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September 15, 2016
If you’re old enough to remember the early days of the commercial Internet, think back to what the advertising landscape looked like. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, ad units were limited to simple banners and animated graphics.
Looking for a way to stand out and make an impression among audiences, marketers learned to get aggressive. Looking to generate website traffic, they’d optimize their ad units with animations and even sound. Popups started taking over the early world wide web.
And what did online audiences do to retaliate?
They put on their blinders. They build ad blockers. They learned how to ignore anything that resembles a promotion. Just take a look at this series of banner blindness studies that the Nielsen Norman Group, a renown UX research firm, has conducted over the last two decades. The trend is clear: consumers don’t want to look at irrelevant ads.
As an up-and-coming marketing channel, video has the chance to reinvent advertising for the better. Take outstream, as an example. This versatile ad format can run in various ad placements on a page, alongside or independently from a piece of content. Run a compelling video campaign, and audiences are likely to stick around. But if you promote something pushy, obnoxious, or boring? Banner blindness will surely reinvent itself.
Given that there’s more demand than there is inventory in the outstream video market, the odds of success are stacked against advertisers. Marketers need a way to ensure that their campaigns stand out and make an impact among audiences. Pay attention to these 3 pitfalls to stay on track:
Pitfall #1: Building campaigns in a bubble
A native video campaign should never be a one-off. To be effective in captivating and engaging audiences, multimedia needs to tell stories that audiences care about. Planning a video ad strategy, marketers need to give careful consideration to the creative process. Would people choose to pay attention to your video? Are you sharing a story that makes users want to pay attention and take action?
Remember that you can use your video in a variety of shapes and forms. You can repurpose the same ad in countless different ways. Run an outstream campaign. Deploy a television conversion.
The bottom line is that you’ll want to plan your full spectrum of use cases before executing on your creative vision. Plan to tell just one story across multiple distribution channels. Use data to ensure that the right audiences receive your message. Focus on optimizing your content to improve engagement.
Pitfall #2: Ignoring UX constraints
Today’s user experiences are complex, spanning multiple channels, devices, interactions, and touchpoints. By the time that a buyer reaches out to your company, he or she has likely already engaged with your brand through your marketing programs.
You need to make every interaction count, especially from a user experience perspective. With outstream, just like any other form of advertising, the risk of rubbing your audiences is high. Who wants to feel like they’re browsing a video that’s jammed into a wall of text? Who wants to deal with plug-in errors and viewing experiences that are incompatible with mobile?
When planning your outstream campaign, make sure that your ad units look impeccable. Ask potential advertising partners for ad unit mock-ups and technical parameters. Ensure transparency to protect your brand’s reputation.
Pitfall #3: Unclear calls to action (CTAs)
Outstream isn’t just about viewability: as a marketer, you need to prioritize conversion optimization as part of your core strategy.
When planning your outstream campaign, think about the action you want your viewers to take. Would you like them to visit your website? Browse a particular product? Redeem a promotion?
No matter what ‘next steps’ you choose to put in place, make sure that your users have a clear path towards a conversion goal. Send traffic to a landing page that promotes an offer. Drive sign-ups to a mailing list. Whatever you do, make sure that you introduce value to all parties involved.
Focus on providing value to your audience, and the rest will fall into place. Remember that with the right targeting and optimization strategy, outstream can be a channel for engagement. Build your creative strategy with a long-term vision, understand the UX constraints of your viewers, and provide clear next steps to drive conversions.