Video ads on Twitter a rivalry for Youtube

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YouTube celebrated its 10th birthday in  February, 2015 and it’s been a frantic, eventful decade for the company.

Few could have predicted its ascent and 9-figure purchase by Google in 2006. (The price at the time, a then eye-watering $1.65bn, now looks like a bargain.) And fewer still predicted that one of their biggest competitors for online video advertising revenue would be Twitter.

YouTube have barely had time to adjust to the competition from Facebook, who have embraced video advertising with gusto. Now Twitter are upping the ante with their own deal for advertisers – one that’s eerily similar to Facebook’s; short pre-roll ads with revenue split 30/70 with publishers.

User-generated content is not just a phrase that applies to kids skateboarding videos on YouTube: Businesses are expected to adapt to that model too. So Twitter Amplify, targeted at media companies, will augment and package video into ad-friendly content.

On their business site, Twitter describes it as a way to tease their audiences with content: “Twitter Amplify enables media companies and brands to capture the excitement on TV and distribute it to fans and audiences across Twitter, beyond their followers.”

“The Twitter Amplify sponsorship includes a short, high-impact excerpt from the media partner’s content along with brand integrations, such as an ad pre-roll (up to 6 seconds).” In other words, the Tweet will look like a typical sponsored Tweet, with a brief video – like a cross between a sponsored Tweet and a Vine.

David Regan, senior product manager in charge of video at Twitter said that Twitter Amplify is designed to let publishers and creators monetise their video content on Twitter, while making it easier for advertisers to reach massive audiences.

“With this update, advertisers can run video ads against premium content automatically based on their preferred content categories — without having an existing publisher-advertiser deal in place,” said Regan.

The value of YouTube for advertisers

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YouTube is such a ubiquitous force that sometimes it’s in danger of being taken for granted. In actuality, YouTube’s presence and impact on everyday internet use is staggering.

There was a time when, in the US, Nielsen ratings were the single source of TV viewership ratings. Now that model is completely out of date, not just because the providers of video content are so diverse, but so too are the devices.

Perhaps that’s why Google recently carried out a survey with Nielsen, to better understand and analyse viewership figures across new and old media.

Here are two of their key findings:

  1. “YouTube led all digital video platforms in December 2014 reaching more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49-year-olds than all TV network digital video properties (full episode players) combined and consistently reaching more adults 18 to 49-years-old than any other premium digital video platform.”
  2. “YouTube accounted for 51% of time spent watching premium digital video in December 2014 across desktop streaming, smartphones, and tablets among key adult demographics, specifically adults 18-34 and 18-49.”

So what does this mean? First of all, it’s important to note that much of the same content is being watched on YouTube as on traditional TV. Quote the research: “YouTube is the leader in digital video platforms, and time spent watching officially distributed TV content on YouTube is increasing year-over-year, which demonstrates that viewers haven’t lost interest in the content, but instead are simply using different platforms to access it.”

Indeed, many popular YouTube channels spin-off from TV shows (NBC’s Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central’s Amy Schumer have online-exclusive sketches for instance). So while younger demographics are still happy to watch media generated by traditional means, they’re not beholden to TV schedules or even TVs.

Unlike TV, online content offers brands much more opportunities to learn about and engage with their viewers, thanks to IP addresses, message boards and more direct links to social media.

Closer to home, Ruth McEntee, YouTube industry manager at Google Ireland, revealed the results of the first comprehensive survey of YouTube users in Ireland at DMX Dublin 2014.

“Irish YouTube users are more digitally active consumers than non-users of the site,” she said. “They are nearly three times more likely to buy or download digital music, movies or books; three times more likely to buy electronics, gadgets or other devices; and are nearly twice more likely to buy apps for their smartphone or tablet.”

Music videos are the most popular content among this base (confirming the theory that YouTube is this generation’s MTV) accounting for 67% of traffic. That’s followed by comedy at 52% and DIY and how-to videos at 42%.

Entertainment is still the number one reason for Irish viewers visiting YouTube, at 91%, with two thirds (66%) using it for education and keeping up to date.

YouTube’s status as a social network is often underrated and underreported, as more than half (52%) of Irish YouTube viewers said that they use the video site for social networking and sharing videos.

Another misconception is that YouTube is primarily younger demographics. That might have been the case when the site first appeared way back in 2005. Now, however, 44% of its users are aged 35 or older. From a gender perspective, viewership is split straight down the middle. Those who use and enjoy YouTube do so frequently, with 40% visiting it daily and 77% visiting weekly.

