How is video advertising faring in the age of coronavirus?

Posted on: Thursday 11 June 2020 | IAB UK

How is consumer behaviour and video advertising fairing in the age of coronavirus? We turn to our Video Steering Group for their views

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The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all of our lives. As we start to adjust to the realities of a home working economy, it is important for us to monitor how consumers’ behaviour is changing, the opportunities and challenges being created for different channels and the overall long-term impact that this period may have on our industry. Here, IAB UK’s Video Steering Group share how they’re seeing the Covid-19 outbreak change viewing habits, including insight from Carat UK, LinkedIn, Twitter, Unruly and Xandr.

 

How has consumer behaviour changed in regards to the consumption of video content as a result of the coronavirus outbreak?
“As we enter the later stages of self-isolation it brings with it a sense of cabin fever – what else is there to do but watch video content?! Records are being broken with 16 million new subscribers to Netflix globally, Sky reporting that ‘Bulletproof 2’ has now surpassed 5.4 million downloads (the fastest downloaded series of all time) and All4 seeing its biggest ever week, with audiences up 54% year-on-year. Viewing figures are increasing and we are still expecting to see significant growth in video consumption, with boxset bingeing set to continue.”

Ruth Cartwright, Managing Partner, Delivery, Carat UK

“One shift we see with professional audiences is the amount of time they spend watching ‘LinkedIn Live’ video due to the Covid-19 lockdowns. In April, we surveyed members globally and 31% of professionals report that they are watching more ‘LinkedIn Live’ video content as a result of lifestyle changes caused by lockdowns. While video is up across the board – in April, people watched over 7.7 million hours of LinkedIn Learning content, up from 4 million hours in March – people with more senior titles are more likely to tune in to Live content specifically. For example, 35% of directors and above are watching Live video, compared to 29% of individual contributors increasing their time with Live video.”

Jennifer Bunting, Head of Product Marketing, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn

“UK digital consumption has risen significantly during the pandemic, with consumers now spending more time on their mobiles (66%), laptops (46%) and connected TVs (54%) than before. They are also spending more time consuming and sharing videos on these platforms, as well as using streaming services. With fewer people going out, and with more free time, consumers are finding new ways to engage with each other digitally, for entertainment and a sense of community online. This is most noticeable among younger audiences, with 80% of 18-24s now spending more of their time watching online videos.”

Saint Betteridge, UK Commercial Director, Unruly

“More time at home translates into more consumption of video content, whether via linear TV, digital and mobile video content, or through streaming services. I think that many news publishers and various governments are doing a great job adapting to digital video platforms, particularly mobile, in order to reach as many people as possible to inform them about the current status of the Covid-19 spread.”

Vincent Tessier, Brand & Agency Lead, EMEA, MoPub, Twitter

“Since the outbreak started, consumers’ time and attention has been completely disrupted. According to Magna Global, TV viewership in the UK is up +20% year-on-year since lockdown was announced on 23 March, with all demographics growing by double digits. I am sure this is in part due to people keeping the news on or TV watching for comfort. This has been good news for streaming services in the UK, which in some cases have seen an increase in viewership by over 50%, according to recent reports from Magna Global. In fact, ad requests on Connected TV (CTV), often used to consume such content, have more than doubled on our platforms across EMEA.”

Austin Scott, Head of Video Market Development, EMEA, Xandr

 

Does a home-based economy provide a platform for emerging video markets such as connected TV and short-form to thrive?
“One of the biggest challenges of a home-based economy is the physical production of video itself. Working remotely is forcing marketers to rethink their creative techniques. Marketers are accustomed to using camera crews, professional gear for lighting and sound, and carefully controlled sets. At LinkedIn, we have seen more brands trying new things for their organisations. Whether it’s small changes like increasing the use of animation and stock footage, to creative leaps with ‘LinkedIn Live’ broadcasts, or writing creative briefs so they can be filmed by teams in their own homes.”

Jennifer Bunting, Head of Product Marketing, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn

“Connected TV and short-form video formats have been growing in popularity for a while. However, both have seen a significant surge during the pandemic as consumers increasingly reach for their mobiles, tablets and connected TV remotes during lockdown. With consumers spending so much more time at home watching content online, ad budgets could well follow as brands adapt their strategies to this new media landscape. However, to engage consumers effectively, ads must strike the right emotional tone, with our data showing 42% of UK consumers want ads to be more informative around Covid-19, while a further 35% want them to make them feel more warm and happy.”

