Image from: Digital Video / Adobe

As part of our 2016 Digital & Media Predictions report, Millward Brown offered up seven key predictions for the year. In the coming months, as the marketplace continues to evolve, we’ll check in on those predictions through a series of posts. Today’s up-close prediction: Brands Waste Billions by Failing to Adapt Video Creative Across Formats.

So…how is the prediction pacing?

As we enter Q2 2016, industry estimates confirm continued investment across the digital landscape. For example, eMarketer recently increased its digital spending projections, bumping the share of 2016 digital ad spend (35.8%) to within just a percentage point of TV (36.8%). Much of that digital growth is fueled by surges in mobile advertising expenditures.

Despite that investment, marketers remain slow to customize content across the various platforms. The majority of digital video impressions are simply re-purposed TV ads, aiming to reinforce TV’s message and extend reach and frequency across platforms. However, the digital environment provides consumers with a very different landscape. There’s skippable inventory, ad blocking capabilities and, perhaps most importantly, a consumer mindset that give viewers a sense of control and interactivity. Repurposed TV ignores these digital foundations, creating waste and missed opportunities.

How do marketers move forward from here?

Research and proven results can evolve marketing perceptions. In addition to the recent work seen from Millward Brown’s AdReaction Video report, the ARF just released “How Advertising Works” – the largest ad effectiveness study of its kind across the last 25 years. As part of that study, Millward Brown analyzed over 50 North American campaigns, comparing results from non-integrated campaigns against those that integrate across media platforms, both with and without channel customization.

Among other findings about cross media allocation, the ARF study confirms that customized creative produce stronger responses across integrated campaigns than those without any channel customization – and the study helps quantify that impact at scale. In short, integrated campaigns (TV plus digital) work far better (48%) than non-integrated opportunities. And custom integration – where campaign creatives are developed specifically for each medium – performs 67% better than non-integrated campaigns.

To minimize waste, marketers need to leverage upfront digital copy testing, evaluating video creative in the context of digital platforms. Digital copy testing can quickly reveal a range of adjustments for video – from simple changes in ad length or logo placements to broader creative learnings about an ad’s ‘viral’ potential for an overall campaign. These up-front creative decisions are critical in today’s digital landscape, particularly one with increasing consumer control.

Furthermore, advancements in mobile ad standards should evolve for customized content to scale. At present, many media plans don’t distinguish between mobile and desktop browser allocation and some publishers fail to provide the right ‘look and feel’ across all screen sizes in that execution. Apps bring on their own degree of opportunities and challenges, furthering technical questions across newer mobile platforms. The upside: industry bodies such as the MRC and IAB are squarely focused on establishing guidelines for newer platforms. Last week, as an example, the MRC announced its draft version for mobile viewable impression guidelines as it tries to move to more standardization.

As 2016 marches forward, we continue our work with clients on creative best practices as well as end-to-end cross-media measurement and analysis. Such work will further quantify why it (really) pays to take care of digital video creative!