Video ads for publishers: everything you need to know
In this blogpost we’ll analyze the importance of video ads for publishers and show the main formats of video ads to look out for!
Table of Contents
The publishing industry, with all its complex ramifications, increasingly puts digital at the center. And when we talk about digital communication, we’re talking about an unprecedented increase of content, media, channels, and tools; and also of target audience segments.
Amid this vast, diverse, and ever-changing landscape when it comes to the effectiveness of online communication, the type of content that guarantees the best performance is video. This is why we chose to devote an entire series of blog posts to the topic of video for the Publishing Industry.
We began with a blog post where we isolated and analyzed the main benefits of producing video content for publishers.
Then we looked at the issues surrounding visibility and reader engagement. We asked: what role do videos play in achieving these crucial goals? The topic is closely connected to everything related to SEO and optimizing your site and pages for search engines. We explored all of these sides in this second post. Finally, we moved on to a decisive topic: video automation. Why is it so important?
Simply: because we live in a world of constant updates and news coming at us, at every moment, from all over the world. It’s unthinkable to believe that we can keep up with these rhythms with “human resources” alone. This is where automation systems come to our aid, systems that are able to transform data and articles of any kind into usable and effective videos, with enormous savings in time and money, with interesting possibilities to automatically adapt your messages based on different target audiences. We focused on all of this in the third post, which you can find here.
Therefore, with this blog post we come full circle and address the topic of video ads for publishers.
Video ads for publishers – definition, importance, goals
The broadest definition of video advertising is one that includes all online marketing strategies that concern video. In short, the definition practically overlaps with that of video marketing.
Generally, however, the video ad label indicates something more circumscribed: the advertisements that appear before, during, or after a video stream. We can understand, then, that editorial titles can play two different roles in video ads.
In concrete terms:
- they can host video ads from other companies or brands on their own pages, within their own video content, to obtain a financial return;
- or they can produce video ads themselves, related to their own masthead or specific initiatives, to be distributed within video content on YouTube or any other site or platform.
In general, however, how important is video advertising?
This question could be answered by consulting an enormous amount of data and statistics, which all point in the same direction. Here, we’ll limit ourselves to the following:
- In 2021, the coverage of video in relation to total internet users worldwide was 92%. (statista.com);
- There are about 2.6 billion monthly active users on YouTube;
- A total of 1 billion hours of videos are viewed every day (demandsage.com);
- According to a 2022 survey, YouTube is the platform the American public would miss most if it disappeared;
- Of all video platforms, it is the top service that people count on using for at least six more years (73%). (thinkwithgoogle.com);
- Not surprisingly, 89% of marketers plan to use YouTube in their strategies (wyzowl.com);
- And 88% of marketers who use video ads are satisfied with their return on investment (oberlo.com);
At this point, let’s ask ourselves: what are the main objectives of a campaign based on video ads?
We can distinguish them into three macro-categories, which marketers are familiar with:
To make sure that the brand (or one’s newspaper) is increasingly known among an increasingly wide audience and in an increasingly memorable way.
For a brand, targeting consideration means providing customers with extra information about their products or services, especially in the stages close to the purchase decision, in order to push them in that direction.
Beware: publishers may also need to navigate this stage: perhaps to get their audience to consider subscribing, to direct people to a premium package, or to launch merchandise of any kind.
These are just a few examples.
Here, we are in the final phase of any video advertising campaign: the one that points to the direct call to action, aimed at purchasing a product or service…or, again, a subscription, a prize package, and merchandise. Or, to give two other potentially very interesting examples for the publishing world, to collect contacts for a newsletter or registrations for a workshop.
What matters when it comes to video ads for publishers is knowing how to best navigate these three phases. Each of these has its own best practices, at the level of script construction, storytelling, production, and distribution. And you can’t get to the action phase if you haven’t gone through brand awareness and consideration first.
Be careful, though! Once you have identified your goals, the first key decision that you’ll need to make concerns the formats of the video ads themselves. It’s on this decisive aspect that we conclude this post.
The main formats of video ads for publishers
As anticipated, here is a list of video ad formats. These are the ones we are all now very familiar with, especially on YouTube:
In-stream ignorable video ads
These are the ads that are played before, during, or after other videos. The viewer has the option to skip the ad (on YouTube, typically, this option occurs after 5 seconds). Their main benefit is to reach a large number of users, with a limited budget, in a non-invasive way. Consequently, they are a perfect format when the goal of the video ad campaign is about brand awareness.
In-stream video ads that cannot be ignored
These are ads that can be played before, during, or after other videos. But, in this case, the user does not have the option to skip. Consequently, this type of video ad is indicated when you want your company’s message to be displayed from beginning to end.
For example, this is the preferred format if you decide to include a call to action at the end of the communication. Otherwise, the possibility that the user will stop viewing first is very high.
In-feed video ads
In this format, video ads are placed next to YouTube content that is most likely to be viewed in search results by the target audience. In addition, videos are placed in the “What to watch next” section and in the feed of the YouTube app home page. In short, we’re talking about a more select potential audience that connects with the message you want to deliver.
When to use them?
Again, when the goal is awareness, but, even more so when targeting consideration.
These are very short videos. On YouTube, they have a maximum duration of six seconds. They are inserted within a video, either at the beginning, the end, or during playback. The user does not have the option of skipping them.
How are they useful?
They are especially useful in terms of attracting the attention of a very large audience in a very short period of time. The recommendation is to use them within a well-designed mix, where longer video ads are also included, and where your messages can be shared in a more extended way. In the case of bumpers, communication must be lightning-fast, attention-grabbing, and the message must be as clear and concise as ever.
Finally, here’s another format that is perfect when aiming for maximum coverage, to reach as large an audience as possible in the shortest possible time. A featured video in a masthead ad automatically plays without sound for up to 30 seconds at the top of the YouTube homepage feed. So, a placement where visibility is assured.
In conclusion: which format should you choose for your video ads? It all depends on the goals of your campaign. But also on the identity of your masthead. And, of course, the target audience you are addressing. Let’s close, however, with advice that applies to everyone: the best strategy is one that knows how to combine a mix of different formats, so that they reinforce each other.
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