Saint Betteridge, UK Commercial Director, Unruly

“The current crisis is accelerating existing digital transformation trends. Consumers were already increasingly adopting CTV, OTT platforms, and mobile video apps and services. Having more time for themselves and having to stay at home dramatically increases consumers' adoption of new ways to consume video content at scale, and this is happening across all demographics throughout the population. With more users turning to mobile to stay informed and connected, advertisers that didn’t pull their media activities are adapting and reallocating their budgets accordingly.”

Vincent Tessier, Brand & Agency Lead, EMEA, MoPub, Twitter

“Streaming and video-on-demand (VOD) has always been able to give the consumer power and control over their media experience. At a time when so little is in our control, I believe that CTV provides consumers with a unique opportunity. Given the uptick in CTV impressions we have seen on our platform alone, it is safe to say that consumers are giving this platform more attention, and ad dollars are following. Regarding short-form, the rise in social video over the last few years has been a major indicator of its success. Now, amid working from home, short-form makes the most sense for those who are finding themselves busier than ever before. This is an amazing opportunity for creativity in content production. The disruption brought on by a home-based economy brings new consumption habits, including shorter attention spans, and therefore opportunities for new formats to evolve and thrive.”

Austin Scott, Head of Video Market Development, EMEA, Xandr

 

What do you think the lasting impacts of social distancing will be on consumer behaviour?
“Social distancing is changing our outlook – we are more aware of others and more considerate of their needs. This positive shift hopefully won’t be short-term; consumer behaviour has changed, as have our values. Consumers are focused on emotional wellbeing and brands are aligned with this, community is key and how brands behave in this space is critical for consumers to stay loyal or see them as a viable new purchase option. Proximity and convenience are important with ever more redefined routes to purchase e.g. direct to consumer. We are seeing new ways to socialise and the acceleration of digitisation across several industries will have a long-lasting impact – improving brands e-commerce offerings and their uptake by much broader audiences.”

Ruth Cartwright, Managing Partner, Delivery, Carat UK

“That is the million-pound question! People are eager to return to their previous way of life. Right now, people are spending more time online and using technology to stay connected. How long this will continue and how it changes will vary widely by country as lockdown rules are eased – something marketers who manage campaigns across regions will need to track closely. For video specifically, people will return to their normal television viewing habits once they are in offices and commuting more. But virtual events will be here for some time given how long it takes to plan a physical event.”

Jennifer Bunting, Head of Product Marketing, EMEA & LATAM, LinkedIn

“UK consumers and businesses will probably remain cautious for a while. There could be a more permanent shift towards more flexible working, which could positively affect video consumption and the ways brands advertise, as we’ll be engaging more with digital devices, particularly mobiles. We could also see a change in the kind of brands advertising and we’re already seeing changes in creative and messaging. Gaming, streaming services, and online retail have seen further increases in consumption and usage, which could lead to permanent change in how we engage with audiences.”

Saint Betteridge, UK Commercial Director, Unruly

“During the ‘stay at home’ period, consumers are discovering new content and platforms, new ways to interact and stay connected with the world; this will definitely stay with them. The longer this period lasts for, the more established and even permanent these new behaviours will become. At MoPub, we've seen a rise in the adoption of productivity and utility apps. People are looking for ways to stay productive both in their personal and professional lives. Installing a new app and giving it real estate on your home screen is quite a commitment. If users are engaged with that app's content and services, they will continue using it, particularly if it makes them more productive.”

Vincent Tessier, Brand & Agency Lead, EMEA, MoPub, Twitter

“Hesitation and uncertainty around the “new normal” will have an immediate impact, which we’ve seen play out already in specific sectors such as travel and hospitality more than others. However, current circumstances have shown people to be far more adaptable in their habits than perhaps we once thought. While we can’t predict what will happen, online shopping for essentials may stay the norm for people who previously didn’t rely on it and contactless payments - which have proven to be quick, efficient and available in most places - are likely to remain relevant.”

Austin Scott, Head of Video Market Development, EMEA, Xandr

 

This piece was first published on The Drum

Written by

IAB UK

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