The Importance of Video in the Digital Space

Video is dominating the digital space and it’s only predicted to continue to grow. According to the 2016 NewFronts: IAB Video Ad Spend Study ad spend on original digital video increased 114% since 2014. In the last two years on average more than $10 million have been spent on digital video advertising annually. And the technology that supports digital advertising just keeps getting smarter. It’s shocking, and at times even terrifying, how they know so much about the consumer. Everything from location, to browsing history, to tracking what your eyes are looking at on the screen. It’s crazy!

Our resident expert Adam Clayton has an extensive background in the digital space which began after receiving his MBA from the University of Missouri. Adam got his start building ad word campaigns for an e-commerce company, he learned everything there was to know about Google adwords and received his certification while there. After bouncing around the digital ad space, buying digital media at an advertising agency to managing display and video at an internet marketing company, he discovered his passion for digital video. Adam saw the endless opportunity in this space. Fast forward to today, Adam is now Senior Director of Media Operations at Ad.net, where he built and grew the team from scratch four years ago.

We sat with Adam recently to discuss why he thinks video has such a big impact in the digital space.


Q: Why do you think video is so important in the digital space?

AC: It’s so important because everything is digital now. Refrigerators are now digital, you can purchase groceries from your fridge door. So with almost everything being digital the opportunities to advertise will only increase.


Q: What type of content do you think works best for video advertising?

AC: In the video space, sponsored content or branded content works best especially on facebook and youtube. Branded content videos, that are 2.5 minutes long, are now outperforming traditional 30 second video ads. It engages with the audience in a new and different way.


Q: The mobile vs. desktop debate. Where does digital video work best?

AC: I think they are equally as important but with mobile there are definitely a new set of challenges and opportunities. You have the cross device attribution hurdle, identifying users across all their devices. Then there’s the engagement hurdle, you engage differently on your phone (usually with more distraction) than you would parked in front of a desktop. And finally, you have the video quality hurdle, video will always be smaller and look different than it would on a tablet or desktop.

As for the opportunity with mobile, there are lots of new interesting ways to engage and target customers. For example, hyper targeted geo location on devices can now detect your location and your distance from a store, a bank etc.. They can also see what you last purchased or last searched for with browser and sign-on data, and target you with a relative display ad or video. Another opportunity example would be Andriod phones using accelerometers and front side cameras to see how engaged you are based on your movement and where your eyes are looking at the screen. This will be huge with branded video content and product placements, they’ll be able to see which product you are looking at and for how long. A lot of interesting data will come from this technology.

It’s no surprise that mobile has become the most common device chosen to surf the web, but I truly feel that it doesn’t make a difference. Everything you can do on a desktop, you can now do on a mobile phone. As long as the content is tailored appropriately to the environment in which the ad is being viewed, where you’re seeing a video ad doesn’t really matter anymore.


Q: Is Ad.net doing anything unique or interesting in this space?

AC: The most interesting thing we offer clients, in my opinion, is our unique inventory. We focus on niche publishers who have an engaged and dedicated user base and we leverage their specialty or expertise (for example publishers who focus on cooking, health, education, family, etc.). Not only do we have unique inventory but we also offer a full suite of proprietary ad units publishers can choose from. This includes everything from video, display, and search.


Q: Do you see any missed opportunity in digital video advertising?

AC: I think users should be more involved, after all they are the ones consuming the content. There could be a better process for surveying the user to find out their likes, dislikes, and what truly resonates with them. And who knows, maybe one day the viewer could potentially earn money for having provided feedback, share revenue with the publisher.


Q: Where do you see video heading in the next 5 years?

AC: The line between content and advertising will continue to get blurrier and blurrier. I think in the next few years you won’t be able to tell the difference between the two. Ad blockers will have a tough time telling the difference because the advertisements will be so well integrated into content. You won’t even know you are being sold to.



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