Display is a long way from dead. In fact, new technology is making it possible for traditional display to be more beautiful and engaging than ever with the introduction of hyper-targeted video.
Display isn’t dead, but video could very well be its second coming.
For the past few years, it seems that once a month, some big news outlet declares the banner ad dead and celebrates some new method in its place, but the truth is, display advertising remains alive and well.
As a matter of fact, U.S. retailers will have spent nearly 25 percent of their budgets - an estimated $27.05 billion - on digital display this year, and a big portion of that budget will go to hyper-targeted video display, the ad industry’s newest weapon in the war against “banner blindness.”
In the past, display ads have gotten a bad reputation as “Internet clutter” according to David Miller, vice president of product management at AOL, but video display is helping to dispel that image by adding value to the banner experience.
“What we’re seeing is advertisers infusing traditional banner ad placements with more utility for the user, and that is where video and display can certainly work together to create a more relevant user experience,” says Miller.
“Display ads have a bad rap because they are often seen as cluttering the user experience, are irrelevant to the user, or are simply not seen. But by unifying the data and having a singular view of people across the various screens they consume media on, video display advertising has a greater opportunity to align with the marketing tactics in place,” he adds.
The technology that allows display advertisers to realize that singular view is the much-anticipated adoption of HTML5 over Flash, which improves cross-device deliverabilty by 50 percent and allows for more engaging creative, such as fast-loading video overlaid with hyper-targeted text, according to Mihael Mikek, founder and chief executive of Celtra, a programmatic creative technology company.
“We’re seeing the convergence of display and video with HTML5 taking over as the main standard that everyone will be using in the future,” Mikek says. “On mobile you need a tech that loads extremely fast. Nobody tolerates anything that buffers, so that moment when you scroll through the page and see an ad that instantly plays, it needs to feel extremely native.”
And many brands are pairing instant video display ads with more interactive elements to create even better engagement.
“What we’re seeing is advertisers infusing traditional banner ad placements with more utility for the user, and that is where video and display can certainly work together to create a more relevant user experience,” Miller says.
This can include much more information about products through various additional pieces of multimedia, like a slideshow gallery as well as a video, notes Miller, adding that he's seen these more robust types of display ads double the engagement rate as opposed to traditional spots.
The rise of programmatic display also offers greater testing opportunities. Whereas in the past, advertisers would have to painstakingly test different creative over months, HTML5 breaks the elements of an ad apart, so advertisers can test nearly limitless variations of ads very quickly. This makes it possible to serve up better-targeted video display ads than ever before, which makes consumers more likely to engage, according to Michael Lampert, senior vice president of New York Media and Account Management for 360i.
“With the increased level of data gathering, consumers continue to say that they expect and actually like advertising as long as it’s relevant to them and provides content and information they seek,” says Lampert. “It’s about individuals, not impressions and the strategy needs to align with that. Give consumers what they want and they will engage.”
And one of those strategies is using programmatic technology to overlay video with other elements, such as text, slideshow, and other targeted, personalized messaging to make display not just beautiful but utilitarian, and more personal than ever before.
“The only way to really achieve personalization on mass scale is with programmatic creative,” says Mikek. “Video ads can be dynamic based on any number of different data core signals. For example, depending on the audience data for each specific user we can have different calls to action for audience members in different parts of the purchase funnel. Videos can be longer or shorter, depending on the platform, we can even use location and date to be fully dynamic for each user.”
As better technology improves the way we buy, test and create media, the possibilities breathe new life into display, with video both personalizing and beautifying banners.
“Display is certainly not dead,” says Lampert. “It is just changing its delivery mechanism based on consumption, environment and targeting based on the use of more data". And increases in video are absolutely at the forefront.