Do you know about native video advertising yet? The great thing about online content and marketing is that it is kinetic. Always in motion and growing beyond our expectations. The most challenging thing about online marketing is also that it is in motion, continually growing beyond our expectations. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, something else pops up.
Pop-ups vs. Native Video Ads
Ironically, what is popping up more and more lately is fewer pop-ups. Pop-ups were and still are, when done well, an effective marketing tactic. However, in a recent consumer survey, 73% of participants disapproved of pop-ups. Why such disdain? Unless they are done very well, they have the potential to be the most annoying thing that ever existed. If you are not convinced of that, just try reading a 12up.com article on a mobile device.
Is the vehicle for your message turning people off from the get-go? Maybe, it might be time to look in a new direction. Undoubtedly, that new direction should include native video advertising.
What is Native Video Advertising?
Back in the day, advertorial, over traditional print ads, became a more attractive option for some brands. Part article, part brand advertisement, marketers used an authoritative article structure, in a trusted periodical to advertise. Therefore, an advertorial is an ad in disguise, looking, and performing as regular content. Native video advertising simply reinvented the advertorial concept to attend to today’s digital landscape.
“Native advertising is a paid/third-party advertising format that supports either brand or direct-response goals, and is where the content matches the form, feel, function, and quality of the content of the media on which it appears.” – Content Marketing Institute
With native video, marketers find a way to seamlessly blend advertising and the usual content of a particular media source.
Why not pre-roll advertising?
While native video ads are specifically designed to mesh with the content, pre-roll ads, like pop-ups, are often viewed as disrupters to the viewing experience. Pre-roll ads run as an intro to a video that the viewer has chosen. To get to the selected content, a viewer needs to suffer through a pre-roll video ad. These ads may run anywhere from five seconds to one minute, with an industry average of twenty seconds.
Are we really so spoiled that we consider the twenty-second interruption in our day as suffering? According to research conducted by IPG Mediabrands, 65% of online video viewers using a laptop or desktop choose to skip pre-roll ads. That rate escalates to 84% with users on mobile devices. On average, people watch only 5.5 seconds of fifteen-second ads and slightly more than seven seconds of 30-second ads.
Time is valuable, and people are impatient with short attention spans. Pre-roll ads need to rope in the viewer with a great hook in under five seconds. There are some successful campaigns, but the real value of pre-roll ads stems from 22% of viewers recalling a brand after only watching for five seconds. Whereas, a Sharethrough comparative study showed that five out of five native ad campaigns resulted in greater brand awareness.
What makes native video advertising more palatable?
Native video advertising, like native audio advertising, is formatted in such a way as to appear as just another piece of content. Usually, native videos are click to play or muted instant play. Instead of coming across as an intrusion, as pop-ups often are, native ads organically mingle with a platform’s regular content.
As it leans more toward entertainment and attraction, native video advertising becomes a part of the viewers’ experiences. As opposed to a sales-oriented interruption of their experience. Highly targeted, the videos aim to educate and engage simultaneously, without coming across as overly promotional.
Benefits of Native Video Ads
Organic content that blends in well with the platform’s usual content is user-friendly and unobtrusive. Beyond the obvious perk of not being an instant turn-off, native video advertising has several benefits.
- Versatility- Curating content that appeals to the audience of a given platform or publisher is a surefire way of growing brand awareness.
- Credibility – Association with a trusted content producer or platform builds credibility and trust.
- Variety – The variety of both formats and platforms allows for greater reach.
- Block proof – Native video ads are not affected by adblocking software.
- Brand Storytelling – Targeting the right audience with the proper format allows a brand to tell a story in whole or part to a receptive consumer.
Dos and Don’ts of Effective Native Video Ads
As with any form of marketing, there are definite dos and don’ts of native video advertising. Done well, it should stand but not intrude on the user’s experience.
Do understand your audience and the audience of the platform where you are placing video.
Don’t reach too far outside of your target market too soon.
