Follow These 16 Video Best Practices in Google Display & Video 360


September 1, 2020

Video content is a huge component of the digital user experience and marketers who leverage it correctly are able to efficiently reach their audiences for maximum impact. In a recent survey, 92% of marketers who use video said that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy, with 88% reporting that it gives them a positive ROI. 

If you’re using video advertising in your strategy, keep in mind that each video placement has its own look and feel, and consumers respond best when a brand’s video ad aligns with the right context. Here, we’ll dive into the available video formats and how to master them to achieve your business goals. Take a look.

Available Video Formats

Instream: A video ad that plays before (Pre-Roll), during (Mid-Roll) or after (Post-Roll) video content.

This format gets its name because the ad is served somewhere within a stream of video content, like when you watch a video news story and an ad appears before the story begins. The majority of video web inventory is 15 seconds or 30 seconds instream pre-roll. 

Outstream: A video ad that plays out of a stream of video content.

Most often, outstream videos autoplay and are found between paragraphs of text content. Outstream can be any length, but it’s best to keep the video under 30 seconds.

Vertical Video: A video ad that is filmed and played in a vertical or portrait orientation instead of the traditional landscape.

The vertical video appears most often in-app between game levels where interstitials are frequently used. Vertical videos are consumer-friendly since they do not require turning your phone to appropriately view the ad, and they’re brand-friendly since they leverage 100% of the phone’s screen. This format is not widely used in the marketplace.

Longform: A video ad is typically considered longform if it’s over 60 seconds. However, there is no industry standard length.

Longform video is best used by a brand that needs to convey its message in more than the standard 30 or 60 seconds.

YouTube: A video ad that plays a brand’s YouTube video across YouTube and Google video partner sites and apps.*

Viewers opt in to videos that interest them and advertisers receive views from audiences they know are curious. YouTube formats include skippable in-stream, six-second bumpers, discovery and non-skippable.

*Google Ad Manager publisher inventory with a YouTube inventory player embedded.

Native: A video ad that plays natively in content specifically designed for a web page or app to limit disrupting a user’s experience.

Native placements include branded video, sponsored articles and content feeds. Native video is not supported on all exchanges but is easy to activate since buyers can serve videos in native display inventory and pay display rates.

Best Practices For Setup and Use

Now that I’ve shared the different formats, let’s dive into video best practices:

Video Specifications

When creating and uploading videos, consider the following specifications, and make sure your brand’s logo or app icon is present in the video.:

  • File format: .mov or .mp4
  • Dimensions:
    • Landscape/horizontal: 1280 × 720, 1920 × 1080, or 1440 × 1080
    •  Portrait/vertical: 720 × 1280, 1080 × 1920, or 1080 × 1440
  • Codec: H.264
  • Frame Rate: 23.98 or 29.97
  • Bitrate: At least 20 Mbps
  • No black bars or letterboxing

Opt for Shorter Video Durations

15-second videos have higher completion rates than 30- and 60-second videos given audiences’ shorter attention spans. If you need to prioritize one video length, opt for 15 seconds. YouTube’s six-second bumper videos are great for short messages but shouldn’t be used as your primary brand awareness format as there isn’t enough time to state your full message. Use six-second videos when running vertical video instead.

Don’t Stress About Exact Video Lengths

Videos don’t need to be the maximum length allowed by the inventory to serve correctly. For example, if you have a 22-second video creative, your creative would meet the requirement for a 30-second ad call. Most publishers also allow videos to be within a 10% threshold of their limits, so a 30-second video ad slot would allow for video ads up to 33 seconds. Don’t stress about creating a video that fits into exactly a 15-second or 30-second ad slot if you are unable to make it work.

Drive Action with an Obvious CTA

Video is often used for brand awareness due to its costly serving fees, high floor rates, and informative nature. Encourage users to take your desired action by using a compelling and hard-to-miss call to action (CTA).

