Digital Video Ad Budgets Increase, Facebook Best For Short-Term Reach

Chris CrumAdvertising

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A new study from Advertiser Perceptions and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that 68% of marketers and agency execs expect their digital video ad budgets to increase over the course of the next year.

The study was conducted based on a survey of 305 buy-side professionals, who largely expect that greater investment in digital video will come from overall rising ad budgets this year and as funds shift away from broadcast and cable TV. 67% said they anticipate their broadcast and cable TV ad spend to stay the same or decrease in the next year.

67% also believe that original digital video will become as important as original TV programming within the next 3 to 5 years.

Across the automotive, CPG, financial services, retail, and telecommunications categories, advertisers expect to spend more on digital video. 67% expect to move a portion of spend out of TV to do so. CPG, financial services, and telecommunications marketers expect the biggest impact to be on their cable TV budgets. 63% in the automotive category expect to get the funding from expanding budgets.

“This study demonstrates unequivocally that digital video is a fierce competitor for advertising dollars,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP, Research, Analytics, and Measurement at the IAB.

A separate study from Visible Measures is out, which looks at video campaigns on Facebook and YouTube. It finds that "alternative video platforms" like Facebook have become more important to brands and that Facebook has not only grown "tremendously" for total viewing, but that it's also now the most powerful tool for driving immediate growth in viewership for timely video content.

That study found that for brands that post their campaigns on both Facebook and YouTube, Facebook dominates viewership immediately following a campaign’s release. For the campaigns it looked at in March, Facebook reached 85 percent of its viewership in the first week after launch, while YouTube only reached 63 percent of its viewership during that time. But don't let that fool you. It also found that YouTube still dominates reach in the long run. It just takes longer.

They credit both YouTube's functionality and consumer behavior for making YouTube more effective in the long term. According to Visible Measures CEO Brian Shin, the decrease in Facebook’s share of viewership over the course of time highlights how differently Facebook and YouTube function for both consumers and brands.

“If something is hot and of the moment, such as a newly released campaign, the Super Bowl, or even a cultural phenomenon like Fifty Shades of Grey, Facebook and similar social media sites are incredibly effective for driving the spread of timely content due to the trending nature of the News Feed,” he said. “But the strength of Facebook to promote trending content also highlights how powerful YouTube remains as a platform for continued viewership.”

"Content discovery on Facebook is very much dependent on the Facebook News Feed, which is a function of what a user’s friends are sharing, as well as recommendations based on trends and a user’s interests. Because discovery is so dependent on sharing, viewership soon after content gets hot' is strongest on Facebook," says Visible Measures. "Conversely, YouTube acts as a depository for video and millions of users go there first, or arrive via Google search, to find video content. This user paradigm enables videos to have a much longer shelf-life on YouTube."

“While Facebook can be counted on for viral lift, if your video doesn’t ‘pop’ on Facebook it will vanish pretty quickly, whereas slow and steady evergreen content can pay dividends for a long time on YouTube,” marketing consultant Brian Honigman told us in January.

According to Shin, Facebook will have to amp up its video discovery and search options if it wants to compete with YouTube for the long term.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke a little bit about Facebook's search efforts during the company's earnings conference call last week.

"If you think about the overall web, there’s a lot of public content that’s out there that any web search engine can go index and provide," he said. "But a lot of what we can get at are recommendations on products and travel and restaurants and things that your friends have shared, they haven’t shared publicly, and knowing different correlations, or interesting things about what your friends are interested in, and that’s the type of stuff, those are questions that we can answer that no one else can answer, and that’s probably going to be what we continue to focus on doing first. And I think what you’re seeing is that as we enable more use cases and as we just get a lot of the basics right around performance and bringing the mobile features into parity and beyond what we’ve been able to do on desktop, the volume is growing quickly."

Though he wasn't talking specifically about video with regard to search, the huge increase in video sharing on Facebook will only add pressure on Facebook to handle video search better. Right now, Facebook's search feature doesn't even include a video option. That definitely needs to change, and I have no doubt that it will in time.

Facebook has been testing some functionality, which could help in the discoverability department. It's trying a feature that automatically plays another video once the one the user is currently watching ends. This is something YouTube started doing a while back.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that video on the social network had increased 75% over the past year. Socialbakers, at the time, found that for the first time, brands were sharing Facebook videos on the social network more than YouTube videos. And with good reason. Facebook is said to give more weight to native videos in News Feed ranking.

Socialbakers also recently found that Facebook video tends to get better organic reach than regular status updates, links, or photos.

“The real growth point today is in videos,” it said. “While they are relatively more promoted than photos – 27% of all videos are promoted, compared to 17% of photos – there are so many more photos than videos that the new format is still far more effective at reaching audiences.”

Facebook expects video specifically to bring it more mobile ad dollars.

“Looking ahead, we believe video will play a significant role in bringing more marketers to mobile,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg during the earnings call. “More than 75% of global video views on Facebook occur on mobile – and we believe mobile video will become more important to marketers over time.”

Asked about video ad pricing, CFO David Wehner said, ”Video is effectively winning in the auction if it’s higher priced. So if somebody’s willing to pay more for a video, it’s going to get served before another type of format ad. But there’s not really a price differential you’re paying for a video, it’s just what are you willing to pay into the system. So there’s not differential pricing by product, it’s just what are you willing to bid for the format that you want to show to the people that you want to show it to and that’s how the system works.”

Last week, Facebook announced the launch of Anthology, a new marketing program that gives brands access to a group of well-known video publishers to improve the quality of video ads.

Images via Facebook, Socialbakers

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.