Is mobile video a bright spot for ad spend?

Plus, buyers discuss inventory shortage and what makes it premium.

The pandemic may have dampened many facets of Canadian ad spend, but one potential bright spot is digital video.

In fact, eMarketer projects a 3.6% spending increase this year to $2.18 billion. The forecast for mobile video is even more favourable – a 8.5% increase and a total spend of $1.95 billion based on June research.

This year, eMarketer states that video will exceed digital display spending in Canada for the first time. The market research company points to social media as the driving force, with audiences surging during lockdown. Mobile is expected to account for 89.6% of the digital video market in 2020.

Even with the growth of video advertising, there has been a shortage of in-stream inventory, especially in programmatic channels. Traditional publishers have preferred to sell premium ad placements in video directly or via private marketplaces.

Scott Stewart, president of VMC Media and VMC Digital, says this is an indication that it might be time to rethink what premium truly means.

“I think we are dealing with a very expanded marketplace that can accommodate the needs of the advertising industry if we avoid the legacy definition of ‘premium.’”

For example, he says, broadcasters tend to sell out very quickly on non-linear video, selling out quickly doesn’t necessarily mean the inventory should be considered premium.

“‘Premium’ should more appropriately be defined by user engagement metrics and ROI on price and not necessarily by the legacy of the site or a ranking on a comScore run.”

Stewart says the biggest reason that digital video continues to grow for advertisers comes down to attention span. Motion has always outpaced static ads for attention and with consumers accessing and consuming large volumes of digital content because of increased time on digital devices particularly mobile platforms, they have come to expect video as their primary method of consumption.

Fil Lourenco, VP of digital media, Havas Media Canada,  acknowledges that there is a shortage of high quality video inventory but since social is a big driver in mobile digital video, these platforms are mostly user-generated content and there are significant issues in the content on these platforms.

“The digital ecosystem is still a bit of a mess on mobile. So many sites still have auto play videos in tiny 100 by 100 [pixel] boxes, and this is really poor inventory. Digital video will continue to grow as consumer demand for content grows but consumers are looking for high quality. It may start to slow down as connect TV continues to grow and provide another outlet of quality content.”

He says that right now, with most people avoiding going out and doing things right now,¬†video is the best time killer for them and he doesn’t see video demand really decreasing until mobility starts increasing a lot more where video is not that great a fit for filling the gap.