Many sources point to the ubiquity of OLV; Cisco believe it will be C. 80% of all internet traffic by 2018. Looking at the headlines alone, marketers could be forgiven for thinking there is an abundance of quality inventory (that looks just like TV) waiting for them to buy.
That’s not quite the case. OLV takes many shapes and sizes & is delivered across a number of screens; not all of it is equal or commercial. When we strip out all of the stuff you can’t buy ads against (e.g. Netflix, iPlayer) or don’t want to (90% of YouTube, Porn) the landscape doesn’t seem that rich; especially when you think of all the other advertisers vying for the quality spots.
So how do we define OLV for an advertiser?
The old definition was easy. OLV had to be user initiated and run prior to a piece of video content. This meant 4OD and iTV Player worked well. We had question marks over audience but it looked like TV & it was safe. Autoplay video squeezed into MPUs were always at the other end of the spectrum. This is still true but ‘autoplay’ isn’t the dirty word it once was.
For many media is consumed mainly through a number of mobile feeds; skewing considerably for millennial audiences. A feed is a stream and the best digital advertising does not interrupt the flow.
This leads to a question: If media is different; should OLV have to look like TV? The answer is no; but it does need to fit the environment to hand.
Here’s a quick checklist for what I consider is / isn’t OLV.
- Autoplay video MPU is NOT OLV
- A user will be on the page to consume something other than the ad position and likely the autoplay ad won’t be visible on the screen. This is just squeezing advertising somewhere because a person happens to be there too.
- In Read article video is NOT OLV
- This is the 2015 video version of the pop up and will regarded as such in the future. A person will usually be reading a page; the content being consumed will be split in half and a piece of video will play. From my own experience the content often has little relevance to the context of the page and is really annoying
- Pre roll is OLV
- Needs no introduction. This is the most similar to TV and what most clients think they are buying when they buy OLV
- YouTube Skippable is OLV
- User is in control; native to its environment. Google has the scale to make these ads work and there are many targeting levers agencies can pull to reach the right people.
- Facebook News Feed video is OLV
- I don’t think it’s controversial to call Facebook the ultimate feed where people go to be entertained. Facebook have also launched the new gold standard for mobile video viewability. A person has to stop scrolling and watch for 3 seconds before the ad impression is counted. This is actually a long period of time. Attention! We’ve all read the headlines of FB taking on YouTube in a big way
That’s quite a long winded way of saying that OLV is video content appearing in a place where a consumer expects a video experience. This can be a pre-roll or an autoplay that’s only counted after a specific length of time.
A nice app called Meerkat was launched a couple of weeks ago. It very simply allows people to live stream video from their phone on Twitter. I’ve tried it once & like the few before me I just wandered around the office doing a tour. I didn’t really expect much to happen but an ex colleague who lives in the US started watching. I encouraged few of the team to wave hello and he was able to tweet a few hello’s back. For a minute or so a large chunk of the office were pulling silly faces and waving to a guy they hadn’t seen in a while.
The serendipitous experience delivered a small moment of magic; a big reason why so many of us love technology.
I guess the early days of Meerkat will be geeks and kids not doing much of any note at all but it’s not much of a leap to expect brands sponsoring ‘Meerkats’ (if that’s what the bite sized streams are called) at sports or entertainment events.
Social apps spring up all of the time but this one feels a bit special.
I’m fascinated by the Thomas Heatherwick London buses. As a child I caught the Number 8 route master from Bow to Bethnal Green every day and it’s great to see a version of them back.
Thomas Heatherwick opened the WIRED conference a few years ago and explained his overall goal; to make the experience of riding a bus dignified again. He wanted to soften the unforgiving fluorescent lighting, banish the nuclear yellow poles, rip out the harsh plastic bucket seats and replace them with comfortable ones similar to those of yesteryear. The bus still gets you from A to B but the experience is more pleasurable; more dignified.
I’m sure the buses were put together by machines in factories in an automated way but they were designed with total care; mindfulness and with a clear goal in mind.
We could all learn from that approach. Too often people aim to get from A to B and lose site of the real goals. The real purpose disappears and box ticking exercises take precedence. Who cares how viewable your ad was if all it did was annoy?
These ‘unskippable’ Geico Youtube ads are brilliant. They get to the point & make you want to watch on. If most digital advertising got to the point within five seconds; ROI for both hard and soft metrics would soar.