AdTech Q&A: Evolution of Video through isolation & beyond

The evolution of Video Advertising through the current COVID-19 isolation period and beyond

In the recently released IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report for Q1 2020, we can see that Video’s share of general display continues to increase – and now makes up 53% of this product category.

Hence we were keen to speak to some of our key council members about what they’re currently seeing in market in terms of consumer engagement metrics for digital video and if there are any interesting related trends, product and/or innovation opportunities that may persist or through 2020 and into 2021.

We hope that you find this useful…


Ilda Jamison, Managing Director ANZ, SpotX

Are SpotX seeing any interesting recent consumer trends in terms of video viewership across different devices and times of day - and how are brands leveraging these opportunities by actively optimising their buying plans?

Individuals are spending more time than ever in their homes, so it is unsurprising that viewership is trending upwards across all devices. When examining data within SpotX, we continue to see significant changes in video streaming consumption and advertiser trends. Viewership against content categories (the report is hosted and available at the bottom of this page) such as health, entertainment, finance, hobbies and tech has been on the rise while noticing downward trends across travel, sports, real estate and education.

Brands have therefore leveraged unique inventory packages created by publishers relevant to consumer viewership habits, taking advantage of rate flexibilities being offered in market and leveraging audience data to ensure they are engaging relevant consumers within their new online behaviours.

Do you see any longer term benefits coming as a result of this unique isolation period for digital video advertising in terms of innovation, products and/or processes?

As the world around us has reformed into a new reality, and economic pressures have affected consumer behaviour, brands have had to react quickly to the current climate and ensure that they are adapting whilst being firmly focused on a post-COVID-19 world. They've needed to stay focused on continuous, relevant engagement with consumers whilst looking after their loyal customers.

Leveraging market-leading tech providers have ensured that brands who have had to pivot most of their marketing to digital platforms are able to utilise technology products to ensure they are qualifying their inventory sources with fraud guarantees in place, utilising private marketplaces and processes to be able to monitor performance and react fast.

The benefit is the hope that traditional offline brands will understand that digital advertising allows them to reach new audiences within brand-safe, trusted editorial and professionally produced environments. Digital video advertising is easy to execute, provides targeted reach and frequency.


Andrew Gilbert, Head of Platform Sales ANZ, Verizon Media

With the dramatic recent spikes in video-consumption on all devices during the current COVID-19 period, are you seeing any interesting trends or innovations that you hope will persist once this lockdown is meaningfully reduced here in Australia?

Historically the rebound out of a crisis is seen through a major rebound into awareness driving channels like TV and Radio. We saw this specifically after the GFC in 2008 - 2009. We expect a similar thing to happen here but only amplified by the agility and control that video through BVOD or CTV will deliver but underpinned by partners with strong consumer facing 1st party identity.

From a Verizon Media point of view, the biggest trend we’ve seen is marketers and agencies not just looking at CTV/BVOD as a channel or way for them to shift linear buys to digital. They are looking at it from the approach of “now that we are pulling these media dollars into programmatic, how can we use technology to control the consumer experience as part of an omni-channel approach?”.

It comes back to ROI and putting the consumer central as part of their video based delivery through BVOD, CTV, OTT buys. Gone are the days of using technology to activate on a channel by channel approach with the occasional “hey lets retarget the user via our magical TV sync capability on mobile also”. Marketers want full control and via partners they can trust. To that point, from a trust point of view, when we look at Native Video, Australia and New Zealand advertisers are investing into native video at about three times the rate that we see in the US and UK.

Diving into the technology and delivery itself behind it, we’re seeing a shift in the conversation behind typical Programmatic Guaranteed buying and utilising platforms for their strengths through Unreserved Fixed Rate delivery. This shift signals the change in mindset of “how can I deliver my TV buy through a DSP?” and into the “how can I target my audience better across TV through a DSP across all screens?”.

Speaking to the supply side of our business, we’re seeing a significant increase of users across CTV and desktop devices upward of 30%+, especially across Y! News, Y! TV, Y! Finance, e-commerce, gaming and recipes publishers - but not every publisher.

This period has certainly been a key opportunity for publishers to stand out with editorial video content that engages, informs and entertains with ‘the new norm’ way of life we’re faced with. After lockdown times we’ll see if these same publishers have successfully positioned their brands to live within the user’s phone and manage to keep the user cross-device.


Lachlan McDivitt, Director of Trading ANZ, TheTradeDesk

Do you see BVOD as potentially benefiting from the COVID-19 period in the long term due to increased exposure to the value of the agile nature of data-driven buying via DSPs vs. the inflexibility of traditional large upfront commitments with TV budgets?

