Native video ads are becoming a core strategy for brands and publishers across the board, and the reason why is self-evident: storytelling, in all forms, is a powerful way to build authentic human connections. Thanks to emerging syndication, video seeding, and targeting technologies, the native video space is booming. What was previously impossible to balance—a tough-to-achieve combination of personalization, powerful content, and audience reach at scale—is becoming one of the biggest value propositions in marketing.
These next few years will be pivotal for the native video advertising space: established companies like The New York Times are integrating early business experiments into core revenue lines. Meanwhile, an influx of advertising and technology companies are building new capabilities (including programmatic delivery here at Giant Media).
The road ahead, however, will be about unexpected twists and turns: there’s untapped potential to reach new audiences through native video advertising, but there’s also (far too much) noise since many products and platforms are still in their infancy. How can smart marketers distinguish true, untapped opportunities from general industry buzz and noise? Here are some pointers to help you find your best opportunities:
Opportunity #1: Slowing Down vs. Acting Fast
As one CMO.com article points out, native advertising “is all the rage.” Nearly three-quarters of polled U.S. publishers said that they already offer native advertising on their site, and another 17% indicated that new offerings were in the works.
This market diversification is good news for marketers: it means that you have more options for choosing technology, media, and advertising partners. But it also means that you need to slow down and do your due diligence, as you have limited budget to commit towards your campaigns—it’s critical that every investment makes an impact.
In a recent survey of agencies and brands, Giant Media learned that 68% plan to use native advertising in 2016. This trend means that marketers may be in store for increased competition. It’s important to to take a step back, conduct a full needs assessment to figure out what your company actually needs at each stage of the marketing funnel, and examine ways that the marketing ecosystem is changing. Here are a few resources to help you conduct your due diligence:
- This snapshot as to how native advertising is becoming a core strategy for agencies and brands, with comparison to more traditional marketing tactics.
- This analysis into why 80% of brands and agencies are looking to increase their native ad budgets in 2016, along with 7 tips that marketers should consider when choosing partners and solutions providers.
The bottom line is to know the intricacies of your marketing campaigns. Opportunities in native advertising are becoming diverse, and freedom of choice will lead you to higher ROI. Don’t let ‘noise’ misguide you.
Opportunity #2: Combining multiple marketing drivers
Facing increased competition for audience attention spans, marketers need ways to make every interaction count. The way to do this? You need to devote your focus to the two most important parts of your marketing engine: distribution and conversion optimization. Make sure that you’re targeting the right audiences with the right messages (and that you keep finding new ways to spark new sources of engagement).
For many campaign planners, this process involves combining multiple marketing drivers. You need to work with multiple advertising partners to aggressively test new techniques and approaches. Bring your own technologies to the table, and know what’s out there. Did you know that Twitter, for instance, has incorporated a new polling feature into its native ad offering? Have you heard about Giant Media’s expandable and highly-viewable video ads?
For a prime example of this concept, take a look at the following case study from Dollar Shave Club. The new shaving subscription service released an epic video in an effort to generate brand awareness and uplift and ultimately increase club subscribers. Through premium distribution and quality content, Dollar Shave Club was able to successfully spark engagement and drive online sign-ups via their website and the rest is history.
The simplest way to combine multiple marketing drivers is to pair your distribution strategy with a clear action item. Start by ensuring that your video storytelling strategy is laser-focused to your audience. Choose a call-to-action that your audience will find engaging. Use your initial point of distribution as a means to kickstart more long-term audience relationships.
Opportunity #3: Cross-platform advertising
No native video ad campaign should be a one-hit-wonder. Just take a look at Dollar Shave Club, which launched its epic video seeding campaign (and business) in 2011. The company has since repurposed this ad across social media and on television—a shelf life that is almost unheard of in any advertising context.
When planning your native video ad campaign, consider your long-term marketing context. With the space being so experimental (remember: opportunity #1), there are going to be plenty of new technologies and distribution strategies coming up—all the time. Just think back to how much the Internet has evolved in the last few years (holy cow).
It’s important to work with a native video advertising partner who understands the full advertising ecosystem—especially in the marketing universe, historical patterns repeat themselves in subtle ways.
Plan a campaign that’s timeless and versatile so that you can test new channels, build upon your successes, and continue to iterate. The biggest untapped opportunity in native advertising is that it will continue to be new for a long time.