Watch out for the moving image fruit salad!

In many media plans today, there is a line “non-linear moving image” or perhaps “online video” directly under the medium TV. What often falls by the wayside is that these are potentially many different platforms with very different formats and recording situations. From lean-back spots in media libraries to YouTube to Facebook and Instagram. The end result is a “moving image fruit salad” in which the ingredients have been wildly jumbled, often lacking structure, and sometimes even containing ingredients that dilute the good taste – i.e. the ultimate goal.

If you look back 10-15 years as a media planner, planning moving image campaigns was relatively straightforward compared to today – one spot, one medium, a manageable number of channels and advertising environments. Perhaps an adaptation of the creation for cinema.

If a brand advertises with a spot today, the planning behind it is much more complex. This is partly due to the differentiated media consumption of the target groups. For while the number of daily TV viewers may have remained relatively constant over the past 10 years (2020: 67.7% of adults aged 20-59, -4.2% compared to 2010), daily viewing time declined by almost 13% over the same period. At the same time, again, overall moving image consumption increased over the same period. People are increasingly using the offerings of streaming platforms, YouTube and media libraries and are now watching television more selectively. Once again, this affects younger target groups significantly more than older ones.

But it’s still true that video emotionalizes, tells stories and is a very effective advertising format.

So how do I, as a brand manager, respond to this change in moving image consumption? The solution of many advertisers and their agencies is to take, say, 15% of our original 100% TV media budget and invest it in an online video campaign. This often fulfills the apparent obligation. But of course, this is not the end of the story.

Separating linear and non-linear moving images is not enough
Digital moving image campaigns can be implemented on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitch or YouTube, but of course also on media libraries such as Joyn or TV Now. This selection brings with it certain challenges. For example, the variety of existing advertising formats as well as the differentiated usage situation of the viewer. Because an advertising spot does not have the same effect on all platforms. The various platforms differ in terms of perception, usage situation, and very simple factors such as the size of the format. As a result, they achieve very different advertising effects.

While the user of TV as well as of online media libraries is often in a typical “lean-back situation” (comfortable, inactive), the consumer of social media platforms is rather in a more active “lean-forward” situation and therefore also consumes the content much faster. For example, the average video playback time for Facebook Ads is now just under 2 seconds.

And it is at this point that the division into linear and non-linear moving images is no longer sufficient. In the digital moving image world, a differentiated view should be taken of which formats and shooting situations are necessary to convey the desired message in an advertising-effective manner. Questions that should also be asked in this context: What proportion of spots on YouTube, for example, should only be played on TV sets? What role do individual placements play in the targeting of the videos? After a certain amount of contact with longer spot formats, can we also extend the message with a shorter format on social media environments? These kinds of questions should be answered, or the mix won’t be right in the end. And remember the fruit salad.

The interplay between media and creation is essential
Especially with digital moving images, however, the best planning will largely miss its mark if media and creative don’t work hand in hand.

Fortunately, the days when a campaign’s TV spot was simply “extended” into digital channels are largely over. Three or four different video formats (bumper ads, story ads, spot without sound, etc.) are the norm today – though in many cases simple edited versions derived from the basic TV spot. But the demands on creation are higher. When designing and executing a moving image campaign, it is necessary to think from the point of view of the viewing and impact of the respective channel. It is inevitable that the usual and learned patterns are broken. Creatives and media planners must work much more closely together when planning a digital moving image campaign in terms of advertising impact. The channel and platform d