Five Changes We’ll See in Video Advertising Before the End of 2013

2013 PredictionsWhile much is made of how traditional media companies need to adapt to the web, they’re not the only ones who need to constantly review and iterate their strategies. Pretty much everyone in video advertising finds themselves on the evolutionary treadmill, constantly struggling to keep up with the continuous flux of new devices, standards, platforms and formats, not to mention new ways of buying and selling media. The second half of 2013 will be no different – here are a few of the main ones on the horizon:

A New Frontier for the Privacy Debate 

As new technologies come on to the market capable of recognising faces and measuring emotional responses – take Microsoft’s Kinect or Samsung TV’s for example – it seems inevitable that some companies will eventually want to use facial recognition to measure the effectiveness of advertising or as a source of data to inform buying decisions.

While this is already happening for A/B testing in closed, opt-in environments, even the most data-hungry advertisers will be forced to admit that this form of targeting is a step too far – imagine the PR and regulatory backlash once people realise advertisers are planning to scan children’s faces in their living rooms. However, an opt-in, BARB-style panel might be a more likely and more viable approach. 

Whipping up opposition to this form of targeting won’t be difficult for privacy advocates, as evidenced by this widely reported quote from Civil Liberties Australia:

“The Xbox One continuously records all sorts of personal information about me. My reaction rates, my learning or emotional states. These are then processed on an external server, and possibly even passed on to third parties. The fact that Microsoft could potentially spy on my living room is merely a twisted nightmare.”

The Rise of Brand Response

As VAN reported last month, shoppable video ads and content are set to reshape video advertising. Without wishing to rehash the points made in the original piece, it’s going to be important for the industry to maintain video’s positioning as a brand and awareness channel first and foremost. An excessive focus on click-through rate (CTR) in display advertising has led to the brand impact becoming something of a forgotten externality.

While it might seem ridiculous today to think that video could follow display down a similar path, there will almost certainly be players in the market who will promise they can deliver more clicks than their competitors, and advertisers who buy into the idea that that a high CTR equates to RoI. 

Facebook’s Big Video Splash

Later this summer Facebook is due to launch its new video advertising product, which will in all likelihood see masses of new video inventory coming onto the market overnight. How Facebook’s ads – which will be muted autoplay videos that appear in the news stream – will go down with consumers and buyers remain unclear, but it’s going to be fascinating to see how it plays out.

Will there be a deflationary affect on pricing? Will brands buy into autoplay ads, where the only context is Facebook? Will Facebook’s disenchanted user base revolt? Or will it all go swimmingly and provide Facebook with an incredibly cost-efficient revenue stream?

Also brace yourself for widespread confusion about what the terms ‘social video advertising’ means i.e. will it continue to be used to describe what the likes of Unruly, Be On are doing, or is it video advertising on a social platform?

There Will Be a Shift in Thinking on Programmatic Video

While most people in the industry would now agree that some form of programmatic selling is the future, it hasn’t always been clear when that future would arrive (or, to put it another way, how long publishers would try to hold out). However, as various broadcasters are start to experiment with selling their VOD inventory programmatically (some already are – more on that in the coming weeks), it seems the sell-side might be approaching a psychological tipping point.

We May See More Video Ad Tech IPOs 

Rumours persist that we’ll see more video ad tech companies aiming for IPOs before the end of the year. Take your pick from YuMe, Brightroll, Videology or

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