2014 is set to be the year of 4G. Widespread roll-out of the hi-speed mobile internet service by multiple operators will bring ultrafast data downloads to the masses. Speeds of up to 300Mbps are already being trialled in some parts of London, allowing for the download of a Blu-ray video in seconds. 4G will revolutionise consumer access to, and consumption of, online video, heralding in the age of instant and consigning the much-maligned buffering circles to a thing of the past. Online video will become an even more important medium for both advertisers and publishers alike, leading to a renewed focus on quality content, rather than quantity.
Publishers will be the main drivers of change in digital advertising in 2014. We’ve seen them gradually realize the potential of mobile, and 2014 looks to be the year when they start properly investing in their mobile strategies to emulate industry leaders like The Guardian. Those at the forefront of innovation will develop a robust mobile first strategy on top of their digital first strategy, ensuring that their readers’ experience is as good on mobile devices as it is on the desktop. Advertisers themselves are allocating ever greater portions of their budgets to digital formats, and we can expect to see the mobile portion continue to rise next year. As such, the experience has to be great, with the ad experience integrated seamlessly into the content experience.
2014 will be the year when online merchants finally recognise the value of video as one of the fundamental sales channels. Until now, video has been seen as a nice-to-have tool for filling empty YouTube channels and massaging corporate egos. With the widespread arrival of high-speed mobile internet in the UK in 2014, consumers will have greater access to online video than ever before, making this medium a need-to-have for anyone in ecommerce. Video is now the key part of any brand’s consumer research. If advertisers/ecommerce companies can connect interested video viewers with their ecommerce platforms when they have that purchase intent, they can give consumers a direct way to take the natural next step in their consumer journey. Contextual, content-driven advertising facilitated by tools like Coull’s platform is the way forward.
On the surface, online video advertising has never been more successful. Pre-roll video inventory is regularly sold out and brands are supposedly reaching an ever-growing audience. The problem is that this delicate dynamic is unsustainable. Online video advertising is built on unsustainable, out-of-date models, adding up to a future that is both uncertain and untenable. The fact is, video ad models in their current format are no longer relevant. In fact, the future of video advertising is contextual, not personal. In 2014, publishers will start to mine their vast repositories of inert content and turn it into a dynamic source of ongoing revenue. Existing video content becomes new inventory, creating an entirely new revenue stream at no extra cost to the publisher. Meanwhile, advertisers benefit from a completely new approach to the way in which their message is delivered. Sophisticated targeting and segmentation allows brands to direct consumers to useful products and services that are contextually related to what they are viewing, as well as realize the purchase intent that exists there, rather than things they have viewed in the past.
Agree? Disagree? What are your predictions for 2014? We'd love to know.