$1 to whoever can tell me what movie that headline references.
Anywho, I’m talking about this week’s announcement by the IAB regarding new standards for video ads. I think these standards were needed. If linear, non-linear and companion ads are here to stay, the only reasonable thing to do is to agree on terms that will make ad placement and tracking easier and, hopefully, more profitable. It will also benefit consumers, who are the real users of these ads anyway.
But the real growth I’m looking for won’t come from the land of pre-roll, overlay, invitation ad, etc. I guess it’s in this little zone the Bureau calls “In-Page” video advertising, which essentially refers to ads that stand alone in their own players. These formats resist constraints on runtime and, since they need not be pegged to an item of content (as with pre-roll), they can behave like content themselves. This is where the most creative spots will live that are also the most appealing to consumers. This is where advertising can deliver brand messages and entertainment seamlessly in a single piece of creative. And this is where the money lies, I think, since in these types of ads engagement will be abnormally high and brands will naturally be eager to pay for them.
There is still a need for standards around these kinds of units, however – policies around video format and player functionality would be nice. I wonder, how do ad networks fit into a world where consumers come to enjoy viewing ads as much as they do episodes of “The Office”?
I’m not saying that we should erase the distinction between branded and non-branded messages, so that consumers can’t tell which is which. It’s not about dressing advertising up as editorial. Instead, I’m saying that a brand can deliver ad content that is so perfectly relevant, interesting and well-placed that consumers will want to watch ads as eagerly as they would a TV show. We need to stop talking at consumers and starting engaging them in conversation.
I don’t think linear and non-linear video ads will go away anytime soon. And I’m not saying they should. There’s room enough for multiple forms of advertising. But we need to make more room for the standalone, click-to-play video that unites advertising and entertainment under the awning of content.