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Video Is the Next Frontier for Social Advertisers

Marketers look to increase social video ad placements

Digital video viewing is mainstream, and eMarketer estimates that 182.5 million people in the US, or 75% of all internet users, will view digital videos this year, and video advertising spending will increase by more than 40% in 2013 as well.

Video viewership and social sharing are closely intertwined; for example, an April 2013 blinkx survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that more than 40% of social network users watch TV or online video and simultaneously discuss content with their friends&mdashthe percentage was even higher among respondents ages 18 to 34, 14% of whom said they “always/often” do so.

Despite the connection between social network users and video content, social video advertising is still nascent. According to “Demystified: Video Advertising on Social Networks,” an August 2013 study from Mixpo, 8.5% of agency executives said they were underperforming on social video advertising, and none of the respondents said they were experts in the medium, according to the report.

Advertisers’ admitted lack of sophistication doesn’t mean they aren’t testing and experimenting. According to the Mixpo report, nearly 70% of agency executives planned to advertise on YouTube in 2014, while nearly one-quarter expect to run video ads on Twitter and about one in seven on LinkedIn. Though video advertising as Mixpo defines it doesn’t yet exist on Facebook, Instagram or Vine, nearly half of respondents to the survey said they would work video ads into their Facebook marketing mix if given the opportunity.

For social network users, identifying paid advertising and owned content marketing is often a blurry line. Mixpo’s definition of video advertising excludes branded video posts on social sites, but it doesn’t denote whether it refers to sponsored video posts, which are likely to be the types of paid video ads that will first find their way into Facebook, Instagram and Vine, given the networks’ respective user interfaces (and opportunities in mobile). Notably, Unisphere Research found in an August 2013 survey that nearly 60% of marketers would like to increase their video content in social networks&mdashmore than any other content category.

Social network advertising is unique because it requires marketers to fit in context with content rather than standing out from what the user is viewing, as a television or digital video programming advertisement is designed to do. As a result, sponsored video content may in turn be the most suitable way for advertisers to integrate and ingratiate themselves within social network users’ information feeds.

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