The 30-Second Pre-Roll Must Die. Now what?

Inplace #2

Shorter, robust and adaptive interactive video ads are here to the rescue.

In a world where even Youtube is aiming to kill the 30-second pre-roll, marketers are again on a quest to redefine digital video advertising. While new standards are successfully cutting ads down to a mere 15, 10 or even 6 seconds, most marketers have yet to master the art of economically creating interactive video advertising.

There isn’t a better time than now to wield the influence of interactive video advertising. The format has been revived by a shift in content consumption habits – fueled by big social networks – and has been found to draw higher engagement than static content. Users are now more inclined to interact with video content altogether. More importantly, compared to its predecessors, the format provides more compelling engagement data that reveals deeper insights about audiences.

Despite the potential that the format provides, marketers are finding it difficult to actually produce and scale interactive video, according to the latest Interactive Video Benchmark report by Brightcove and Demand Metric. These issues include cost effectiveness, integration with other platforms and systems, as well as a lack of support on some mobile devices.

Fortunately, tackling these issues is easier than once thought.

Here are three major hurdles when it comes to mastering interactive video advertising and how marketers can overcome them:

1. Cost effectiveness

By the time you account for all the service fees and long turnaround times, interactive video advertising ends up being an expensive medium. Naturally, paying experts to use complex tools costs more.

Fortunately, it is now possible to produce interactive video ads in-house with new generation of self-service tools that are easy to use and provide turn-key interactive components combined with a cloud-based video authoring environment. These tools not only cut costs and save time, they also empower designers to think and innovate around interactive video.

2. Scalability across platforms

Many marketers have a hard time figuring out how to scale interactive video across platforms, especially for mobile devices. Common issues with scaling for mobile devices are derived from fragmentation of the platforms, the screens and the ad serving SDKs compatibility.

In addition, the expectations for user interaction haven’t been set for mobile devices. While they offer great potential for user engagement, there are no clear design patterns for interactive video that have been proven to be successful. The ecosystem for efficient interactive video production has been in the pipes for a long time but is frankly not quite there yet.

But hope is here! We can count on finally seeing the shift into HTML5 with the complete departure from Flash coming next July, according to the recent IAB announcement.

Now that VPAID 2.0 HTML5 is finally joining the portfolio of HTML5-based video, you can feel safe running a full spectrum of both in-stream and premium out-stream interactive video ads in a consistently effective and efficient way.

3. Creativity

Most interactive videos that we see even in these innovative times simply have static banners or buttons put on top of video stream. This is a shame and diminishes the value of the most effective form of advertising by covering it with the most despised form of digital advertising. Why cover the highest production value piece you’ve produced with the least thought out piece of your ad campaign?

The next time you conceptualize and create an interactive video, consider the following:

● Immersiveness – Does the ad create an organic interaction pattern that aligns with the playhead experience in terms of both the content and the visual language?

● Intrigue – Are there interactive elements that trigger curiosity in the best possible way? Do they create a visual conversation, draw attention to subtle movement and create a hierarchy of visual messages?

● Incentivize conceptually – Does it promote a value exchange between the user and the content? (Tip: This can be accomplished through extra content, personalized experience, or promotions.)

With newer generation platforms, you can easily place video and digital display layers side-by-side and create seamless interactions between the two. Multiple video streams can be used to create alternative stories, branched narratives, and motion tracking-based interactivity. As an industry, we can make interactivity with video a driver instead of an afterthought by combining the impact of video advertising with the power of interactivity via a fully self-service platform that can be distributed everywhere.