Unruly / viral review / Unruly’s Video Advertising Trends For 2017

Unruly’s Video Advertising Trends For 2017

2016 was an undeniably historic year, and Adland didn’t go unaffected. Brands listened and reacted alongside their audiences to global events from Brexit, to the Olympics, the US election and more.

There were agile campaigns, 360 campaigns and, recently, some of the most shared Christmas ads of all time.

But what does 2017 hold?

Well luckily, Unruly is here to run down our annual predictions for the year ahead.

So without further ado, let’s break out the crystal ball and see what the future holds for video advertising (see the full list here).


1. Vertical is changing the video landscape. Vertical creatives will be the rule rather than the exception by the time 2018 rolls round.

With a recent Unruly study finding that mobile vertical video views drive 6x the interaction rate of horizontal mobile video, expect to see more brands and publishers shifting to a vertical-focussed experience on mobile in 2017.

In 2017, vertical video assets will no longer be an afterthought or optional add-on. With so many more mobile-first video makers and digital production teams offering vertical video as part of the digital content stack, slicing up horizontal content will not cut it for savvy marketers in 2017.


2. Augmented reality has the scale but VR will have a deeper impact on marketers in 2017.

With a smartphone user base of nearly 2.1 billion people globally (eMarketer), the opportunity is huge to augment videos and create entertaining AR experiences – Pokemon Go proved that when it became this summer’s global gaming hit. Couple that with the creative scope of creating personalized brand experiences and AR should be a home run. But it’s nowhere near as immersive as VR, and it’s this quality and intensity of consumer attention that brands are craving in an era of media saturation and consumer cognitive overload.

Active VR users are tipped to grow 147% by 2021 (Orbis Research), brands like Coke, McDonald’s and Volvo have already made their mark on the VR landscape, and 31% of Media and Entertainment  Managers in North America say they’re prioritizing expanding their VR use in 2017.


3. Video “in the round” will boom as brands use 360 ads to bridge 2D and VR video campaigns.

When the Tate gallery shot a 360 video to promote its Georgia O’Keefe exhibition, it quickly became their most popular video ever. And when Displaced won a Cannes Lion for their VR film, the whole industry sat up and took note. Not surprising then that in a recent survey, 43% of media buyers predicted that 360 will be their highest area of video growth next year (source: ExchangeWire). 360 video can be consumed in several ways.

In 2017, we predict that more brands will treat 360 as a key transitional format, one that can deliver scaled audiences in its own right as well as driving brands and viewers to experiment with more immersive VR experiences.


4. The revolution will be live. Publishers and marketers will figure out live-casting ads.

Facebook reports that people spend 3x longer watching live video compared to playing back a pre-recorded clip. As live broadcast truly makes its way into the hands of the masses and people become used to consuming live broadcast content across a multitude of platforms, advertisers will be looking for access to live audiences and platforms will be keen to monetize live streaming.

So we predict that ad formats which allow brands to reach consumers within live video environments will start appearing in 2017; the more contested question is what form they will take, with some reports suggesting we may see a return of the ad break, in the form of mid-roll ad slots.


5. Outstream video ad spend will exceed Pre-roll.

No one likes to be forced to watch an ad. Studies show that forced pre-roll in particular puts consumers off brands and sites that use the format. Advertisers have been taking note and the growth in viewer-controlled outstream formats has coincided with the steady decline of pre roll – the market share of which dropped from 75% in March 2015 to 60% in April 2016 (source: eMarketer).

In fact, outstream video spend grew 440% YOY in H1 2016, accounting for 40% of all digital video spend, up from 11% in 2015 (PwC/IAB Report 2015 & 2016). This dramatic leap means 2017 will likely be the year that outstream reaches a tipping point and overtakes pre-roll formats.