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For Driving Engagement, Digital Video Ads Beat TV by a Wide Margin

Targeting is a key advantage for digital video

Almost three-quarters of marketing professionals worldwide planned to increase their spending on branded video content or video ads in the next year, according to a survey conducted by AOL Networks in April 2013. More than 50% of that group said that the added investment would come from TV and display budgets. Only 4% of respondents planned to draw back spending on digital video ads.

In keeping with digital advertising’s frequent role as a direct-response vehicle, the study found that digital video ads beat out TV ads for achieving engagement goals: 58% of marketers thought digital video ads performed better than TV ads by this measure, compared with 15% who said engagement was worse for digital video ads.

A smaller percentage—47%—also thought digital video ads were better at driving awareness than TV ads. But this was still more than the 31% of marketers who said TV ads got better awareness results.

Targeting seems to be the secret sauce behind digital video ad success. The highest percentage of marketers (87%) said targeting was an important factor when planning a branded digital video campaign, just ahead of those who cited reach (85%) and content (81%).

And when marketers determine whether to put more dollars toward digital video ads—and by how much—targeting is key, with 73% of respondents saying better targeting would affect how much more they would spend on the format.

But even as marketers go all in on digital video ads, they must contend with consumer resistance to the ad format, especially compared with TV, where advertising is expected.

A Starcom study from January 2013, in which participants in the US were shown a controlled series of clips and told that they were either traditional TV programming or original streaming content, found that consumers remained more resistant to commercials in digital formats, with 45% having a negative attitude to such ads vs. 39% who had negative opinions of ads shown on TV.

But the study also showed that viewers may simply have a stronger reaction to video ads overall, whether good or bad. More consumers reported having a positive attitude toward ads in original streaming content (25%) than in TV programming (22%), as well.

It seems there is huge potential for digital video ads to deliver strong results for marketers, as long as they can identify the right audience and create compelling enough content such that viewers don’t mind the intrusion.


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