Yes, I think there’s no question that BVOD is benefiting from the current environment. I think the way television is bought and sold has probably changed forever. BVOD has been growing exponentially for some time now and the combination of accelerating audience growth and heightened awareness of Return on Ad Spend post COVID-19 will speed that up even further.

In the very first weeks of the pandemic I think we saw the flexibility of programmatic result in it often being the first to be switched off as brands paused to take stock. Now that we are turning the corner this same agility enables buyers to be more data-driven and results-oriented with their spending coming out of the crisis. The benefits of which are most impactful through the medium of BVOD on the biggest and most impactful device in the household, the television.

All of this at a time when marketers are quite literally talking to captive audiences. We have seen previously in times of economic downturn that marketers double down on making decisions informed by data and investing in media that is measurable. BVOD will emerge a clear winner from the strange days of 2020.

How do you see your new partnership with TikTok across APAC evolving your product opportunities and products within short-form video environments?

TikTok set a new monthly download record in February with 113 million installs globally. Our partnership represents a great opportunity for buyers to further unify their video and omnichannel strategies across the fastest growing social platform in history. TikTok provides access to a relatively hard to reach audience in a new and highly engaging environment.

It’s important we take advantage of all the benefits that omnichannel planning and buying within a DSP bring to frequency management and measurement while recognising the unique benefits a platform like TikTok brings to brands. Much like CTV is a one to many environment, those who can plan and adapt across multiple channels will have the most success.


Peter Barry, Regional Director Australia & New Zealand, PubMatic

With the recent rise in OTT and CTV audience volumes during the current COVID-19 stay-at-home period, are PubMatic seeing any interesting current examples of innovation that you’re hopeful will persist post-pandemic?

We are seeing a lot more interest in video and OTT header bidding. There are some challenges to overcome in this space as you pull all demand sources together to compete; competitive exclusions, back to backs, frequency capping, but the rewards for both publishers and buyers are significant.  The user experience is greatly improved, publishers can pull all demand across all channels into one source, buyers get far better access to good inventory and their competitive concerns are addressed.

The growth in audiences along with the dip in demand driven by COVID-19 has meant that publishers have an excess of quality inventory that needs to be monetised.  That in turn is driving forward innovation, and PubMatic has several large video publishers in the Beta phase of our OpenWrap OTT product. 

Have you recently seen solid adoption levels of your OpenWrap SDK video header bidding offering for in-app environments, are you expecting this trend to continue through the rest of 2020 and why do you feel this is such a critical product for advertising moving forwards?

We have seen fantastic global uptake of OpenWrap SDK, especially in the APAC region which is truly mobile first. There is significant opportunity for publishers and developers to improve both user experience and monetisation in that channel. 

That said, we see a growing trend of publishers wanting a complete solution and not just a point solution for one channel.  They want a wrapper that solves for OTT across devices, including CTV, as well as strong display monetisation. This will become even more important as people’s discretionary spend reduces and they reduce their number of paid for services. 

This may accelerate the decline of linear TV and see a move from SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) to AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand).  This is a great opportunity for some of the local broadcasters to pull users and dollars back from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, but in order for them to capitalise on this, they need to have their stack optimised.


Krish Raja, Director of Product & Platform Strategy, Amobee

With the relentlessly healthy spend on Video advertising over the past couple of years and dramatically increased video content consumption due to the pandemic, are you predicting a strong commitment to marketing spend through video in the second half of CY2020?

The marketing world will bounce back, in a different guise. We've seen a few years worth of behavioural shift occur in a few weeks - and we're predicting that some of these shifts will continue and/or not revert back to pre COVID-19 days. The two things at the top of that list are how we consume video content and online shopping. We've seen streaming behaviours explode even more, and new streaming services enter the market or announce their intention to.

Meanwhile the businesses with a strong digital strategy and distribution capability have obviously fared better in lockdown - and they'll come out of the post COVID-19 era with a head start. In the second half of CY2020, we believe that advertisers with a strong video strategy and e-commerce play will be the ones that are best positioned to drive forward and boost the advertising sector.

What is currently exciting you from a Product perspective in this advertising category over the next 9-12 months, particularly post lockdown?

The opportunity to converge TV is the most exciting opportunity from a product perspective. We've reached an inflection point where Connected TV usage is strong enough to tip the scales of TV investment which will drive the adoption of digital technology, data and automation within this space.

Linear TV is not dead by any means, so the immediate opportunity is to help agencies and brands get a holistic look at their entire TV investment and use accurate ID-level data at scale to help them determine the right balance of spend across all screens. Post lockdown we have a great opportunity to combine online and offline purchase metrics to also help brands digitise their sales at the speed that's right for them.

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