Predictions for Online Video Marketing in 2018: The Experts Speak



You want predictions? To use an overused term, online video is at a pivot point and it’s set to spring forward in the year ahead. Digital advertising already took the lead from TV in 2017. Now it’s time to do something really interesting with it. To find out what 2018’s interesting moves will be, we spoke to 18 industry insiders and asked them to make some predictions. Here’s how the online advertising industry will change next year.

predictions(To see how our experts did a year ago, here’s a look back at our 2017 predictions).

Traditional Advertising’s Long, Slow Death Spiral

“Traditional advertising is in a death spiral and, to certain demographics, already is DOA. Ask a Gen Edge to watch an ad? Better get your anti-ad blocking technology fired up because you’re knocking on the wrong door. But the industry finally is pushing the clouds aside and getting a better idea of what its future really is: interactive ads, more sponsored programming, a true sea change in how advertising is consumed. A good example? Consider Fox, which is pushing six-second ads as a central piece to brand campaigns.

“Times are changing, being led by a very aggressive—and selective—consumer. Finally, the industry is taking note. Look for lighter ad loads on AVOD sites, better targeting, and snappier campaigns that make use of data and new technology.” —Jim O’Neill, Principal Industry Analyst, Ooyala

AI Will Lead the Way

“We’re going to see an even bigger shift beyond personalized ad experiences; it’s going to be all about making advertising an integral part of the content in ways we haven’t previously seen in online video. AI and machine learning will enable an explosion of these integrated, intuitive ad formats, also providing content creators and advertisers with critical data about viewing habits, which will lead to producing more relevant ad and content experiences, ultimately resulting higher engagement and better attribution.” —Ralf Jacob, Head of Digital Media Services, Oath

Premium Marketplaces Emerge

“Marketers have spoken, and the most vocal among them have expressed concerns over fraud, transparency and viewability in the online ad ecosystem. In response, the industry will continue to move toward premium marketplaces that offer more end-to-end capabilities, with both demand and sell-side control points. It’s a transformational time for brand advertising as we expect a new style of marketplace to emerge in 2018.” —Michael Hudes, Chief Revenue Officer, YuMe

New Metrics Emerge

“Branded media consolidation and consumer-access fragmentation will continue at a rapid clip. This will undoubtedly fuel the creation of more direct-to-consumer services as media owners try to capture a greater share of consumer attention. In this new environment, we will begin to see new metrics and currencies emerge that will force the industry to evolve beyond the current transactional standard of C3, C7, and viewability.” —Anubhav Mehrotra, Vice President, ComScore 

Assembling Ads On-the-Fly

“Today, to create a new video ad, a brand has to hire a creative agency, write a script, find actors, record a voiceover, identify music, and hire a director. This generally costs hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, takes six months, and once the ad is created, it is used by the brand for a couple of years. In 2018, brands will catalog different short (less than 3 second) shots of content (let’s say family shots, or teenager shots, or product shots, or feature shots). These shots will then be self-assembled in real-time based on the individual watching the ad.” —Emi Gal, Teads Studio CEO and Group CMO, Teads

Net Neutrality’s Absence Helps the Big Players

“Online video consists of a lot of organic, homegrown videos all the way up to mainstream, commercialized content. With net neutrality gone, you can guarantee video will become mainstream and commercialized, edging out all others. Those who generally consume videos are going to be turning away and looking at the dark web for content, including video. Unfortunately, online video as we know it will go to ‘he who has the biggest and deepest pockets.’” —Rich Kahn, CEO and Co-Founder, eZanga

Ads.txt Drives CPMs

“The biggest change and impact will be a certain increase in video pre-roll CPM. As Ads.txt/Ads.cert gets rolled out fully with OpenRTB 3.0 the supply will see a fairly quick compression in availability. The fraud rate can also be expected to be reduced with validated pre-roll supply.” —Kerry Bianchi, CEO, Visto

Programmatic on the Rise

Looking at the landscape for 2018, bots and IVT fires will (finally!) get contained, pushing programmatic spending even higher. We will also see data—and the activation of data—become king. Audience buying will be the new way to target media and CTV will finally gain traction after its initial years of slow progress and underperformance. Also, keep your eyes out for the first appearance of a hidden giant by way of programmatic linear TV—the heavy investments made over the past few years will finally bring the first of these products to fruition.” —Jeff Chi, COO, Krush Media

Zero in on Targeting

“Precision targeting is going to shift up a gear in 2018 as publishers and advertisers leverage AI-powered ad tech tools to offer personalized content. Personalized content not only engages users for longer, but it provides a wealth of data which can be leveraged to constantly improve levels of personalization. Consumers are ready and excited to respond to truly personalized advertising, and I think the market is now poised to deliver.” —Francis Turner, CRO and US MD, Adyoulike

