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Snapchat is launching a new format for video ads called Extended Play Commercials which allows advertisers to run ads up to three minutes long.

The video ads are skippable after six seconds and will be shown as mid-roll ads – similar to how Snapchat handles shorter ads.

The goal behind Extended Play Commercials is to let advertisers tell longer, more engaging stories to users who are already actively engaged with the platform. As the company tells AdWeek, Snapchat believes these ads will help capture a greater share of the video ad market:

“The company believes the flexibility that extended play commercials provides to video advertisers will help it gain more share of the overall online video advertising market.“

While the new ad format is currently only available in closed beta, advertisers can request access by making a request through Ads Manager or contacting a Snapchat advertising representative.

David Router, Snapchat’s VP of Global Agency Partnerships, says the ads are a great way for advertisers to connect with shoppers this holiday season:

“We’re committed to building high-impact, long-form video ad formats, and extended play commercials are a great option for online video and TV buyers. Heading into the holidays, this format is a powerful new way to reach our Generation Z and millennial audience in Snapchat’s premium, brand safe Discover content.”

Twitter is launching a new video ad option which allows advertisers to create and run short video ads (under 15 seconds) and only be charged if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds. 

The company describes the new ad unit as a “flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

What You Should Know

The new ads are similar to YouTube’s short bumper ads which typically run before pieces of content or as an ad-break during videos. As such, the ad is believed to be highly effective for driving high view rates.

For example, Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, says “this six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%.”

Oliveira and Dell were one of the select few given early access to the ad bid option. 

Last Notes

  • The new video ad option began rolling out on Monday and is expected to be live by the end of the week. 
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-Stream Video Sponsorships, and In-Stream Video Ads that are 15-seconds long or less.
  • Instagram considers a video to be viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are on-screen.

Pinterest is giving video advertisers even more screen real estate with a new video ad unit that expands to fill the entire width of your screen.

The company first introduced promoted videos over two years ago. Since then, Pinterest says they have proven to drive business and measurably impact purchasing decisions.

“Two years ago, we launched the first version of Promoted Video on Pinterest. Since then, people on Pinterest have tuned in to watch high-quality videos so they can find ideas, make decisions and do what they love. When you think about the mindset and behavior on Pinterest, it’s no surprise that people say that videos from brands on Pinterest add to the experience (1.6x) and that they are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a video (2.6x)”

As their name suggests, max width promoted videos are designed to spread out significantly further than the typical Pinterest videos in feeds and search results on mobile devices. This makes them stand out even more and truly get the attention of viewers. The format is available in both 16:9 (cinematic) and 1:1 (square) aspect ratios.

While announcing the new promoted video format, Pinterest claimed that users are more interested in seeing videos from brands on Pinterest rather than other platforms.

“People on Pinterest really are more interested in videos from brands than on other platforms. 67% of Pinterest video viewers say that videos on Pinterest inspire them to take action. In contrast, only 32% of people say that about other platforms.”

For the moment, Pinterest is just getting started testing these max width video ads with a small group of select advertisers, however they say the format will be available in Pinterest’s ad manager later this year.

Vides that automatically start playing with the sound cranked all the way up have long been the scourge of the internet. They’ve interrupted our listening to music, quiet browsing in public places, and they’ve even interrupted videos we actually want to watch!

This is why Google’s web browser, Chrome, is fighting back. The latest version for desktop devices will automatically disable the majority of videos from playing with sound automatically.

The only exception to Chrome’s new feature is videos that Google has reason to believe you are interested in. Specifically, this includes:

  • Videos you have played before
  • When you have clicked the screen at some point in your browsing session
  • Videos appearing on a site you have added to your home screen on mobile

It is notable that Google is not entirely blocking the videos that are designed to autoplay. Instead, it essentially pauses them until they are triggered manually.

Also, videos that autoplay without sound are still completely and totally okay with Google. They will continue to automatically begin playing, and may still be a viable advertising method if you include captions.

Instagram has introduced a new way for brands to tell their Stories, with expanded photo and video carousels.

In the past, brands could only include a single photo or video in their Story ads. Now, a limited number of advertisers can triple that with three consecutive photos or videos, as the company announced today.

For now, the expanded ad unit is only available to 12 brands, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Netflix, and Paramount. However, it is also opening the format, which it is calling “carousel ads for Instagram Stories” to brands buying ads through automated ad-buying firms.

