Dubai: Digital ad campaigns are hitting their stride…and not just in the way they outpace the rest of the industry in growth rates.
But rather than just static visuals, such campaigns are now turning to full-fledged videos to do the brand talking. In doing so, they may just be prepping for the time when mobile devices overtake TV in the way consumers take in their fill of entertainment and news.
Latest numbers already point that way — users in the Middle East and North Africa territory play as many as 100 million videos on YouTube daily, while Saudi Arabia ranks tops for the number of YouTube mobile playbacks in the world.
“It’s safe to bet on the fact that digital content consumption online will surpass TV in the near future and hence development of customised digital content for brands in the Middle East is surely they way to go,” said Hazem Al Zayat, business director at BPG Possible.
“With the rise of digital media, every brand has become a publisher and hence a content developer/creator. Creation of innovative content has become necessary to keep them competitive.”
With the digital headwinds eminently favourable, local agencies are topping up their offerings. A digital services agency, ikoo, has just launched video advertising solutions — still a relatively niche medium in the region — under the banner of ikoo Video. (ikoo is part of Jabbar Internet Group which also owns Cobone.com and Sukar.com.)
“Usually advertisers use the same [video] creative across the various platforms to maximise the return on investments for the campaign,” said Wisam Edgheim, director — video and premium reach at ikoo. “Research has indicated that combining TV commercials with digital video enables advertisers to reach an additional audience. Therefore, in most cases advertisers use the same video across the two media.
“All TV commercials can be re-formatted to be executed on a digital video platform; nowadays, it is much easier to adapt creative across different platforms.”
But Edgheim is aiming for much more and believes it will not be far-fetched to assume exclusive video content will be created for digital. Currently, the average viewership on ikoo Video is 20 seconds per video with over 50 per cent of viewers watching the entire video.
“Advertisers should select the right creative execution to allow consumers to obtain more information about the product or service being advertised, which creates brand engagement,” said Edgheim. “A primary difference between TV commercials and digital video is the engagement element of which leads to a higher brand and message recall, as well as a higher click-through rate allowing the user to take a proactive part in the call to action, immediately and on the spot.”
None of which means TV commercials are going to get less relevant, certainly not in this region which still retains high viewership numbers and especially in key markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But content viewing on mobile platforms is encroaching and taking little bites off the time spent in front of a TV.
“Last week, eMarketer released a study on the consumption of digital content in the US; whereas in 2010 Americans spent just 24 minutes a day consuming ‘non-voice’ media on their phones, in 2013, the rate increased to 2 hours and 22 minutes of mobile consumption,” said Al Zayat. “In short, the average American consumes more content online that they do watching television.
“The first point of contact between users and a brand online is increasingly becoming search engines. Brands have realized that their visibility is entirely dependable on the content they push monthly, weekly and even daily.”
If that takes on a video format, all the better.