5 Video Advertising Priorities for Brand Marketers

By Mark McKee


This year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was a prime moment for brands, agencies, creatives, and technology companies, following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Key themes included sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, data and technology, brand creativity and effectiveness, talent, and business transformation — backed by numerous resources, insights, and events.

Household names and budding brands were presented with opportunities to walk away with best practices. Such key learnings could ultimately allow a business to better reach and connect with consumers and build and sustain their businesses.

More specifically, the video landscape was a hot topic. When developing and launching campaigns, it is no surprise that video is at the forefront. In an ever-changing environment, attendees needed to consider a multitude of ways they are advertising their products or services at their given organizations.

Across the Festival's interactive and captivating sessions, business decision makers, leaders and marketers ended the week with these takeaways.

Harness the Power of the Consumers and Audience

Consumers are the north star in brand building, awareness, and success. The consumer always comes first, whether by inspiring new products and services or finding the best ways to reach and lead consumers to a brand.

When it comes to video, brands must always examine the ways their audience is consuming content: linear TV, streaming, ad-supported TV, subscription video on-demand, or ad-supported video on-demand. The truth is consumers don't care.

"As a marketer, I think of myself as a consumer first," said Raja Rajamannar, CMO and communications officer and president of healthcare business at Mastercard, said at Cannes. "As a consumer I want a delightful experience. I don't want to be bombarded by ad after ad... in a thoughtless manner." At the Festival, Raja led the premiere of Mastercard's new Sonic album in a multisensory experience.

This means unifying advertising across screens and platforms. It also means putting the viewer experience first, prioritizing relevancy, frequency, and quantity in ads.

Aggregation Will Drive Precision

A plethora of viewing options and platforms comes with a wave of never-ending content for various audiences on video. Linda Yaccarino, chairman of global advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, explained that of consumers, "whether it's broadcast, cable, streaming — on any screen, in your hand on your lap, screen on the wall—they just want it when they want it." As such, brands cannot be siloed in what they deliver when looking at the ads and content they want their consumers to see.

"[Consumers] just want accessible great content and they want it easily accessible and when they are in an advertising environment, they want an environment that is serving them the best possible ads that are specific to them," she continued. With that said – everything in premium video is relevant but needs to be aggregated. Working this aggregation into a brand's media plan identifies the right places to invest in without clunkiness.

Establish the Right KPIs and Metrics

Sylvia Tassan Toffola, general manager at TF1 Publicite spoke on behalf of the company, describing their biggest challenge – cross-media measurement and unified KPIs.

Growing companies and well-established brands alike are no stranger to the multiple ways of measuring success, which includes the success metrics around ads and campaigns on video that lead into the larger business picture. In such instances, the way you measure success or failure must come together in a single, unified source. For TF1 Publicite, that means creating new currencies. "Concerning TF1 we have a very clear vision. We need to find a new currency for the total video market. The new currency for TF1 will be CPM," Sylvia said.

Video viewing habits across platforms have presented challenges to many brands trying to capture viewership. Unified measurement will allow you to understand what works, what doesn't, how to improve, and how to control your campaign's reach and frequency across platforms.

It's Time to Simplify Things

Not only is it important for brands to find a unified solution to capture measurements, but to find a way to make it digestible and simplified. Whether you have a team internally dedicated to harnessing these metrics and results, or if your brand leverages the solutions a third-party vendor or partner provide, results need to be comprehensive but easy to reference in one central location. This central location should show the bottom-line value of a multi-platform campaign.

Another key to simplicity is the kind of technological interoperability that enables the seamless execution of campaigns across platforms. "In order to manage holistic frequency, you're going to need some degree of interoperability around the identity space," said Tim Sims, chief revenue officer at The Trade Desk, who was also in attendance. He added, "The only way [this] works is if we have interoperability across the board from the advertisers onboarding that data, to the DSPs, SSPs, and to the measurement companies."

To simplify, we also need to remember that good is good enough to drive progress – perfection (complexity) prevents progress.

Connectivity Is Key

Cannes puts creativity in the spotlight, but this year, the festival meant more. Cannes was all about connectivity, and the connectivity between all of us. We learned that not only does the video landscape have a wide array of considerations to connect, but that we should also be threading the needle between media plans and a business' bottom line.

Above all, this year's Festival brought leaders together to advance the advertising industry and the roles brands and providers play in this advancement. There was widespread acknowledgement that the ecosystem is too complex to go it alone as various players try to bring ease of execution and scale in a landscape where video is at the helms.

In the end, attendees left cognizant of the challenges ahead. Together, we can evolve the industry, and brands will need to recognize that if we can get it right, a bright future of innovation lies ahead.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Mark McKee is general manager of FreeWheel, a technology platform connecting buyers and sellers.