video camera

Remember when Beyoncé sang about being crazy in love? That same euphoria describes the way marketers feel about video ads.

The video ad obsession is the result of an image crazy world. Video increasingly dominates digital media: a Cisco forecast predicts video will account for 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017

But some experts question the value of video ads. Do they really generate conversions?

Looking at the ROI

Just recently, James Murdock, the CEO of 21st Century Fox, told the Wall Street Journal that video ads Like Facebook’s were "not really earning anybody’s attention." He argued that ads in immersive streaming formats might provide better conversions than Facebook video ads.

Murdock isn't the only one questioning the ROI of video ads.

In an eMarketer post in September, more than half of the ad agencies surveyed noted that many of their clients were unsure about the potential returns on their video ad investments.

But despite such uncertainty, video ads remain a key medium of choice for advanced strategies such as programmatic advertising. About 40 percent of programmatic budget spend in 2016 is expected to consist of video advertising.

Questing the value of advertising isn't new. In fact, the debate about the ROI of video ads mirrors an older argument — the one about SEO versus paid search budgets.

It's simply a question of where marketers spend their money.

Understanding the Analytics

Agile marketing forces teams and agencies to build inventory of images ready for social strategists to share crafted quips or generate GIFs on the fly.

Understanding response becomes crucial.

The question also influences analytic perspectives and concerns.

Accurate attribution has been the big measurement challenge over the past few years. How do customers research brand and product information across channels?

Could it be that video ads are a breakthrough solution for addressing fractured customer attention span along device and time? In a world gone mobile, do they offer marketers new options to reach customers on smartphones and tablets?

Experimenting With Engagement

The only way to address the video ad debate is to experiment with engagement. Here are some strategies to consider.

Label URL tags for video campaigns: We’ve discussed how to insert link tags in another CMSWire post. Labeling video campaigns can reveal influences in the analytics reports, such as viewing traffic flow metric associated with the campaign. Labeling campaigns also permit comparisons with message and content.

Create a video specification matrix: Videos are expanding to more social media platforms. Just recently Twitter began allowing small video segments in tweets.

Each platform has file size or time limits. To make it easy on your marketing team, have a matrix of platform limitations available for content creators and managers. Take time periodically to update the details, since platforms change rapidly.

This approach helps the marketing team manage content effectively and take advantage of advanced management solutions such as sales enablement.

Extract images from video: Video editors can extract images that can be used for tweets, GIFs or other digital media that can be used within an ad or for complementary media such as a landing page for an ad. The result is a coherent appearance for a campaign.

Pay attention to customer journey: Options such as Google’s Customer Journey Tool can provide an attribution benchmark for medium usage, showing marketers what may be expected from a given industry.

Social media platforms have become synonymous with access to mobile as users increasingly access their accounts through a smartphone.

Thus video and the ads that appear alongside them become a viable backdoor approach for getting messages in front of a highly prized customer segment — those who are on the go.

Title image by Laura Lee Moreau