Bridging TV and Video for Effective Online Advertising Creative

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If print ads are the predecessor to digital banner ads, then TV commercials are the forefathers to online video (both in-banner and in-stream). Creative agencies have perfected the art of the TV commercial with exemplary spots that are still mentioned by consumers and advertisers alike. Any discussion of TV advertising’s greatest hits includes the silly genius of Mentos, the iconic 1984 Apple ad and GE’s sweet story about awoman’s career from her daughter’s perspective, and thousands of other great spots. At this point, does the industry have anything to learn when it comes to creating exciting digital video campaigns, or is broadcast-based expertise easily transferable?

It has a lot to learn, actually. While there are similarities between a digital video ad and a TV commercial (e.g. amazing storytelling opportunities, and the fact that viewers are already focused on the right part of the screen), there are many differences between the TV and online environments. Digital channels create the possibility for advertising to become a two-way path. Not only is the brand sharing its message with the viewer, but the viewer can now interact with the brand. There are also limitations in an online environment: the screen is usually smaller than a television, and viewers are accustomed to shorter content.

These opportunities and limitations should guide the creation of digital video. On most platforms, viewers have the option to skip ads, so the most important content should come at the beginning of an in-stream ad. On desktop and mobile devices, viewers consume many short pieces of content, so some advertisers release multiple short ads in lieu of one longer ad, giving viewers the option to consume additional brand content if they choose.

Measurement is a key area where the rules of TV do not apply in digital. In television, the most commonly used metrics are around reach. Online advertisers measure reach and impression volume, in addition to clicks, interactions, video completions, conversions, and much more. One newer metric that has been the subject of many conversations is viewability, which is defined by the MRC as at least 50 percent of the ad in view for at least one second.

Another measurement opportunity afforded by digital video advertising is the ability to analyze performance across channels using consistent measures, like interaction rate for interactive display and in-stream, and completion rates for videos shown in-stream and in-banner.

“Once you layer interactive elements into in-stream video, then metrics like brand time and interaction rates all begin to matter,” my colleague, Todd Pasternack, said in eMarketer’s “50 Best Practices for Digital Video” report (available here for subscribers).  “And what’s useful about that, too, is that helps create at least a thread of commonality in metrics to other types of creative you’re running just outside of your in-stream.”

Ideally, all of these metrics will come from one place, reducing the time and effort required to synthesize data.

The ability to advertise across different channels — including print, television, digital video, social platforms, and mobile apps, among others — creates many points of contact between consumers and brands, but how specifically should the brand message be tailored to the medium? According to a recent report released by Gallup, the more consistent advertising efforts are across all channels, the more effective they will be. Each advertising channel presents its own unique opportunity, but must be designed with the goal of presenting a harmonious message to customers.

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