Television advertising's superiority is quickly fading at the hands of innovative online video campaigns in the digital landscape. While old-fashioned TV ads won't disappear anytime soon, it's clear companies are devoting effort and creativity to digital channels like never before.
In particular, the fashion industry is leading the charge by demonstrating the unique power online video campaigns hold for brands. The future of video advertising lies in the digital landscape, and the revolution is only just beginning.
Online Is Apples to TV's Oranges
Online video ads might look like TV commercials at first glance, but the two only share cosmetic similarities. While they both use a video format to convey their message to an audience, the precision and freedom seen in the best online video ads make it a much more dynamic and innovative medium.
It's a Digital World
Much of this has to do with the nature of the digital world. Even though television has significantly evolved since the days of the Big 3 networks, this evolution is still dwarfed by the huge variety of online channels. Every possible interest or taste has an online channel tailored to its specifics.
With the explosion of digital advertising, advertisers have been able to craft campaigns that are more distinct by catering to a focused audience. Simply put, online video can afford to be more specific than its television brethren because the audience itself is more specific.
Video at Your Fingertips
The devices used to view the two formats also create a significant difference between them. While television commercials are still viewed on a standard TV, online video ads are most often watched on a mobile device. While TV hardware has made huge advancements in the last 20 years, they still basically perform the same function they always have.
Mobile devices, however, are always at a user's fingertips and not limited to a single spot in a user's home. Smartphones are convenient, portable and capable of showing high-quality video. Statistically, viewers are usually much more engaged with online video than TV, watching the content with fewer distractions and other activities.
Stylistically, online video also offers advertisers are a much greater degree of freedom. They create a more potent connection with the audience through interactive elements and different content lengths.
Since the viewership is much more specific, they're also not saddled with the need to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Instead, online video ads can be tailored to fit the temperament of a very specific viewership group, giving the advertiser the ability to craft a message that is tailored to a focused audience rather than the masses.
Fashion Is Leading the Way
In the massive landscape of digital advertising, the fashion industry best embodies this freedom with innovative campaigns that take advantage of the unique features online video gives them, something that television commercials by nature are incapable of providing.
Michael Kors on Instagram
In a recent Michael Kors Marquee campaign for a new line of shoes, the fashion house used the Instagram video ad platform to create focused and timely videos specifically for its customer base. Since the Marquee platform allows companies to target by age and gender for a precise amount of time, Michael Kors used the platform to connect with its customers in a way television simply cannot match.
The results of the campaign speak well for the strategy. With 22 and 24 point lifts in ad recall throughout the US and UK respectively, as well as an almost three-fold increase in website views, Michael Kors was able to leverage the distinct power of the platform to its advantage.
Chanel and YouTube
Similarly, the luxury fashion brand Chanel has used online video to greatly extend the reach of its brand and product appeal. By using cinematic, long-form videos – some as long as over 18 minutes – Chanel is able to engage the audience in an absorbing story that couldn't be contained by a TV spot.
As studies have shown, viewers are very likely to watch a long-form video if they are captured by the visuals, story arc, or they already have an interest in the topic.
In their video campaigns, Chanel has effectively used YouTube as a means of delivering engaging video ads to their specific audience and enjoyed the results. With over 800,000 subscribers – more than double its total from just two years ago – and multiple videos in excess of 10 million views, Chanel is using the online video format to deliver its luxury brand and message to an expanding customer base.
Burberry on Snapchat
Even before the recent splash it made with its IPO, Snapchat has been utilized by early adopter fashion brands as a means of communicating with a very specific segment of their customer base. With an average 10 billion daily video views and user base of 166 million, the vast majority between the ages of 18 and 34, Snapchat users are an enviable demographic for brands and fashion houses in particular.
Burberry was amongst the first companies to focus a significant amount of attention to video-based Snapchat campaigns. It takes a more polished approach with its efforts, distributing choreographed videos that often provide a sneak peek into a coming fashion show or introduction of a new line.
The company has also launched its own Snapcodes, based on scannable store promotions that unlock additional Burberry content. Given the early results, over 100 million impressions from its Snapchat video campaign revolving around its Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show, it appears Burberry is enjoying the success of its early-adopter strategy.
Online video ads and their older relative, television commercials, are only alike in their most general characteristics. In reality, they differ at nearly every fundamental level due to the nature of their distribution channels, devices, and audience.
As is often the case, the fashion industry has been an early adopter of the online video ad space and has continued to leverage its unique, innovative ability to connect with customers.