Video Advertising Trends To Look Out For In 2016

Making predictions is a tricky business, especially with a global audience in mind. William Gibson put it well when he said, “the future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet.” But here goes anyway!

In 2015, marketers’ thoughts turned to ad blocking while consumers cooed over warm and fuzzy ads. But what can we expect from video advertising in 2016?

Here are a few predictions to kick off the new year. To see more of Unruly’s predictions here.

 1. It’s Gloves Off for a Quadrennial Year!

With the Summer Olympics, the Australian and American elections and the UEFA European Football Championships, 2016 promises to be a competitive year. And with these events expected to fuel a 5.6% increase in global ad spend, rivalries won’t just surface on track and field.

This summer’s Rio Games has the potential to be the biggest digital Olympics yet, delivering ads designed to inspire and amaze…and win our hearts and minds. The Euros will also deliver action-packed spots from some big names, including a renewal of hostilities between age-old foes Nike and adidas, while we can expect a super-charged election cycle Down Under and in the US, with predicted ad spend of $1bn (source: Borrell Associates) powering campaigns for a controversial cast of candidates.

2. Adland follows Hollywood Into Battle

Where cinema leads, advertising follows. From Suicide Squad and Civil War to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, consumers are faced with war flicks, special ops storylines, and apocalyptic blockbusters at the box office in 2016. Brands are likely to leap on the trend – with POW, WOW KABOOM! – high-octane emotions coming to the fore.

This is very different to 2015, where, according to Unruly ShareRank findings, happiness, warmth and hilarity got us sharing. To defuse the tension, we expect to see a strong seam of satire and black humor running through Adland in 2016.

3. Vertical Video Booms For Brands

Thanks to native mobile video platforms such as Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat, vertical video has already seen rapid adoption among consumers. Vertical video ads have up to nine times more completed views than horizontal video ads and 29% of video ads are now viewed vertically (source: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 presentation).

In addition, 8% of marketing budgets are spent on mobile, while 44% of video views occur on mobile devices (source: Ooyala Q2 Global Video Index, 2015). In 2016, more marketers will realize that vertical, mobile-friendly vertical videos can help them to connect more authentically, intimately and effectively with mobile audiences. As mobile video consumption continues to balloon, companies such as Vertical Networks are addressing short form video for mobile.

4. VR Becomes Reality For Brands Looking To Break New Ground with Immersive Experiences

In 2016, we’ll see more brands explore VR as a storytelling platform for creating new and immersive viewer experiences. And for good reason!

Consumer spending on VR hardware and software could reach $21.8 billion by 2020 (source: Tractica, “Virtual Reality for Consumer Markets”, July 2015). Wearing a virtual reality headset, viewers can stream immersive videos and take control of a 360 degree video environment. Brands such as Volvo, The North Face, Lowe’s, Marriott Hotels and Patron are already giving consumers the opportunity to explore inside video content through VR platforms and in 2016 many more will follow! In an age of attention scarcity, brands will prize immersion more than ever and we’ll see 360 videos and mobile apps such as Google’s Spotlight Movies taking hold, affording opportunities for more immersive, user-controlled storytelling practices.

5. Dazed and Confused? Simple Ads Offer Respite To Consumers Suffering From Future Shock

As consumers are inundated every day with new content, new media platforms, new technologies, new apps, new wearables and new smart devices, the rapid pace of innovation can feel overwhelming – a condition diagnosed and defined as “Future Shock” as early as 1970 (source: Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970).

With more people looking to escape the demands of “always on” and seeking a return to simple pleasures, we’ll see brands respond by creating simple stories and homespun tales of friendship and ads that focus on craftsmanship.

The threat of terrorism will contribute to the need for escapism. When Brussels was placed on Twitter lockdown in November 2015, how did Belgians respond to the terrorist threat? By posting adorable pictures of Internet-favorite kittens, substituting a narrative of fear for a stream of lolz – a simple response to the uncertainties and complexities of life in 2016.

In conclusion

One thing I can confidently predict – it’s going to be an action-packed year for video advertising, and you can check out lots more predictions for what’s to come here. Big thanks to all the braniacs at unruly2018.staging.wpengine.com who helped to crowdsource and curate this sneak peek at 2016.

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