This is all promising news for advertisers, especially as 52% of Irish YouTube users take some sort of action after they have seen an ad. This action might involve searching for more information, visiting the company’s website or making a purchase there and then.

These are tantalising statistics to advertisers. There are added benefits too, unique to online content. Unlike in old media, a YouTube ad brings consumers just one click away from viewing more brand content, and of course, only one click away from making a purchase.

Video: An essential tool for advertisers, agencies and media companies

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Once upon a time, the internet was an ocean of text. Companies’ websites consisted of text content and, if you were lucky, the occasional stock image.

Whether you’ve adapted or not, we are now in the video age. And it’s fair to say that competition for consumers’ attention has never been fiercer.

This is an opportunity, though, not a crisis. Video communicates ideas with greater efficiency and – if done right – panache than text. The right video content – creative, distinctive, audience-appropriate – produces higher engagement rates, profile, SEO results and dwell time than text.

Video is steadily overtaking text on mobile devices; and as a consequence, it is becoming the most ubiquitous and valuable communication tool for your company.

Is video becoming the most powerful online marketing channel?

Statistics say so…


According to the latest report from Cisco Visual Networking Index which was published on 27th May 2015:

“Globally, consumer internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64% in 2014. This percentage does not include video exchanged through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VoD], internet, and P2P) will be in the range of 80 to 90% of global consumer traffic by 2019.

Internet video to TV doubled in 2014. Internet video to TV will continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing fourfold by 2019. Internet video to TV traffic will be 17% of consumer internet video traffic by 2019, up from 16% in 2014.

Consumer VoD traffic will double by 2019. HD will be 70% of IP VOD traffic in 2019, up from 59% in 2014.

Content delivery network traffic will deliver over half of all internet video traffic by 2019. By 2019, 72% of all Internet video traffic will cross content delivery networks, up from 57% in 2014”.


How do I target these potential customers online while they watch video content?


When it comes to video advertising there are certain challenges that ad agencies, advertisers directly and media companies face.


The scarcity of premium or quality content seems to be the key indicator for advertising agencies not allocating a greater budget to video marketing. Ad agencies find it challenging to purchase media across video due to the lack of supply of quality content.


Publishers that provide rich media and long tail video content benefit from this and can charge accordingly.


Ad agencies and advertisers are resorting to use “outstream” video formats that overcome the obstacle of poor quality content. Outstream ad formats allow advertisers deliver video advertising without requiring premium video content to appear against. This video ad type generally appears within the body of the published content, as a user scrolls down the page.


A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Teads, May 2015 surveyed over 500 ad agencies and advertisers with over 100 publishers. The results provided some interesting insights.


Advertising agency

“What increase will your clients’ spend on digital video advertising change in the next two years?”


Significantly increase   31%

Moderately increase    39%

Stay the same             12%

Moderately decrease   8%

Significantly decrease  0%


Premium inventory isn’t enough, advertisers and agencies want better targeting and measurement of their video ads’ impact.



“Will your spend on digital video advertising will change in the next two years?”


Significantly increase   25%

Moderately increase    52%

Stay the same             15%

Moderately decrease   7%

Significantly decrease  1%


‘70% of agencies and 77% of advertisers expect video budgets to increase in the next few years’ ‘Media companies are driven by the unique enticing features’
Media companies

“What is the main benefit of video

advertising for your brand?”

Premium means higher CPMs    44%

To provide more engaging advertising content to our customers         29%

Allocation for budget from traditional

media budgets      19%

Reaching online audience that tv cannot reach    7%


Media brands face barriers:


➔     Costs of producing quality long form content puts pressure on the return on investment.

➔     Having video for specific content is resource and cost draining

➔     The lack of quality inventory in the market place




How can advertisers increase ad engagement levels? Is it choosing the right content or is it about having compelling creative?

It is certainly a combination of both. The advertising creative needs to be strong enough to capture the user’s attention, in their time.

With an industry that has become saturated with advertising and cluttered with competition, it is imperative that the creative is of quality content, served to the user at the right time within the relevant environment.

Advertisers must not forget that media consumption favours the customer; people have full control over what content they watch, when they watch it, and where. Technology facilitates that in every way.

We are at an era of multi-device watching, engaging on Twitter while watching TV is a perfect example. So the main challenge is getting the attention of a potential customer and retaining their attention long enough for them to get your message.

Video is an effective way of achieving high engagement levels with measurable performance measures; it is the most powerful advertising medium. Video needs to work hand in hand with technology and targeting to effectively deliver. The consumption levels of video have increased dramatically over the last few years, and the marketing industry is changing to reflect. The full potential of video has yet to be realised.