Why does no one understand online video?

April 4, 2023

No matter where you are, on your mobile phone, on TV, on social media, advertising spots are played on all channels. Cross-media video planning finally works! Does it?

Authors: Daniela Pastere, Head of Social Media Advertising, and Jennifer Berendsen, Head of Display Advertising at SYZYGY Performance.

What do TV commercials have in common with video ads on digital platforms, anyway?

Length – perhaps.

Format – not necessarily.

Target audience – maybe?

Obviously, there are enough differences between TV and online, but still, some marketers decide to reuse their TV commercials one-to-one. And in the best case, they wonder why the performance resembles a stock market crash.

Please, finally use all the possibilities of the digital space! Once understood and applied correctly, online offers many advantages that no brand wants to do without:

Therefore, the same advertising messages cannot be placed everywhere. Content on Pinterest or Instagram is meant to inspire, while platforms like TikTok are primarily meant to entertain.

Daniela Pastere
Head of Social Media Advertising, SYZYGY Performance

It all starts with the concept. Who is my target audience and how can I imagine them? How do they behave? Do they sit comfortably in front of the TV for hours or are they addicted to streaming services?

Or do they use every free minute to scroll through social media? And if so, which of the many different platforms do they use? Because each platform has its own rules. Meta is not YouTube is not Snapchat.

The amount of time spent on each platform can vary significantly, from super short to super long. Videos must adapt accordingly. With an attention span of 30 seconds, an elaborate ad that takes time to get going has no chance.

For example, Snapchat users spend a total of 30 minutes on the app each day, opening it about 30 times per day, or about one minute per session.

Meta has a similar average time of 2-4 minutes.

YouTube, on the other hand, has the longest usage time, with the average video length being about 11 minutes. In this case, the viewer is also willing to watch a longer ad compared to platforms like Snapchat or Meta. Sounds logical, right? Another interesting point: Is the viewer watching a video or reading text? In that case, an advertisement could be placed within the reading flow.

But it goes one step further. Depending on where the user is in the customer journey, the content of the video should differ.

Do they already have a basic knowledge of the brand and are they about to make a purchase? Depending on the situation, a tutorial or perhaps offers and discounts may make more sense.

Furthermore, we must understand why certain platforms are being used.

Surprise – each platform offers something different. Therefore, the same advertising messages cannot be placed everywhere.

Content on Pinterest or Instagram is meant to inspire, while platforms like TikTok are primarily meant to entertain. The best advertising is well disguised and adapted to the features of the platform so that the target audience does not perceive it as intrusive. Ideally, the target audience is even featured directly in the video. This way, they can better identify with the brand and feel more addressed.

The duration of use can vary significantly – from super short to super long. Videos should also adapt to this accordingly.

Jenne Berendsen
Head of Display Advertising, SYZYGY Performance

Doesn’t all of this sound like a lot of work?

But would it be enough to just focus on one channel? Unfortunately not.

Multi-channel campaigns achieve better performance. Just observe yourself: how many different media do you use per day?

One channel for information, one for inspiration, one for entertainment. Those are multiple touchpoints just for one person. And then the target audience doesn’t just stay in one place. Younger people can be found on streaming services, while older ones are on linear TV.

12% of TikTok users are not active on YouTube, and for gamers, Twitch is the right address.

What can be concluded is that online offers so many more targeting options than TV ever could.

The effort is worth it, and with the help of AI tools, it is possible to reduce the effort. These tools can create entire videos, edit existing videos, or create subtitles for videos.

The big players in the market have already understood this. The potential of the platforms can only be fully exploited through different formats, never with the same video.

Let’s talk
SYZYGY Performance Dr. André Vieregge
Managing Director
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