With advertisers pausing Twitter ads amid the Elon Musk mess, TikTok’s rumored FCC ban, and ad revenue target misses at Google, Snapchat and Meta, many of the “easy bet” Web2 platforms are looking bleak for many advertisers.
Combine social media’s headwinds with the emergence of Web3 and many people are migrating toward open web and publisher-direct experiences. It’s no surprise that the ad spend is moving to familiar and easy-to-execute media by way of programmatic video, which, by the way, is expected to surge to $74.88 billion in 2023, surpassing linear TV ad spending.
If marketers correctly play this hand they’ve been dealt, they can apply many of the lessons learned from their experience with digital channels like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok to digital video on the open web, where interactive video ads are no longer just nice to have but are a necessity.
The early Web2 winners taught us that people crave instant gratification from digital content environments that offer engagement. Today’s digital ad experiences should be no different. In a perfect world, digital video creative should highlight amazing video assets. It should introduce animation. It should invite and reward engagement. And most importantly, it should be interactive.
What’s holding interactive video ads back?
There is a big disparity in the investment and interest that creative agencies have in producing assets for digital, compared with shooting broadcast TV spots. Creativity within digital channels can’t be limited to assets passed on from other channels. Rather, remarkable digital creative will come from teams that are willing to put interactive video concepts into client brainstorms and pitches, instead of focusing on a series of broadcast spots that eventually make their way to digital.
Today, display advertising is extensive, with the category encompassing rich media, native, outstream video and more. However, with fewer assets available, many think that executing interactive digital video in a display advertising setting is more challenging to pull off than it really is. Interestingly enough, existing brand video assets, social clips and sizzles can come in handy when reimagining video advertising for the open web.
Transforming video ads: interactive product hotspots and live polls
Think of any video asset you currently have available. Perhaps you leveraged that video within a traditional TV ad spot, CTV or YouTube.
Now, consider this. You can use that same video asset as a variety of digital video ad executions. On top of that, you can layer interactive components to these ad experiences, enabling people to take advantage of the touch-screen interactivity that so many devices offer. The most sophisticated of these ad executions can even support the latest VAST standards, which make delivery and tracking that much easier across devices and platforms.
Product hotspots and shoppable carousels are two interactive video features that allow brands to overlay different products in a single video ad. By adding animation and deep linking to product pages, it’s easier and more convenient for people to click and buy. A sporting goods brand can take a single consistent brand video and leverage it across multiple seasons, simply altering the product overlays and carousels accordingly to make the ad contextually relevant—for example, highlighting tennis rackets and soccer cleats in the spring and other items throughout the year.
Live polling is another popular interactive feature within video ad formats that similarly takes an existing video asset and overlays it with an interactive poll. Whereas product hotspots and shoppable carousels are geared toward product-centric campaigns, we see brands using the live-polls format for more awareness or audience-focused initiatives.
There are many forward-thinking brands capitalizing on this opportunity. Tyson, Chevrolet, and Heinz are just a few examples of brands that not only value more advanced rich media approaches to digital programmatic advertising, but are also gaining advantages and driving better business outcomes.
In the last two years, we gave independent research firm Echelon Insights access to hundreds of our interactive video ads that ran as a part of client campaigns. Echelon found that these formats drove brand lift as high as 34% over the control groups. In Q3 2022, we’ve witnessed these digital video ad formats exceed Oracle Moat’s U.S. display benchmarks for universal interaction rate by as high as 295%.
Go forth and creatively prosper
Most marketers know that interactivity and innovative new advertising features are all the rage. But they have no idea how to approach the space, or if they do what they need in order to participate. Other marketers haven’t quite caught on, and that’s OK because that’s why you tap experts and creative specialists to help.
As a company with a decade of experience developing digital experiences, we know that data science and targeting are important, but serving an ad at the right time means nothing if your ad creative flops.
With the rise of short-form video platforms like TikTok and similar solutions such as Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts, it’s clear that video is people’s favorite dopamine hit. It’s time marketers take advantage of this and bring interactive video to their media mix across the ever-proliferating open internet.