As a consumer, you are accustomed to video content across your usual online content destinations. On news, entertainment and sports sites, you know and expect at least some video content. Video content keeps users engaged, holds them on the site and, most importantly, keeps them coming back. Of course, a component of the video ecosystem you are also accustomed to is video advertising in the form of pre-roll or sponsored content.
So, if consumers have a certain level of expectation for video content on their favorite websites and they are used to video advertising as an “entry ticket” to be able to watch that video content, then why has video content and video advertising opportunities failed to gain significant traction outside of pure content destination sites?
Retailers are missing an opportunity to achieve their primary objective of selling more products. Unlike Amazon, retailers don’t have to invest in video creation resources on their product pages to be successful. A simple invitation to suppliers (whether monetized with advertising or not) to submit helpful video content to assist with the sale will help jump start video content on their site.
Currently, video advertising demand outweighs supply across quality sites. This offers opportunities for publishers to sell their inventory directly at high CPMs or put their inventory into an exchange where advertisers can bid programmatically and fight over the existing inventory. Publishers who have figured out how to utilize video content not only as a way to enhance the site experience, but also as a way to substantially impact advertising revenue are cashing in.
The big question for retailers is, why continue to sabotage the customer experience, site sales, and monetization opportunities while Amazon is mastering video and reaping the rewards?
Retailers Are Also Publishers
Most video content associated with advertising opportunities have been limited to content publishers as opposed to traditional retailers and other ecommerce players. Why? Video content enhances the site experience. While the purpose of the video content is different for retailers (focused on informing purchase decisions) as opposed to pure information and entertainment, retailers are clearly missing the boat in terms of capitalizing on the multiple streams of revenue video can generate.
Many retailers hesitate because they don’t want video to clutter up and interfere with the buying process. While their first objective always should be site sales or a clean experience that leads to an in-store sale, retailers miss a major opportunity to hit both of those objectives. This is where retailers need to start seeing themselves as both publisher and in-store sales assistant.
Now That’s an Opportunity!
Say, I need to buy a washing machine and dryer within the next 12 months. I have a price range in mind but, other than that, I am completely clueless about which make and model I should purchase. I visit a series of retailer websites to research, but spend my time clicking through product pages just reading product specs. In the end, I’m left without knowing what factors I should consider when selecting my washer and dryer and I’m no better off than when I entered the product consideration cycle.
Imagine how helpful it would be if the retailer presented me with a short video to help me understand what to consider when making my purchase. Sounds simple, but most retailers do not take this step. For the few retailers that offer this video resource—ABT for example—they are missing an opportunity to monetize the video with short pre-roll content or sponsorships. Retailers and brands have an opportunity to reach me as a shopper and have a large brand impact, during a valuable time – when I am in the purchase consideration mode.
Another opportunity can be found in the next place a consumer is most likely to turn if they can’t find what they’re looking for: Search. If a consumer is already exhibiting purchase intent and site search produces video results (such as a branded product video), there is no greater efficiency for a brand message to affect a sale.
Follow the Money Like a Publisher
Video advertising revenue is no joke. Take AOL. They haven’t exactly been a model of success in the past several years, but they posted their biggest revenue growth in the past 10 years this last Q4. Their purchase of Adap.tv and the subsequent revenue results show that the purchase and sale of online video through real-time bidding pays off.
For the retailers worried about demand, stop. Demand for quality video advertising opportunities has never been higher. The ability to purchase video programmatically (like AOL has with Adap.tv) allows advertisers to leverage publisher first-party data in order to get in front of their targets when they are likely to be in-market for a specific product or category of products… a true goldmine for an advertiser and a major revenue opportunity for the retailer.
AOL isn’t the only publisher to cash in on video advertising. Amazon just announced a partnership with technology partner FreeWheel that could be the first step toward creating their own video ad network. With Amazon’s huge product listings and their current use of product page video, it is somewhat surprising that it has taken them this long.
The real question for more traditional brick-and-mortar retailers is: How long will you wait to follow the money and begin thinking like a publisher?
More than a quarter million car people visit Detroit’s Cobo Hall to see 700+ automobiles, including 50 new releases, during the North American Auto Show. It’s heaven for enthusiasts (and in-market car shoppers) and the biggest show in the business for the automotive industry.
For advertisers, the auto show is the third in January’s trifecta of major trade shows (on the heels of CES and NRF). Automobiles, advertising and America have always had a strong connection, both in print and on television – from the 1950s jingle suggesting you “See the USA in your Chevrolet” to Volkswagen’s ground-breaking “Think Small” and “Lemon” ads in the 1960s and its more recent “The Force” campaign last year.
As advertising has advanced in the digital age, so have automakers. With the North American Auto Show as the backdrop, new research points to the efficacy of digital/social media advertising programs for car brands.
Facebook Works—Especially for Car Shoppers “in the Funnel.”
Even though GM famously split (and got back together with) Facebook over the effectiveness of their advertising, comScore just released new research that Facebook has a tremendous effect on shoppers in the sales funnel:
• Website visits rose 37%
• Model page visits rose 50%
• Brand searches rose 11%
• Competitor searches dropped 3%
• Competitor model searches dropped 14%
Digital Ads Carry Tremendous Influence Locally and Nationally
In advance of the North American Auto Show, IAB released these stats trumpeting how vital digital advertising is for auto-makers:
• In-market car shoppers are 71% more likely to be swayed by digital ads for cars than the general population
• 29% of regular and occasional online researchers looked up cars before buying in person
• Social media was 79% more likely to sway car shoppers than casual browsers
• Most car shoppers use desktops and laptops to research potential vehicles
• But 75% of auto intenders own a smartphone
• Crossover and truck shoppers are more likely to comparison shop using their smartphone
• In-market car shoppers love streaming: 69% reported regularly watching online videos/TV
Automakers aren’t abandoning traditional media any time soon. But they are certainly paying more attention to digital advertising and social media.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) isn’t just the time to ogle over the latest tech — this is where early trends in technology and consumer concerns emerge for the year ahead. The big hits of CES 2014 could present major advertising opportunities for advertisers in 2014.