It is unclear when Instagram will be bringing the ad unit to self-serve advertisers, which include the vast majority of small businesses that advertise on the platform.

The expanded format should come as a relief for the advertisers who have access. In the past, the constraints of Instagram’s Story ads forced brands to squeeze in as much as possible within a single image or 15-second video. Now, they have more breathing room to tell actual stories.

The versatility of the new ad unit also offers new creative options for brands who advertise on Instagram.

Because you can mix-and-match, you might start a carousel with a short video showcasing the product, followed by an image highlighting features or details, with a link to your website on the final slide. Or, you might create thematically related short-videos that complement each other. You could also just split a 45-second video ad into three segments across the carousel.

“The goal is really to create ad formats that feel as native as possible to Instagram,” said Susan Rose, director of product marketing for Instagram.

According to Rose, one-third of the most-viewed organic Stories on Instagram are posted by brands, and 60 percent of Instagram’s organic Stories are viewed with the sound on.

While the expanded carousel gives you more room for telling stories with your ads, the individual limitations for each slide remain the same.

The maximum length of each video is 15 seconds, and photos only stay on the screen for up to five seconds. Users can also swipe past the ad to skip it.

To provide better insight into how these carousel ads are performing, Instagram says it will record analytics data for views and swipes on each post in an ad. However, the impressions for the ad will only be counted once when the ad is served.

For years, the only way to advertise on Snapchat was by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to work directly with the company for custom advertising. Gradually Snapchat has been opening the doors to advertisers, but still require interested businesses to work with third-party partners to purchase ad space.

Starting this June, that all changes. Snapchat is preparing to throw the doors open to businesses of all sizes and budgets with a new self-service ad manager and Snapchat Mobile Dashboard.

Combined, these new tools allow any business or publisher to create and track video Snap Ads from anywhere. Most importantly, they also simplify the process so that anyone can get involved – instead of just high-level advertisers with massive marketing budgets.

Compared to other social ad platforms, Snapchat’s Ad Manager still looks to be relatively limited. For example you can’t directly purchase Sponsored Geofilters or Lenses through the tool, however, there is a separate self-serve tool for geofilters. However, it is a significant step forward for the platform that has always seemed like a walled garden when it comes to advertising.

In addition to the new Snapchat Ad Manager and Mobile Dashboard, the company is releasing Snapchat Business Manager to let you control permissions and roles for team members helping publish and monitor your ads. All three will be available in June to everyone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia, and select other countries.

YouTubeAds

Finding the right length for video ads can be a tricky balancing act. Too short and you can’t get your message across. Too long and you annoy or lose your viewers’ interest. Apparently, 30-second ads fail this tightrope walk, as YouTube has officially announced it will be doing away with 30-second unskippable ads starting next year.

In place of these ads, Google says it will focus on more interactive or user-based advertising.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a YouTube spokesperson told AdWeek via email.

Of course, this doesn’t mean YouTube is ridding itself of all unskippable ads. The platform will still sell 15-second and 20-second ads that don’t give viewers the option to skip to their content. Additionally, viewers are likely to see an influx of six-second “bumper ads” instead of full-length ads that you can skip after five seconds.

Ultimately, 30-second unskippable ads lose too many viewers along the way. Some get distracted during the interval, while others entirely refuse to wait that long for their content. There is still plenty of time to make use of any ad campaigns you’ve been planning, but the decision to move away from this ad format underscores the ineffective nature of the format.

The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest day of the year with brands spending millions to get their products in the spotlight. Many tune in just to enjoy the biggest ads of the year and this year commercials gave audiences a fair share of laughs, pangs of nostalgia, and surprises – though maybe not anything as shocking as the Patriot’s comeback.

Of course, these days you don’t have to sit through the big-game (and insanely long pre-show) to see the ads. Several advertisers shared their campaigns early on YouTube, and the others were uploaded as they aired for you to watch and re-watch.

To make sure you catch the best and biggest ads of this year’s Super Bowl, I collected five of the most unforgettable commercials you’re likely to hear people talking about:

Snickers Live Commercial

https://youtu.be/_9M_wQDTTdk

Most brands spend weeks shooting and editing their commercials ahead of the game to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Snickers took a different route this year with a live commercial starring Adam Driver which ends in a (perfectly orchestrated) catastrophe. It’s a novel twist on the typical Super Bowl ad in a way that perfectly ties into the message, and I predict other brands may follow their lead in the future.