Do find connection and hook the viewer asap
Don’t make videos much longer than 47-second views-to-completion average 47 seconds in length
Do create videos that use emotion to appeal to your audience
Don’t cram a script with emotion that is inauthentic or contradicts your brand story
- Placement and Auto-play
Do place your native ads on platforms where they appear organic
Don’t use auto-play, or, if you must, muted auto-play only
Native Video Advertising Examples
Various brands have found that several approaches are effective in native video ads. Your native videos can be built around humor, action, or deeply emotional experiences depending on the target audience, the platform, and your brand story.
Under Armour – Humor and Star Power
Native video ads on Will Ferrell’s brainchild, Funny or Die are going to be challenging. Viewers of Funny or Die are discerning fans of funny, and humor is highly subjective and can easily bend toward the offensive. Regular viewers of Funny or Die were drawn in by the platform’s original videos like Pearl the Landlord and episodes of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Native video advertising will need high comedic value and quiet promotion to blend successfully with this type of content.
Under Armour successfully managed this with a three-minute native video ad featuring the once-beloved (now traitor) New England Patriot’s QB Tom Brady. Under Armour was able to simultaneously cash in on Pat’s Nation devotion and the disdain that many NFL fans held for the Super Bowl Champion.
While Dick’s salesman and customers harass the superstar, the Under Armour logo repeatedly appears in the background. The snarky humor of this native ad meshes beautifully with the content on Funny or Die. The right celebrity, at the right time, with the right format. Imagine this ad with TB12 as QB in Tampa. What is funny about Tampa? Well, other than their career record of 267-424-1.
Red Bull – Full Flight Adventure
Red Bull’s 8 Disciplines of Flight Converge over Moab is the epitome of adrenaline junkie porn. The original format was a one-minute video that anyone hooked could click on to view the entire six-minute and thirteen-second extreme sports lover fantasy.
The story behind the production of the video is almost as compelling as the video itself. This video will hook anyone interested in all manner of the intense, base jumping, sky diving, wingsuit flying, helicopter stunts, fast cars, or acrobatic flying.
First of all, the backdrop is stunning and perfect for a video centered around extreme activities. Moab, Utah, is or should be on the bucket list of anyone that loves the outdoors and adrenaline rushes. Second, the action is fast and draws you in before you can think twice. Third, the action pulls you through the narrative; you want to see where it is leading. Amid extreme sports content, this native video ad blends and stands out simultaneously.
Range Rover – The Impossible Becomes Possible
Range Rover Sport Dragon Challenge and Inferno Downhill Challenge native video ads are similar to Red Bull’s video above. Captivating and thrilling, appealing to those of us that love anything in the extreme. Whether an active participant in daring activities or daydreaming on the sidelines, we all get a rush from watching others take unqualified risks.
While watching both of these videos, deep down, we know the driver is going to make it. What a terrible ad they would be if they didn’t!
It is thrilling, nonetheless. I was leaning forward the entire time as the drivers took us on a journey that we will never travel. The real difference between these two Range Rover ads and the Red Bull video is that the viewer will never drive up the 990 stairs leading to China’s Heaven’s Gate. Moreover, most viewers will never visit there in person.
Of course, base jumping and skydiving in Moab may not be a common experience for most people; it is an achievable goal. However, with the Sport Dragon and Inferno challenges, Range Rover lets viewers experience something once in a lifetime, for one person, in one vehicle.
Facebook App – Stitching Together Emotional Appeal
In these turbulent times, it is often difficult to determine if social media platforms are actually bringing people together. Certainly, the intent behind the platforms was to find people and connect new friends and old ones. Unfortunately, that may not always be the case, and as we become more and more politically divided, it can appear that the intent has failed altogether.
However, as is often the case, trying times will bring out the best in some. The recent global pandemic has shown us that people with common interests can come together in times of need.
Backgrounds, political sway, and even religious differences were tossed aside when the membership of the Facebook group called Stitched Together exploded. People with sewing skills from around the globe began stitching masks to fill an overwhelming demand. Facebook used the story of this group to show gratitude in a subtle native video pitch for their app.
Using native video advertising, your brand can tap into your target viewers with a variety of emotions. High-quality video, entertainment value, and indirect promotion is more attractive and engaging for all audiences.