Smartphone Accessories Promise New Insights, If They Ever Catch On
CES was all about wearable tech, but, as TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington pointed out, the potential trend has two hurdles to overcome before it becomes the next technological revolution. First, companies such as LG and Samsung have to convince consumers that devices like Lifeband Touch or Gear are immediately as useful as the smartphone it pairs with. Second, while any marketer would love to get their hands on the kind of lifestyle data these devices promise, the consumer is probably much less interested in sharing that information.
Still, if tech companies can navigate the minefield of consumer privacy, wearable technology promises information on everything that can be connected to a smartphone. The advertising opportunities that come with lifestyle-connected and location-based data are limitless.
Your Car Will Soon Have an App for That
Google kicked off CES with the announcement of the Open Automotive Alliance, which will partner car companies like Audi, GM, Honda, Hyundai and NVIDIA with tech companies to standardize Android as an in-car operating system. Ford’s AppLink promises drivers and passengers voice control over popular Apple and Android apps like NPR, Spotify and TuneIn.
And, although the Detroit Auto Show hadn’t started yet, automakers such as Audi and BMW flaunted their latest autonomous car prototypes.
On the same vein of wearable tech, autonomous and smartphone-connected cars have a few speed bumps before they can get into high gear.
Even though the Google car has logged more than 150,000 miles with only two minor accidents (both caused by human error), consumers are still skeptical of these highly sophisticated operating systems.
The Government Accountability Office reported to Congress that, though companies with car-based GPS tech are taking steps to protect consumer privacy, most consumers don’t recognize how much of data is shared with third parties. As autonomous cars get closer to market, the issue will certainly come up again.
Advertising on the Road
Pandora announced in-car advertising solutions with a slew of major brands on-board. Car companies, however, are cautious to jump on advertising opportunities that might be seen as too disruptive to the driving experience. For luxury brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz, advertising through a car doesn’t “add value” to their customer’s experience.
The 4K TV That Stole the Show
Just when you thought TV resolution couldn’t get any higher, 4K televisions became the big buzzword for TV execs at CES. With a higher frame rate and wider color range, manufacturers, media networks and advertisers alike are going to have to adapt to new requirements of the technology. Even if widespread adoption is still a couple years off, advertisers should be preparing to take on the latest height of image definition.
CES overflowed potential advertising opportunities. But it’s up the marketer to figure out how to best use these new mediums.
The start of the new year is an opportunity to reflect on the last. A look back reminds us of the strides we have taken as individuals, as a company or as an industry. With that in mind, we want to review the biggest stories from the past year, and look forward to the year to come:
Advertising on Social Media: NBD for Users, Huge Opportunity for Retailers
Initially controversial advertising on platforms like Gmail and Facebook is now a commonplace and lucrative practices for retailers, brands and the platforms alike. Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all leveraged their massive audience to build relationships with advertisers and users. Instagram’s early results were promising, with audiences recalling up to 32% of sponsored posts, and it is already flexing its muscles to see if it can scoop up brand dollars destined for television advertising. Pinterest has developed partnerships with major retailers such as Nordstrom to determine which items should be included in its stores and Twitter debuted ad targeting based on “broad match” keywords.
If Your Focus isn’t Mobile, You’re Doing it Wrong
Mobile will drive nearly all digital-advertising growth in 2014. eMarketer predicts mobile ad spending will hit $14.97 billion by the end of the year, increase at a rate of 56% over 2013. Expectations for desktops are not so high: desktop ad spending it expected to tick up 0.41%. Mobile traffic and shopping exploded over the 2013 Holiday season, making up:
• Nearly 40% of Black Friday online traffic [IBM]
• 21.8% of all online Black Friday sales [IBM]
• 31.7% of all Cyber Monday traffic [IBM]
• 17% of all Cyber Monday [IBM]
• $940 million in sales on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday [Business Insider]
• 48% of all online traffic on Christmas Day [IBM]
• 29% of all online sales on Christmas Day [IBM]
Digital Advertising Accounts for 1 in 5 Ad Dollars Worldwide
Digital ad spending in 2013 was predicted to reach $117.6 billion out of the $517.1 billion spent on advertising worldwide. Again, investment in mobile ads and broader adoption is accredited for the growth. With consumers moving away from traditional media, all industries have increased their mobile budget.
A Cardinal Year for Triad Retail Media
It’s not often you hear of a company maintaining remarkable growth in their ninth year, but that’s exactly what Triad Retail Media did in 2013. Here’s a peek at our year, by the numbers:
• 150 new team members joined TRM.
• 2 new offices were opened. (We now have teams located in San Francisco, CA and Leeds, UK.)
• 1 major office move, when our corporate headquarters and its 300+ staff members moved to our new digs in St. Petersburg, FL.
• 3 listings on the Inc.500|5000 (most recently this past year)
• 1st rank by the Business Journal when listing Florida’s Largest Advertising and Marketing Agencies.
Big year? We’d say so. 2013 saw many great developments for our employees, our company and our industry, and we look to continue that momentum in 2014.