Avocados From Mexico

https://youtu.be/VneoEvAJX0g

Comedy in Super Bowl ads usually boils down to celebrities doing zany things (and yes, we will get to one of those soon). But, the funniest ad in this year’s game is almost entirely celebrity free – aside from SNL’s Jon Lovitz, if you consider him a celebrity.

Instead, it sets up a simple premise of a secret society gathering to discuss their recent leaks, including all the most well-known conspiracy theories. Even better, the brand took a risk and slipped in a “Deflategate” joke knowing there was a good chance the Patriots would make it to the Super Bowl – and it payed off beautifully.

T-Mobile – #NSFWireless

https://youtu.be/pNCG9fHGXB0

T-Mobile went with the “celebrities doing zany things” angle this year, with mixed results. While the dancing Justin Bieber ads were eye-rollingly awkward, two hilarious commercials starring comedian and actress Kristen Schaal more than make up for their missteps.

Schaal, playing a Verizon customer addicted to being treated poorly by her service provider, perfectly sells the message that only a masochist would enjoy the customer experience of T-Mobile’s competitors.

It’s a 10 – Four Years

Perhaps unsurprisingly, politics also played a major role in ad campaigns from several advertisers including Budweiser and Audi. While those ads were beautiful, my favorite political ad of the night took a lighter tone. Opening with “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair,” It’s a 10 urges viewers to “do your part by making up for it with great hair.”

Understated and smart, the brand left a mark on their night with a truly bipartisan message urging everyone to take pride in their hair.

Tide Cleans Terry Bradshaw’s Shirt

https://youtu.be/jF3otdfvSBQ

Terry Bradshaw and Tide teamed up last night to tear down the walls between reality and advertisements like never seen before. Many viewers noted that Bradshaw returned from commercial in the second quarter with a conspicuously large stain on his shirt, which prompted mass ridicule on social media.

But, the joke was on us. Bradshaw’s stain was setting up a Tide ad telling an epic journey from the broadcasting booth to actor Jeffrey Tambor’s house to clean out the stain and do some quiet sitting in front of the TV. The ending is enjoyable enough on its own, but the creative breaking of the fourth wall makes Tide’s campaign a standout ad of the night.

YouTube Ads

YouTube may be one of Google’s largest platforms, but it gets treated a bit like the black sheep when it comes to Google’s ad services. Targeting has been limited compared to typical AdWords options, and ad options have been built around desktop functionality first.

This is all starting to change, as Google says it is rolling out several updates aimed to make advertising on YouTube better on both mobile and desktop. The announcement also mentioned that over 50% of YouTube videos are now happening on mobile, which likely motivated the change in how they think about ads on the platform.

Target Advertising

Google is now allowing YouTube ads to utilize information associated with users’ Google accounts like their search history, demographic information, and whether the viewer has engaged with an advertiser in the past to better target who sees your ad.

More Focus on Mobile

In response to the increasingly mobile viewership of YouTube, Google is shifting away from a desktop-first mindset. To do this, they are moving from using cookies and pixels because they were not designed for targeting users on YouTube’s mobile, TV, and set-top box apps. The hope is to make tracking and ad functionality more accurate across all devices.

Better Control of What Ads You See

Not all of the new changes are limited to advertisers. Google is also introducing the option for users to device what ads they see on both Google and YouTube from one location. For example, if a user mutes a specific advertiser in Search, the advertiser will also be muted for the user when they watch videos on YouTube.

Video finally came into its own as a content marketing format over the past year, with the launch of 360-degree videos, Facebook Live, and all sorts of new features for video marketing on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

It was only a matter of time, as video has been a huge part of the online ecosystem since the launch of YouTube all those years ago. Currently, estimates suggest up to 78% of all people watch videos online every week and 55% percent make it a daily activity.  That means if you have been ignoring online video as a marketing channel for your business, you’re missing out on a huge and highly engaged audience.

With the start of the new year, many businesses are considering finally making video marketing a part of their larger advertising strategy. If you aren’t, you might want to reconsider. This infographic created by HighQ shows exactly why 2017 is poised to be the year video marketing blows up. You don’t want to be lagging behind when it does.

Video Marketing Infographic