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Digital Video is Eating the World

Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world. All industries were being disrupted at their very core by developments in software. Ad-tech in particular has come a long way in these last few years. Native, social, programmatic and their ilk have all become buzzwords in their own right and we are now in the next phase of disruption – digital video disruption.

Digital video advertising is now disrupting the digital advertising space. The proliferation of 4G smartphones has made streaming video quicker and cheaper for consumers, and big media players have realised this, with spectacular innovations as a result.

YouTube is leading the charge of driving the digital video explosion. Not only has it disrupted the cosy TV section of the media plan, it has released its latest attempt to beat Amazon. Google are combining Trueview video with Google Shopping, to create the 21st century’s version of the Argos catalogue. Imagine searching for a recipe video, being served an ad featuring Dolmio and having the opportunity to buy the product there and then. This could potentially be huge and is a major disruptive innovation. This roll-out is happening now in the US and we can expect to see it soon in the UK.

Instagram disrupted its core product by launching video in summer 2013 and Hyperlapse in 2014. It is now disrupting its advertising by launching not just video ads, but the way content is viewed on Instagram, with its first video carousel placement. Swiping left, a gesture that up to now didn’t exist on the platform, will enable a user to consume more of your content. With users’ insatiable demand for content on Instagram seemingly never met, this innovation in video should get us all excited. In addition, Instagram have now developed and released their own open API (application programming interface) which now makes it easier for businesses large and small to buy ads on Instagram.

We wrote previously about Pinterest and what it can bring to an advertising campaign. We spoke about their scale, their targeting and launching their first product – promoted pins – in our November edition. Pinterest has matured greatly in the last 6 months. They are still only launching their ad products in the US so far, however we understand that they are looking to launch in the UK later this year. One product which is gaining traction is Cinematic Pins, their video offering. It is different to Facebook and other video players as the video moves in relation to how quickly a user scrolls through. We consider this disruptive innovation, as it is certainly not what the original Pinterest experience used to be and is very much capitalising on the massive consumption of video. Our expectation is that this will grow exponentially and we are particularly impressed by its differentiation from Facebook’s video style.

We should all be keeping an eye on these three companies and all of their product launches. However, it is the deeper theme of disruptive innovation in the digital space that should have you excited. Video offers what so much other advertising doesn’t, quantifiable engagement at scale. Watch this space, and watch out for these products!

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