The power of video advertising in today’s digital world

By Dali Aboul Housn

Videos engage the viewer, simultaneously providing information and entertainment. Their importance in marketing has become widely known. However, marketers and advertisers are still struggling to effectively utilize them.

This year’s Interactions report, produced by GroupM, looks at technological advancements and their role in marketing. It addresses the importance of video and the different platforms on which it can be used.


As the Interactions report explains, “Television is a key driver of social conversation and interaction.” Advertising on this platform has proven to be useful with its broad-reach, simultaneous delivery.

As ads are placed in program breaks, consumers are more likely to view them “on big screens with full sound and motion.” This gives them the full experience of the commercial, as the advertiser intended.

The television industry has evolved massively over the years. Connected TV/Over-the-Top (OTT) services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, have become widespread with the emergence of smart TVs. Addressable TV is also starting to spread, allowing for targeted ad placement depending on household information.

New contenders

With the advancements taking place in the TV industry, it’s likely to continue improving. However, in order to maximize its reach and engagement, it has been forced to use the platforms it competes with.

A large issue for TV advertising is being unable to measure how many people are actively watching these commercials. It also struggles with the audience’s negative view of long commercial breaks.

American media company, NBC Universal, started using Youtube to build audience and invested in Vox and Buzzfeed. Cable company ESPN used Twitter and Snap. In order to overcome the issues that come with television, companies have to utilise other platforms in order to survive.


In contrast to television’s “forced view” method, YouTube gives the viewer the choice to complete watching ads or to skip them. This is due to Google’s belief that forced completion undermines the user’s experience.

YouTube’s downfall is that it doesn’t provide the broad and simultaneous reach television has. However, it does allow for the gathering of more viewer information. It’s unlikely to completely replace TV, but it has proven to be effective as a complementary platform.


According to the report, advertisers seem to have an issue with this platform. Data based on MOAT scores suggests that only 3 out of 20 videos on news feeds are watched for three or more seconds. Only 1 out of the 20 videos is watch for 10 or more seconds.

Videos tend to automatically play, meaning users might not be actively choosing to watch them. The ‘sound off’ feature means viewers might not be getting the full experience of the video.

Despite this, the platform saw great development in 2016 in regards to videos. The introduction of the Live Video and Stories provides new opportunities for brands. Advertising through Facebook Live places ads within content, instead of on someone’s news feed. This makes its use more familiar for advertisers who are used to television.

As stated in the report, “What the viewer wants and what the advertiser deems as ‘quality’ are often not the same thing.” Advertisers must have their communication objectives outlined and know their audience before they determine which channel should be used. Only when that is done will they be able to advertise effectively and efficiently.