Educate Yourself on YouTube Setup Nuances

Ensure Line Items include necessary settings, like the geo-targeting and frequency caps, as default targeting set within the Insertion Order will not be applied to YouTube Line Items. Frequency capping is not available for YouTube line items at the ad or ad group level but is available at the Line Item. Choose your pacing settings carefully at the Insertion Order. YouTube Line Items must be in an Insertion Order set to Flight ASAP and the Line Item’s pacing cannot be changed from Daily to Flight once saved.

Apply Deal IDs for Unique Formats

Not all unique inventory is made available in the open marketplace like it is in a deal ID. To ensure you’re bidding on your desired premium inventory formats, like Connected TV, native, vertical video and outstream, apply format-specific deal IDs to your line item.

Prioritize VAST over VPAID

VAST players have the most scale in the open marketplace and among publishers. This is especially true for vertical videos as they are lighter and will be supported by the IAB Mobile Verification Open-Source SDK. When deciding which video type to run for your video campaign, prioritize VAST.

Diversify Your Video Environments

Be present across multiple experiences and environments (OTT/CTV, YouTube, Pre-Roll, Native, Auction Packages, Deals). Diversifying your video formats​ ​helps with increased scale, audience reach and creative messaging to capture your audience’s attention. Certain formats even naturally achieve your video KPI goals so not including them is a strategic disadvantage. For example, Connected TV has a natural 90%+ viewability and video ad completion rate (VCR) so running a pre-roll only would cause you to miss out on that valuable inventory.

Test Multiple Video Variations

Add more than one video concept or length per line item to open up optimizations and retention possibilities. Siloing your creative to just one video message or length restricts where you can bid for your audiences and complicates determining what communication strategies resonate with your target audience.

Capture Audiences Immediately

Capture your audience’s attention right away by leveraging autoplay videos with sound on or incorporating engaging content within the first three to four seconds. An audience may not be inclined to select play, but they’ll be hooked once they hear the introduction to your video ad. If not, at least ensure your videos make sense without sound to accommodate all audiences and viewing preferences.

Align Content Targeting to Video Messaging

Advertising can be interruptive to your audience and video advertising can be a stronger commitment than a display ad. Align your targeted content in the DV360 Line Item to your video message for higher VCR as the audience is already actively reading or watching similar messages.

Choose Relevant KPIs

Video ads are created to tell a story, give information or engage with audiences on a deeper level than a display ad. Leverage the time you have with an audience and reach for KPIs like Completion Rate or Cost per Completed View. Click- or conversion-based KPIs can divert audiences to cut the video short and go straight to action. This isn’t terrible but makes the time and effort put into a full video not as valuable.

Optimize Strategically

Choosing what optimizations to make for a video campaign can seem more complicated than display. Keep it simple yet strategic and optimize to video-specific opportunities like video player size, percent audible, in-view and audible auto strategy.

Know the Industry Leaders

Make sure you know who all the major video industry players are:

  • SpotXchange hosts the majority of CTV inventory.
  • Magnite  (fka Tremor and Telaria), SpotXchange, Connatix, Teads, and FreeWheel specialize in video inventory so focus there first when running video.
  • DV360 native video integrations include ShareThrough, TripleLift, Nativo, Taboola, LiveIntent, Match Media Group, YouTube and more.
  • DV360 outstream video integrations include Teads, Taboola, Kargo and more.

Bid Competitively

Rates for video placements are significantly higher than the rates for standard display impressions. Don’t trust video inventory under $5. Instead, focus CPMs in the $7 – $12 range for the open marketplace and $17 – $30 range for Connected TV.

Understand DV360 with Campaign Manager Nuances

Campaign Manager will round the duration up to the nearest second in the UI and your VAST tags, so if you upload a video asset of 15.7 seconds Campaign Manager will round that up to 16 seconds. When creatives are synced from Campaign Manager to DV360, DV360 uses the actual file duration and does not use the rounded-up number in the Campaign Manager UI or your VAST tags. For example, if you upload a video asset of 15.7 seconds to Campaign Manager and then import it into DV360, the duration in DV360 will be 15.7 seconds.

If you have any questions about these or other best practices for video advertising in Display & Video 360, please contact us.

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