Australian advertisers ready to embrace new video formats

Australian media buyers and advertisers are gearing up for a dynamic 12 months ahead, as new video formats and approaches to media explode into the market, a research study commissioned by AOL found.

A significant 65 per cent of Australian media agencies are currently buying or plan to in the next year believe there is a place for virtual reality in the digital video marketplace. This is above global expectations (60 per cent). The overwhelming majority – 79 per cent (same as global) – believe that new video formats will provide a better consumer experience.

The overall data from the study paints a picture of a media industry in Australia that is keen for innovation and preparing for the rapid disruption of traditional media experiences in the near, rather than mid-term, future.

Programmatic drives change
The survey also found that Australian media buyers are some of the most prepared in the world to embrace change. Locally, four per cent of buyers expect to go ‘all in’ with programmatic, and increase spending by more than 100 per cent. This is the highest rate in the world, in which just two per cent expect to list spending by more than 100 per cent. Of organisations expecting to increase spending to programmatic by over 50 per cent, almost a quarter (22 per cent) of Australian buyers plan to lift spending to that extent, which is again ahead of the global trend (18 per cent).

Sellers, however, expect more muted interest with only one per cent of sellers in Australia expecting programmatic spend to increase by over 100 per cent, compared with five per cent globally; while 22 per cent of sellers expect spending to increase by over 50 per cent, this is well below global expectations, which sits at 33 per cent.

One of the challenges holding programmatic back in Australia is a lack of expertise. 61 per cent of the local media industry reports lack of expertise to be an obstacle in selling video inventory programmatically. Australia is the only market where this is the principle concern, and is well over the global trend (30 per cent). Other major concerns are brand safety (55 per cent), the perceived risk of losing a direct buyer relationship (45 per cent) and a lack of existing process and systems (45 per cent), which are more in line with global trends.

The love for videos
Most Australians watch video content daily. Across the market, and across all devices, 65 per cent of consumers are watching some kind of video daily and 59 per cent of them watch more video now than they did a year ago. More consumers prefer to watch content online or through a connected TV (65 per cent) due to the convenience and flexibility that it offers.

People like videos that are shorter too. Perhaps it’s because the smartphone is always within reach with 68 per cent of consumers responding positively to the question “I can’t live without my phone or it’s always within arm’s reach”, but 72 per cent of consumers watch videos of less than one minute at least once a week, and 74 per cent of consumers watch videos 1-5 minutes in length. This is a significant contrast to people who watch longer videos – just 55 per cent of people watch videos 10-20 minutes long each week, and only 57 per cent of people watched videos longer than 20 minutes.

This appetite for bite-sized videos is also being driven by the changing way that consumers are discovering content. 31 per cent of consumers discover video through social feeds, and a further 31 per cent get content from people they know. This is having the effect of decentralising the flow of content from producers to consumers; the actual platforms that people get content from are wider and broader than ever before.

Alex Khan, Managing Director AOL Asia & ANZ commented, “What is clear is that the proliferation of devices, and new ways of consuming content, is fundamentally changing audience’s expectations of that content. It’s now far too easy to flip between platforms, and attention spans are increasingly limited, as we see with the relatively high demand for super-short video experiences.”

Rising mobile spends globally
In this context it is unsurprising that there’s an increase in spending to mobile platforms. Almost half (44 per cent) of advertisers expect to increase mobile video spend by at least 25 per cent over the next year. Even more (46 per cent) of publishers expect to see the same increase in spending.

That being said, Australian advertisers and publishers have lower expectations than the market as a whole. Globally, 47 per cent of advertisers and 57 per cent of publishers expect to see a 25 per cent increase in investment into mobile video. In the US, the numbers are 70 per cent and 79 per cent respectively. The relatively muted interest in mobile video in Australia appears to be a result of regional factors; for the broader Asia-Pacific and Japan region, 45 per cent of advertisers and 52 per cent of publishers expect to increase spending in mobile advertising by at least 25 per cent in the year ahead.

Growth drivers
The trends outlined above mean that advertisers tend to believe that more social content will be the driver for growth this year. In total, 42 per cent of advertisers reported that they believe ‘social media video offerings’ and ‘better targeting and personalisation of video ads’ will be the top growth drivers in digital video.

Meanwhile, for publishers, the demand’s in the quality; only 33 per cent of publishers believe that social media video offerings will drive growth, but 67 per cent of them believe ‘better quality creative’ will drive growth and revenue.

“Advertisers and media agencies are looking at a wide range of different opportunities to reach out and engage with this more dynamic audience. Programmatic and mobile are major opportunities, as finding audiences through digital media and social media becomes important. But, equally, that drive towards providing quality content will lead publishers and advertisers to look at emerging media. VR, AR, and other experience-based media is expected to become a booming opportunity over the next year, as the technology starts to mature and audiences continue to look for dynamic, exciting experiences,” Mr Khan added.

The post Australian advertisers ready to embrace new video formats appeared first on Digital Market Asia.

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Lars M. B. Anthonisen is Global Account Lead @ Google. Previously, he held various digital marketing positions at media companies across Europe and Asia including Regional Digital Director at MediaCom APAC, CMO at Adform and Digital Manager at Universal McCann Worldwide.