Digital Video Advertising: Understanding The Benefits And Risks



Digital video is wonderful content that can do many amazing things for a brand—educate, simplify, elicit emotion, tell compelling stories, change perceptions, etc. However, I have heard so many companies say, “I spent tens of thousands of dollars on a video, and it didn’t work.”  When trying to understand WHY it didn’t work, more often than not, the video was posted to their website/YouTube channel, never to be spoken of again.  You can’t see what you can’t see, and where many companies may be missing the proverbial mark is in developing a comprehensive digital video strategy to drive traffic to their video, using the right message and reaching the right audience on the right platform. Prior to developing your video, it is important to understand the following elements to make sure it’s a success:


The first element you want to consider is what you are looking to accomplish overall, whether it be increased brand awareness, engagement, lead generation, or perhaps increased revenue. Video can play an important part in driving each of these goals, but placement and execution may look different depending on what is the desired outcome. For example, if you are looking to increase your brand awareness, video ads can be used through pre-roll to target your core audience, and optimized toward video completion.  For lead generation, other media elements will be necessary to drive traffic to your site, but video can be used to educate or simplify your product/service offering. Video can be great at moving people forward on their decision making journey. However, without understanding the end game, video can be misplaced within the content strategy.


Understanding the audience that your content is targeting is key to determining the best ways to reach and engage them. Learning your target’s media usage, technology habits, and primary social platforms will help you to leverage your paid, owned, and earned media. The media landscape is more fragmented than ever, with people of all generations using an average of 4.1 digital devices every day.1 Plus, with time spent with mobile devices now exceeding time devoted to any other medium, including TV, we are now in the mobile-first world2.

When using digital video within the media strategy, you must adjust the video by platform and length of video segmenting your audience. In a recent study by the IAB, in partnership with Millward Brown Digital and Tremor Video, they found that brands running shorter, 10-second mobile video ads have greater lift with younger audience, while 30-second spots did better with those between the ages of 35 and 54. The study shows length of video should be adjusted by device for ad effectiveness, and that actions taken by viewer differs by device.3

Bottom line: Understand your target audience, what are the best ways to reach them, 
and what makes them take the desired action you would like to see from your video.



Not surprising is that over 70% of the total U.S. online population watches TV, film, or video online. That’s over half (51%) of the entire U.S population.4 We are a video-obsessed culture, touching video basically at every point throughout our day. From news, sports, and current events to videos about Pokémon Go, video consumption is in lockstep with our lives.

When do people watch all this content, and on what devices? Desktops and laptops have the highest engagement when people are multitasking in the office, peaking at around 3:00pm. (YouTube clip coffee break, anyone?) As you’d expect, connected TV viewing is highest at night. Smartphone activity is also highest at night, in part because people are using their smartphone while watching TV. Tablet usage is high both midday and in the evening. Tablet use often spikes late at night, since people use them after they turn off the TV, but before they turn off the lights.

Embrace an omnichannel strategy, and prioritize the best platforms to execute your campaign, whether it is desktop, mobile, tablet, native, social, or connectedTV.


Video advertising is an extremely effective way to tell a story and enhance the consumer journey, but make sure that you have a well thought-out plan that can reach the right consumers and drive your desired outcome. 
The video itself is not enough to be effective.  It must reach your target audience, with the most effective message, on the right platform.

This post was originally featured as a guest blog post by MNI’s Melissa Martin for Drive House Media. 
The original post can be found here.

1State of Consumers & Technology, Forrester Research, October 2015.

2Simultaneous Media Use: Screen Fragmentation Complements Traditional Channels, eMarketer, October 2014.

3“Multiscreen Video Best Practices,”, IAB, April 2016

4U.S. Connected TV Usage: Digital Content Gives the ‘First Screen’ New Life, eMarketer, November 2015.

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