Video advertising isn't just Facebook vs YouTube

There's life in digital video beyond Facebook and YouTube, with traditional publishers having much to offer, says Justin Taylor, UK managing director at Teads.

Justin Taylor: UK managing director of Teads
Justin Taylor: UK managing director of Teads

Last week, Facebook announced it had added another way for video creators to make money from their content, by adding "suggested videos" with pre roll ads running in between.

It'll be splitting the revenue with content creators, in what has been seen as a direct challenge to YouTube.

The Google owned site has been quick to point out that, large as it is, the video ad industry has even more potential to grow as it further cannibalises brands’ TV advertising budgets.

This has been part of a wider string of announcements by Facebook, along with a new feature allowing videos to pop out from the newsfeed so users can continue to watch as they scroll through, in a nod to improving viewability rates and an understanding that the context in which an ad appears will affect this.

With figures from the IAB showing that total video ad spend is expected to reach £1 billion by 2016, it is no wonder that Facebook wants to secure a significant slice of this ever expanding pie.

But these Silicon Valley behemoths aren’t just facing competition from each other – premium publishers have joined the fight.

By utilising outstream – video ads that appear within editorial content - publishers are opening up vast swathes of inventory and offering a competitive alternative to YouTube or Facebook.

The advantage the publishers have is context, something which social platforms struggle to compete with. Brands spend millions of pounds carefully honing their brand identity so their advertising creative is precision engineered to evoke a certain response.

Unsurprisingly, many brands aren’t keen to see their products appearing alongside amateur videos that they have little control over.

Premium publishers are also improving the user experience by offering ad formats that consumers find less irritating. With the latest IAB stats showing that 15% of UK internet users are using an ad blocker, finding a solution which doesn’t drive users to escape ads is important. If they don't, free online content itself could be under threat.

When it comes to pre roll ads, research shows 94% of consumers skip them as soon as possible.

According to Teads’ own research, however 26% of users will watch an entire outstream video ad when it fits with the surrounding. This gives publishers another significant advantage over the likes of YouTube and Facebook.

If publishers can offer video ads that their readers actually feel contribute to the user experience, offering something which is contextually appropriate and useful, they'll be more likely to ditch the blockers and support the premium content they read every day.

Embracing outstream video advertising is a win-win situation for publishers and brands. Ads are essential for media companies to continue to offer high quality journalism for free and if done properly, don't have to interrupt the premium experience users expect.

It's this quality editorial content that will be the key weapon in their arsenal in the battle against YouTube and Facebook.

Justin Taylor is UK managing director of Teads

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