The fight between video giant incumbent YouTube and video giant insurgent Facebook is the latest front in the battle for digital advertising supremacy. And the impact of this competition should prove bountiful for brands around the world as video grabs an ever-larger share of the advertising budget.
In the Asia-Pacific region, online video is already claiming a substantial share of advertising spend. In Australia alone, video advertising is more than double the total cinema ad spend and is expected to reach almost half the size of the pay-TV ad market in short order.
The online video advertising market is proving just as robust in the wider region, too, said Sam Smith managing director of Australian digital-branding operation TubeMogul. “We’ve seen rising activity in every Southeast Asian market also over the past year,” he said. “Markets like Singapore and Taiwan are pacing ahead, which is not surprising. We’ve also been pleasantly surprised with Thailand and the Philippines ramping up video ads.”
Competition Heats Up
According to Smith, local brands throughout the region are harnessing the power of video to build emotional connections with consumers. And for many Asian markets, he noted, mobile is not only the first screen but the only screen, which is making automated mobile video particularly effective.
“Facebook is a powerful platform with huge daily audiences, and we believe social video will be very strong for brands as they seek to get their video ads in front of consumers,” Smith said.
That said, Smith said he believes that marketers are wasting their time focusing on the rivalry between Facebook and YouTube, suggesting they’re missing the larger point of what’s happening in video and how the platform mix is changing.
“The competition for brand budgets in digital video advertising will be intense in the next few years as brands adjust allocations of money across all the screens, including television, outdoor, and cinema,” he said.
Selecting The Right Video Platform
According to Spiro Pissas, commercial director at 5-year-old Boom Video, Facebook and YouTube need to be thought of and treated differently.
While YouTube and its multichannel network analyse the content and make recommendations on discovery techniques and building audiences for a video, Facebook has helped move the market forward by sharing and almost enforcing what works best on its platform, he said.
“We’ll probably see a situation where brands may need to create bespoke content for the platforms of their choice based on the purpose of their video--for example, views, shares or commercial intent,” Pissas said.
Predictions about the end of YouTube’s reign in the face of Facebook’s video push appear a little self-serving, too, he added.
“It’s not as simple as comparing apples with apples,” Pissas said. “One is auto-play and counted as a view after three seconds, and the other is a lean-forward, click-to-play experience. But it’s clear YouTube is no longer the only big video player in town and is likely to lose some share.”
Pissas also confirmed that Facebook’s decision effectively to force users to upload videos into its native player by penalising “incompatible formats” is having an impact.
“Our YouTube content creators experience better results, in terms of views and shares, when using the Facebook native player,” Pissas said. “Unfortunately for the creators, they don’t receive any reward for their efforts to create this content that feeds Facebook.”
Instead, he said, they can cleverly use this strategy to build an audience back to their YouTube channel, where that audience can be monetised.
No More ‘Spray And Play’
Nathan Musson, founder of digital agency 123Findme.com, shared Pissas’s assessment about both the impact of Facebook’s approach as well as the need for marketers to treat each platform uniquely.
But he also identified a more immediate problem: Many marketers are still struggling with the very concept of video, let alone worrying about how best to distribute it.
“Australian marketers are still largely blasting everyone with the same message,” Musson said. “This is the 30-second television ad spot legacy, and it’s the fault of older-style agencies. Load them up, increase the spend, and hope for more hits–it’s spray and play.”
According to Musson, brands should use all digital channels available to them to put the right “personalised” message in front of their customers at the optimal time.
“Video is what we want now–inform and entertain me,” he said. “Basically, consumers are saying, ‘I’ll give you a split second--make the most of it.’”
In this vast and fragmented online environment, the latest challenge for marketers is not only to develop immediately arresting online video content, but also to place it in the right channel at the right time. And as Facebook edges into YouTube’s share of video advertising, marketers need to renew and refine their social media strategies and spend–fast.