The moving newspapers and paintings from the world of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling’s universe was one that was at once anachronistic and futuristic, but the simple notion that traditionally static content mediums (newspapers, paintings) could come alive and move is something that is fast becoming a reality. The office Slack channel has eschewed memes in favour of GIFs, the Instagram photo of you clinking glasses with friends is now an eternally looping ‘Boomerang’. Across platforms and devices, media is becoming less static and more dynamic. Digital advertising is no exception.
The explosive growth of video is one clear sign of this. Among millennials and gen Z audiences, viewership of digital video— be it long-form on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, or short-form on social channels—continues to win in popularity over live TV. By 2019, video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic. The digital video ad revenue in the UK is expected to grow by 21.7% in 2018 compared to the previous year. According to Zenith’s Online Video Forecasts, average daily digital video consumption will hit 101 minutes by 2020 in the UK alone.
In Q2, video was a significant growth driver for revenue at Rubicon Project as well, growing well over 50% on a year-over-year basis, outpacing industry growth rates and growth share. On the buy side, DSPs and marketers are heavily focused on scaling video audiences— which accounts for the 105 billion new video ad requests on Rubicon Project’s platform last year. Mobile is explicitly driving this growth. More than half of all video viewing now occurs on mobile devices, and that number is steadily rising.
The ubiquity of smartphones contributes to this increase. According to Statista, by 2022, the number of monthly active smartphone users in the UK is projected to reach 53.96 million individuals. Perhaps this is why smartphone video was the fastest growing advertising format, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC.
The hunger for dynamic, moving content has also swept across social media platforms. More than 25% of UK smartphone users are on Snapchat, and according to Bloomberg, its worldwide users watch 10 billion videos per day. Over half a billion people watch video on Facebook daily. When Instagram introduced videos, users uploaded 5 million videos in the first 24 hours. Instagram’s IGTV, which launched this summer, further serves the audience’s voracious appetite for video content.
Obvious channels for “moving digital” such as tablets, screens and social media are not the only places where one may see content on-the-move. From newspapers, to billboards, to sports stadiums, digital advertising is embracing motion as a means to capture audience’s attention as never before - during the World Cup, one may recall the perimeter was lit up with moving silhouettes of football players by way of OOH advertising.
Meanwhile, companies like Clear Channel Outdoor have partnered with Rubicon Project in the US to automate signage in public spaces with Digital Out of Home (DOOH) thanks to the introduction of real-time screens and live-data feeds in city centers, bus stops, and places of mass transit. This year in the UK, DOOH Advertising will overtake traditional OOH for the first time, according to PwC. Another example of where programmatic is headed; we are moving away from flat messaging towards automated, dynamic experiences.
Digital campaigns are also becoming more interactive and responsive. The Financial Times recently ran an ad targeting transatlantic travellers in London. They used digital billboards at Heathrow Terminal 5 to target only passengers travelling to six pre-selected US cities. To do so, they harnessed Heathrow's flight data and programmatic OOH video to run an adaptive, audio-visual campaign on what was formerly a static billboard.
Overall, the UK remains the fastest-growing mature advertising market in the world, with growth matching the Asia-Pacific average rate. One can anticipate that future growth will occur in sectors that serve the consumer’s increasing expectation of rich, immersive audio-visual experiences.
While it is still early days, the explosion of video is only a harbinger of things to come. The expanding capabilities of screens and devices are resetting expectations for users, pushing developers to keep pace with the demand for heightened, dynamic experiences across platforms. Automation will underpin the further evolution of these formats and channels, as nuanced data and advanced processes are leveraged to turn what was once static into that which is alive and moving.