Premium video has never been more important. And that’s as true for brands as it is for publishers.
Consumers are flocking to quality experiences from trusted sources. They want original digital video to be up to the standards they expect of programming they see on TV—great storytelling and high production value that can be delivered seamlessly over multiple devices.
This is borne out from what people said in our recent global study of viewing habits. When it comes to online video, 20 percent more consumers value “high production quality” than they do videos “created by everyday people.” Advertisers share this sentiment—63 percent expect branded video content to drive the greatest ROI this year, compared to 42 percent for user-generated video content.
At AOL, we’ve seen this move to premium first-hand. Audiences—and advertisers—are gravitating to high-quality video experiences that they can’t get from unpredictable UGC.
The bottom line is premium matters, whether consumers are watching on a big-screen TV or the hi-res screen of their smartphone. Here’s what you need to know to thrive in premium video era.
Quality has to be multi-platform
The premium video experience needs to extend across devices—it’s the quality of the experience that’s important, not the size of the screen. Consumers told us that their embrace of cord cutting and OTT services is about flexibility and convenience. And that attitude extends to mobile: Two-thirds of consumers now watch videos every day on their smartphones, per the study.
New ways for discovery
So where do viewers go to find this kind of quality programming? Off-platform distribution is what’s driving views. Asked in the survey where they discover video, consumers pointed to search (57 percent), social (50 percent) and word-of-mouth (49 percent), far outstripping finding a video directly on a publisher’s website (34 percent). With HuffPost being the number-one shared publisher on Facebook, we have a front row seat to this new way of discovery. Consumers are traveling across a large number of sites and we want to find them wherever they’re watching and sharing video.
Quality creates opportunity
With video viewership skyrocketing, there’s a move to create new platforms that can create even richer experiences. The increase in mobile viewing has spurred the adoption of premium formats like vertical video. The desire for more immersive storytelling has empowered brands to experiment with 360-degree video (which 52 percent of consumers now engage with at least once a week, per our survey), virtual reality and augmented reality. Advertisers in the survey said they’re trying things like shorter ads, interactive formats and higher-quality creative to engage consumers during the video experience.
Video ad budgets follow quality content
As video consumption is increasing, so is ad spending—92 percent of consumers watch video daily, so it is natural that advertisers are going broad with their video strategies. More than 80 percent of advertisers said they expect to increase their spending on video. And some 46 percent of advertisers and 50 percent of publishers said “better quality creative” will be the top driver of video growth.
A bright future
Nearly three-quarters of advertisers and publishers told us that digital video is the future of advertising. With more frequent viewing across devices, we’re learning more about how, where and why consumers are watching video. Advertising is going to be less about finding broad audiences and more about reaching individual viewers, then coming up with better ways to connect with them in this premium environment.
Not all video is created equal, and viewers are making their needs heard by demanding premium video experiences. It is an ideal time for advertisers to reach and engage these valuable audiences through trusted publishers. That’s the value the move to premium content provides.