention economy.” While the pursuit of eyeballs has always been a key aspect of all advertising, consumers now like an explicit quid pro quo for their time.

Bottom line for financial marketers: Mobile video advertising needs to be on the radar. If you’ve already got a sophisticated digital marketing plan that includes video advertising on platforms like Facebook and YouTube, you should start incorporating mobile video into the mix.

2. Get Video Marketing Messages Across in Six Seconds

With skippable ads that feature a countdown clock, consumers can click to skip within as little as 5-6 seconds. Some shorter ads are non-skippable. These six-second spots are known as “bumper ads” (so called because they are placed like speed bumps in front- and in the middle of content).

“People don’t like non-skippable ads,” says Chadha. “But they work.”

However, to be effective, a six-second ad needs to work extra hard to engage and entertain the audience.

“It’s really about delivering the advertising creative at a level that’s going to be acceptable to the viewer,” Chadha explains. “And you have to get your branding in early.”

Research has shown that the first five seconds of a video ad get the most visual attention and the most thought. In fact, experts suggest that six-second ads be optimized so the message will get through even if the sound is taken off. Researchers indicate that often that’s how people look at mobile video.

Chadha says that six-second ads work best when they are produced in conjunction with longer versions that can hammer home the message more completely when consumers are of a mind to give greater attention. Research by Freewheel says six-second ads work well when used to reinforce messages delivered earlier by 15-second and 30-second video ads.

In addition, Freewheel says in a study that “30-second ads are seen as less enjoyable and less appropriate in short-form video environments.” Again, it goes back to the consumer’s perceived quid pro quo.

Here are some tips from Teads and Gum Gum, a pair of digital marketing agencies:

1. Tell a story. You might think that sounds impossible in just six seconds, but don’t scoff. You can find reels of six-second ads online, and the best really do tell a story. According to Teads, humor often engages better in these shorter formats.

2. Don’t try to tell everything. Focus is critical. A longer message can be broken into pieces or a single product can be promoted exclusively in a six-second ad.

3. Use a minimum of shots. Gum Gum says that the first image the viewer sees is what tells the critical message. And sometimes that’s all that’s really needed.

4. Leave them wanting more. Six-second spots should often be seen as teasers that advertisers’ hope will send the viewer somewhere else on the web for further information.

5. Weigh music carefully. Teads discourages the use of music. They say it isn’t necessarily a winning strategy in short spots.” In fact, it could be a distraction.

Bottom line for financial marketers: Whether you’re running six-second online video ads or not, financial marketers must learn to condense their message. In the digital age, you have to be quick and concise. With the entire online universe competing for users’ attention, you also have to be entertaining.

3. Amazon’s Quest for World Domination Extends to Digital Video Advertising

Financial marketers obsess over every move Amazon makes, wondering if — or when — it will officially throw down the gauntlet and challenge traditional banks and credit unions. As a corollary, look at Amazon’s growing role in the digital ad space. Some analysts suspect that before too long, that aspect of Amazon could become a leading source of its revenues.

Their latest foray into video streaming illustrates how video — in all of its online forms — has rewritten the rules for marketers around the world, including those in the financial industry. In January 2019, Amazon unveiled its much-rumored Freedive ad-supported video streaming service on the internet staple IMDb.

Ad placements on Freedive resemble those in longer YouTube videos. Viewers can fast-forward, but can’t skip the commercials. Early advertisers on Freedive included Verizon and Toyota.

Selling digital ads is not new territory for Amazon. According to a 2018 report by eMarketer, Amazon was already the #3 digital ad seller in the U.S. In its rise to third place (raking in 4.1% of all digital ad spending), it passed Verizon and Microsoft. It’s only behind Facebook (20.6%) and Google (37.1%). eMarketer estimates that U.S. brands spent $4.61 billion on Amazon advertising in 2018.

With the advent of Freedive, Amazon’s ad inventory is that much larger. They have conveniently centralized purchasing of all of its digital offerings at Amazon Advertising. Ads that appear on Amazon’s shopping sites take a number of forms, including display ads, video ads, sponsored items, sponsored links in searches, and more. These placements may take those who click on them to stores on Amazon’s site, to advertisers’ own sites, or to videos or other special features. The company also facilitates placement on its own real estate as well as elsewhere on the web through its Amazon DSP (demand side platform).

Amazon’s advertising model is built on insights derived from data. Like rivals Facebook and Google, they can use their consumer intelligence to target messages with precision, increasing relevancy for consumers.

“Amazon has an enormous amount of consumer data, and it’s not just demographic data, it’s actual shopping and buying data,” says Perrin, explaining part of the appeal for brands working with Amazon.

One financial brand that has worked with Amazon advertising is Mastercard. A case study on Amazon’s site explains how the payments company used video spots to promote the ease of online payment and, in Italy, contactless payments.

Other major providers aren’t holding still either. YouTube, owned by Google, announced in late January that its YouTube TV had been expanded to serve 98% of the U.S. YouTube TV is a paid membership gives subscribers live TV from major broadcast networks, popular cable networks, and premium networks, along with popular shows from YouTube creators. The service includes some local advertising time in each hour of content.

Bottom line for financial marketers: If you don’t have Amazon in your digital marketing mix now, it’s time to start planning on it.

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