THE BLOG
12/28/2016 12:52 pm ET Updated Dec 29, 2017

What We Can Expect from Online Video in 2017

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Brian Shin, CEO and Founder, Visible Measures

Video advertising continues to build momentum with a rapid pace of innovation in ad formats and tremendous audience growth. The industry is expected to reach $15B in digital video ad spend by 2019, up from about $10B in 2016, which means that 2017 will provide a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capture consumer attention with branded video.

Looking ahead to next year, there are a few trends that are likely to be top of mind for brand marketers and advertising agencies: live video, the evolution of video measurement and, finally, the increasingly competitive battle between the Internet Giants when it comes to digital video.

LIVE VIDEO CONSUMER ADOPTION WILL INCREASE, MARKETING WILL REMAIN SECONDARY

Live video continues to enable the broadcasting of “in-the-moment” content that makes our world feel more interconnected than ever before. Whether it’s sending a “snap” of your dog to a friend or livestreaming breaking news from the scene – live video is being used by millions across the globe to share moments instantaneously. The tremendous growth of Snapchat and Instagram, which has sought to mimic Snapchat’s Live Story experience, is a testament to the engaging nature of live moments. Snap’s IPO will likely be quite successful and oversubscribed. Snap will most likely seek to accelerate the execution of their strategic roadmap both through continued organic and geographic expansion but also through acquisitions. 

The other Internet Giants including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are also pushing live video in big ways – Facebook just rolled out Live Audio Broadcasts, YouTube has brought “live” to mobile and Twitter is now allowing users to stream live video from the app. As we move into 2017, we’ll see a continued emphasis on live video and new innovations improving the experience for “livecasters” and viewers alike. At Visible Measures, we estimate that the number of people broadcasting live video (“livecasters”) will grow 5X and the total viewership will grow 3X for live concurrent viewing and viewership of recorded live video within the first 2-3 hours of publishing.

Despite this growth, Visible Measures anticipates that marketing opportunities against live-streaming content will remain minimal as the increase in viewer abandonment triggered by interruptive advertising will not justify the revenue. Expect to see platforms experiment with “companion” ads, overlays, and recommended sponsored videos become dominant forms of live video monetization and a decrease in mid-roll video ads.

VIDEO MEASUREMENT WILL EVOLVE

Despite online video’s steady growth, the lack of standardized metrics across platforms will continue to be a headache for brand marketers, agencies and the platforms themselves. Advertisers are frequently forced to question their actual ROI because there isn’t a universal, definitive way to measure it. In 2016 we saw Facebook become the poster child for the need for better measurement when it admitted to several issues of overstating video metrics and mis-stating others. Progress has been made however. Now, billions of dollars of video advertising are executed based on “video views” as opposed to ad impressions, intended to be a better measure of actual viewership.  But unfortunately, nearly all major platforms measure billable view events differently, creating inconsistencies when measuring the effectiveness and success of cross-platforms campaigns. Attention (as a measure of reach & engagement or in other words total views & engaged viewing time) increasingly seems ready to become the new standard for video advertising measurement. For a brand to know the Attention they are capturing objectively across platforms is a major improvement over the inconsistent collection of data that they currently often receive from ad partners. And being able to know your rank or your Share of Attention (as you would know your Share of Voice in media including TV and radio) will lead to dramatically improved media strategy, planning and execution.

INTERNET GIANTS’ MAJOR FOCUS WILL BE VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO

With the dramatic increase in mobile video viewership, the growth in total video streams, and a reported 87% of online marketers turning to video for their advertising campaigns, it’s inevitable that the battle over online video will continue. A huge priority for each Internet Giant is to get more video content created and published on their platform. Snap thinking of themselves as a “Camera Company” is the clearest example of this focus. Facebook is now following suit rallying the troops around a new “camera-first” emphasis. Facebook will also continue their video push by launching a dedicated video viewing experience for both tablets and computers (they have already teased a video “tab” in their smartphone apps). And to attract the best talent and video content, the social media giant will need to significantly improve their creator compensation program.

Like Facebook, Twitter has placed a huge bet on video, but so far their execution has left some room for improvement. For example, having 3 separate apps for creating and viewing video (Vine, Periscope and Twitter) was compounding their user engagement challenges. Hopefully, Twitter’s new COO and product lead can unify the various Twitter efforts into a single video team focused on both consumer experiences and monetization. As for YouTube, the original online video pioneer, they continue to be the platform that generates the greatest average Engaged Viewing Time for brands. We believe that YouTube will launch several new capabilities that will emphasize strength in building attention. Additionally, we anticipate that YouTube will unveil new capabilities for featuring more “hot/trending” video content. Finally, with Amazon, which has largely focused its video efforts on the subscription/premium end of the market alongside Netflix, many indicators point to Amazon putting a much higher emphasis on video within their ecommerce properties.

While it’s impossible to know the future, especially for one of the world’s highest-growth and highest-grossing industries, the trends over the past year show that the digital video industry is still at an early stage of its growth and development. 2017 will be an interesting year for video, so it’s time to sit back and watch.