OTT Measurements Look Like TV

“Across the TV and digital landscape, there is increased demand from advertisers to reach broadcast viewers on OTT devices as a natural extension of their TV buys. As a result, advertisers desire the same measurement for OTT that they use on desktop and mobile. As a result, advertisers are looking to their trusted technology partners to develop advanced OTT measurement. TV buyers extending in to digital has been highly tactical to date as they look to replicate the TV experience. In 2018, as OTT continues to offer more opportunities to reach an audience, buyers will take a more strategic approach.” —Anthony Greene, Director of Strategic Video, Gamut

Cross-Screen Goes Mainstream

“In 2018, based on our new buyer research coming out in January, we are confident that there will be an increase in adoption and spend across cross-screen platforms for digital video advertising and linear TV. The world of advanced advertising continues to evolve and we’re seeing the worlds of TV and digital video rapidly converging. We’ll see advanced TV advertising becoming more defined by the users and advertisers. Brands want to be able to buy TV and other screens using their own data, allowing them to reach customers with more precise uses of creative on the appropriate screen. Audiences will have better viewing experiences with advertising frequency management and relevant messaging.” —Jay Prasad, Chief Strategy Officer, VideoAmp

Winning the Living Room

“In 2018, we’ll see more addressable targeting and increased scale of dynamic ad insertion through the growth of live streaming TV services, or skinny bundles, like YouTube TV, Hulu Live Streaming TV, Sling TV, and PlayStation Vue. These services are on the rise, with ComScore’s State of OTT reporting 3.1 million users of Sling, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV Now and YouTube TV’s recent rollout in 34 new markets, offering consumers yet another way to access video content (including some of their favorite TV networks) through a skinny version of a standard cable TV subscription. Since these bundles are all accessed via an internet connection and consumers still favor watching longer form content on a TV, this will lead to more viewership on connected TVs.” —Heather Robertson, Director of Video, Centro

Viewability Must Improve

“Advertisers must also continue to push for more realistic industry viewability standards; despite how great an ad is, 50 percent of the video in view for 2 seconds is not enough to allow consumers to fully interact with a brand. And as the industry looks to reduce fraud in programmatic video advertising and publishers look to channel brands’ working media dollars effectively, implementation of ads.txt across the ecosystem will be a huge step forward.” —Glenn Kiladis, VP Product and Strategy, ViralGains

Go Long

“To truly capture and engage consumers, publishers should focus on creating longer form, well-created video in 2018.” —Vipul Mistry, Senior Business Development Manager, Intermarkets

Brands Turn to AR, VR, and 360

“There is no doubt that online video will continue to grow in 2018. However, advertisers are going to demand more than a 1 second view on their video from platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, where consumers can easily swipe their thumb past the ad to the next piece of content. As such, video investment will see parallel investment in even more immersive formats like 360° video and VR/AR experiences to stand-out in the crowd and give consumers a reason to pause and engage before swiping their thumb to the next piece of content.” —Michael Rucker, Co-Founder and COO, OmniVirt

Values Will Shift

“In 2018 the fundamentals of video advertising will shift. Historically, the value of video has been held in the inventory that could be sold against it, which has driven the creation of more video. In 2018 we can expect to see the value of the volume of inventory start to become secondary to the value of high-quality video content itself. Metrics like time-on-site, user engagement, retention rate, completion rate will mean the value of video advertising will truly be in the videos themselves next year.” —Zohar Dayan, CEO and Co-Founder, Wibbitz

It’s All About Facebook

“Facebook and Instagram will become the leading platforms in driving online sales for ecommerce advertisers. With growing engagement, intuitive ad formats such as Instagram Stories and Collection to go along with the unique audience data, and their focus on video, these social platforms will pioneer effective video retargeting and successful prospecting resulting in significant ROAS [return on ad spend] and sales lift for the ecommerce advertisers.” —Oz Etzioni, CEO, Clinch

Ad Tech on the Move

“In 2017, brands and publishers demanded more transparency about where their data was processed and stored. But, as the ad tech market continues to transition to more programmatically-driven native ad formats in the new year, they will begin to see infrastructure distribution as a competitive differentiator, just as the major cloud providers did. In 2018, ad tech companies will begin to move their architecture closer to key markets, starting in Germany due to its market leading connectivity, to process data on the network closer to end users.” —Bryan Hill, Digital Media Marketing and Business Development Director, Interxion

We’ve got room for more predictions. Do you have predictions you didn’t see here? Predictions about blockchain or mobile? Predictions about AI or transparency? Predictions about industry consolidation or walled gardens? Leave a comment below with your own 2018 predictions.


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