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Streaming Media East: Cooperation Needed for Video Ad Success

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Digital video is growing, but the ad experience is struggling. Moderator Michelle Manafy, editorial director at the Online Publishers Association, explored the challenge of "Creating Video Ads People Actually Want to Watch" with a panel of experts at Streaming Media East 2014. As it turns out, teamwork may be the key. 

"A good ad is not good enough. You need some relevancy and a little bit of luck to come together," said Moritz Loew, vice president of sales for Time Inc. But, in order to achieve the mix that leads to a successful digital video ad experience, everyone needs to work together -- including the publisher and the ad partners responsible for the creative.

"You can have the best ad in the whole world...but you have to give it to them in a relevant context," said Samantha Minish, director of mobile video at Gannett. She agreed that, when it comes to video ads, relevancy is of the utmost importance." 

Publishers can provide context, but it's often up to the advertisers to create a relevant advertisement -- and some brands don't deliver. Companies that are stuck in a television mindset fail to understand the importance of delivering shorter ads on mobile devices, for example. Instead, they try to use the same 30-second TV clips they use elsewhere. It is often incumbent on publishers to work with ad partners and help them understand the importance of providing contextually appropriate ad experiences. This often leads to the creation of branded content. 

Highlighting a nuanced way to create branded spots, Aaron Gallagher, senior vice president of digital advertising at Scripps Networks Interactive, pointed toward a Ulive projected called One Tank Adventure. Scripps partnered with Ford to create a series of episodes around Scripps's on-air talent. "It doesn't hit you over the head with Ford," Gallagher said. "They wanted to subtly integrate their products, and tap into our talent." The videos can then be used across Scripps owned and operated properties, and also pushed to a wider network through other platforms. 

Gannett created a similar opportunity with USA Now, Minish said, sponsored by Verizon. It's hard to predict the news, she noted, but with this franchise Gannett is able to "produce two or three of these a day and get predictable results" with skippable pre-roll ads, skins, and other ad experiences on the page.

One truth was clear by the end of the session: Ads are looking less and less like ads. Through the teamwork of people on both ends of the equation, these experiences are getting more personal, more creative, and more relevant. 

Watch the full discussion below: 


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