Have I got your attention? Why data is the key to compelling video ads

Sebastian Gray, co-founder and SVP, Dugout, believes utilising quality data is essential for producing tailored video content.

a video player and tapes

While 92% of marketers believe video is a vital part of their digital strategies, there’s a significant difference between a disposable, scrollable experience and a truly engaging one. Knowing this difference is integral to capturing and holding audience attention: the gold standard for video ads.

Although changes in the digital video landscape are pushing shorter ad formats – think YouTube’s five to 15 second ads – and many cite past studies claiming consumers have decreasing attention spans, the truth isn’t so straightforward.

Research shows 72% of consumers only engage with personalised marketing, but the data needed to create truly tailored experiences is proving harder to come by. From the increasing opaqueness of walled gardens to the depreciation of third-party cookies, the insights marketers require for their personalisation efforts appear to be waning.

Instead of concentrating on building out vast data lakes for the sake of it, those utilising video in their marketing strategies can leverage more refined, yet more valuable pools of consumer insights. By shifting their focus from quantity to quality, video marketers can unlock the necessary data to deliver highly personalised, engaging consumer experiences.

How to score effective audience profiling

A compelling video ad needs to be informed by high quality data; anyone can gather data from a webpage, but this doesn’t give a deep enough view of dynamic viewer behaviours and engagement. To construct an effective audience profile, marketers must unite data on consumers, their attention levels, and the context of video content placement. And individual platforms only offer a limited picture of preferences, so marketers should broaden their scope of data gathering by leveraging a diverse range of ad environments.

Savvy media owners utilise advanced tools to capture consumer insights from across devices, formats and locations, aligning their editorial and data teams to build a strong value exchange between their audiences and marketers. Wherever possible, marketing teams should work with publishers that offer these comprehensive pictures of users, to truly understand where their target audiences spend their time and what they care about.

This is especially important in sectors such as sport, where fans are a key part of the action and emotionally attached to the content. To seize attention and make a notable impact, marketers need to deepen engagement with their audiences. One way marketers can do this with individual fans is by offering them the opportunity to register for premium content – in return for an email identifier, those registered could be given access to a range of different video strands tailored to them, whether that’s long-form documentaries, match highlights or esports tournaments.

And it’s not just data on fan preferences that influences response rates. From nationality to internet speeds, there are many data points that should be taken into account to create a compelling, personalised video experience.​

Select the most valuable video content with your data insights

Marketers can use a rich variety of video content to win audience attention, but only high quality data will allow them to appropriately choose what to deploy and where.

As an example, how viewers consume content in a 2G market will differ greatly from those in a 5G market. Adjusting video content in response to market capabilities could mean changes to features such as interactivity. With ultra-low latency and heightened interconnectivity, brands in a 5G market can use initiatives such as real-time polls or competitions between users within the videos on publisher sites toheighten engagement.

Furthermore, differences in latency and internet speeds also affect the optimal duration of video content. In-depth interviews with sporting stars, for instance, are great for boosting dwell times but are best placed in regions with higher internet speeds, as otherwise long-form video can increase buffering times. In markets where download times are slower on average, short-form content such as match highlight compilations are better suited to capture audience attention. Understanding regional and market differences is crucial for delivering an optimised viewing experience and maximising the scalability of digital strategies.

Keep context front of mind

Additionally, factoring in context and consumer sentiment alongside video formats will dramatically increase engagement levels. Sports fans will likely have strong feelings towards specific players or clubs, and knowing this will help inform creative that can forge that all-important emotional connection to video content.

Research also shows that 69% of viewers are more likely to look at an ad that’s relevant to its surrounding content, while 44% have tried a new brand after seeing contextually placed ads. While marketers should adjust ad content according to placement, they can also take this a step further by cross-referencing fan feeling with additional contextual data points, for example match results and regional weather, to make content hyper-relevant to audiences. By combining this data with granular consumer insights, marketers can boost the length of time viewers are engaged for and optimise the effectiveness of their ad strategies.

Accessing quality data points and applying these in an actionable way is essential for producing tailored video content. Attention will always be a prized asset, but it will never be in short supply for the marketers that create the videos informed by high quality audience and contextual data.

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