Vertical Video

Traditionally, video advertising has been shot horizontally to align with movie and TV production formats. The growth of mobile has risen substantially, now accounting for a much greater proportion of digital video consumption than desktop viewing.

With users holding their phones upright over 95% of the time, the shift to vertical video continues into 2019. In 2018, Instagram released a new video viewing platform to compete against the vertical format Snapchat and the video behemoth YouTube, by introducing IGTV; with all videos being displayed vertically. As a result, YouTube then expanded its product offering to allow (and recommend) vertical advertising to be placed, highlighting the importance of vertical video in the growing digital video space.

Mobile – a Power Tool

Consumers are spending an average of 3 hours and 35 minutes on their smartphones every day, surpassing the time spent viewing television. This changes the way marketers should work to capture consumer attention.

Google has come up with a new term ‘Micro Moments’ to define the new consumer search behaviour, wherein marketing message must deliver concise clear messages that interests consumers within a couple of seconds, enabling them to make instant decisions (see infographic by Google).

Emerging mobile trends:

  • Over 80% growth in “best” mobile searches in last two years
  • 3x increase in mobile searches for “___near me now”
  • People expect brands to understand their intent. Mobile searches for “___for me” have grown over 60% in the past two years. People expect platforms to understand and remember their behaviour and customise content suggestions and search results
  • 20% of mobile queries on Google are already voice searches
  • 50% of all searches are predicted to be voice searches by 2020
  • 75% people say that mobile phones help them be more productive, and 54% say that it reduces stress and anxiety
  • Shoppers use their phones to look for better prices while they are in the store
  • 60% people feel that mobile phones make them feel more confident.

Source: Think With Google

Television’s Return to Local Content

To differentiate from growing Subscription (S)VOD and Free (F)VOD offerings that are available to consumers, both TVNZ and Mediaworks have shifted their focus into local programming.

In 2018, TVNZ invested an additional 15% YOY into their local offering and broadcast over three thousand local hours, up 24% YOY. Mediaworks continue this trend with 48% of local content accounting for Three’s peak schedule in Q4 2018 and are looking to further increase this in 2019. Brands therefore, are able to align with a range of New Zealand content with their advertising, and consider content integration opportunities with programming that can showcase their brand in a local environment.

The Importance of Voice

According to a recent Adobe Analytics survey of over 1,000 participants, more than a third of those surveyed had heard an ad on the smart speaker before, and of that group, a third of those consumers felt the ads via the smart speaker were less intrusive and were more engaging than ads on television, print, online and social media. This could be down to the intimacy of the audio experience, as listening to audio content is very personal – whether it be music, news or podcasts. To complement this personal experience, advertising creative can be customised to the consumer, based on genre, listener profiles etc., which in turn makes people more receptive to ads, therefore delivering more effective advertising.

Podcasts are tipped to be the next evolution of influencer marketing, with over 60% of listeners likely to buy a recommended product (IAB). Podcasters provide a very direct and personal relationship with their listeners, and the brands they align with need to be a perfect fit. Where we can see a lot of wear-out and meaningless #ads in Instagram, podcasts provide a niche audience that are truly interested in what their ‘caster is recommending.

The New ‘Sport’

(Sport purists may want to stop reading now!) E-sport will blow up and provide new advertising opportunities for a hard to reach audience.  Globally, the market is worth a projected $1.5 billion in 2019, with Ad Week reporting big-name athletes such as Michael Jordan and Shaq having huge investments in teams.

From a New Zealand context, the sport is growing quickly, with The Breakers Basketball Academy having launched NZ’s first e-sports training facility. Sky and TVNZ now both host e-sport content, and with up to $90 million in prize money won in NZ annually, this sure is one to watch.

New Identities – When Brands Challenge the Status Quo

Now more than ever, brands internationally are taking risks by updating their identities to include values that champion the visibility of underrepresented and misrepresented voices that have historically been silenced by the status quo. Some of these campaigns take risks by upsetting loyal fans or industry relationships, but they also open a door for new and more inclusive audiences to find a way to express themselves:

  • In the U.S, Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick is unsettling the foundations of the NFL, an organization the brand has historically fostered a strong relationship with
  • The recent launch of Hallenstein Brothers’ “The Power of the Suit” campaign challenges traditional perceptions of gendered fashion norms by placing a woman at the centre of its advertising campaign for the first time
  • Gillette’s ‘We Believe’ ad started a conversation that questions while also facing backlash from its male demographic for being too politically correct.

Overall, the best brands know who they are and how their identity strikes an emotional chord with their audience. Taking risks is an essential part of evolving brand identity alongside their diversifying audiences. However, it is important to remember that brands should view social movements as a catalyst to reflect on their core values and to create authentic narratives and not as a means to cash in on what’s “trending” culturally.