With more streaming options than ever before, consumers hold the power in video entertainment.
As both a consumer and a professional in the space, I’ve seen larger viewing trends take hold in my own household. The number of digital streaming services people subscribe to climbed from 3 in 2018 to 4.8 in April 2020 — and my family was no exception, doubling from 2 services to 4. We even went as far as doubling the number of screens so everyone could indulge in watching their personal preferences ranging from musical theater to documentaries.
People are chasing good content and tuning into entertainment on their own terms. That freedom of choice — coupled with the quest for community during stay-at-home measures — has led consumers to gravitate toward a new type of video: one that’s personal, social, curated and culturally relevant.
Audiences are actively looking for new content and there is only a handful of places where you can find them consistently tuning in. One is Facebook Watch, which more than 1.25 billion people visit every month to discover and share videos they love from millions of creators and publishers. It has evolved into the go-to place to discover videos across Facebook that are personalized to whatever you’re into, whether that’s live events, shows, sports, news or music videos.
As a former studio executive, I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it is to connect with hard-to-reach TV audiences and drive completed views. I believe the media executives who are more flexible with their marketing strategies and budgets will find greater success reaching this new wave of digital streamers.
The industry is expecting to see a massive shift in ad spend from traditional TV to OTT and top-tier video, and while that’s exciting, it also means ad inventory on these platforms will likely sell out in the fourth quarter. It’s crucial to move now if you want to remain competitive.
Facebook’s In-Stream Reserve, can help. The curated video platform lets marketers reserve in-stream ad space to reach audiences in a personalized, brand-safe way. Here are three benefits of In-Stream Reserve:
1. You reach communities where they’re already connecting
With cord-cutting accelerating by a whopping 70% in 2020, brand marketers may be having a harder time reaching the highly coveted millennial and Gen Z audiences. High-quality in-stream video ads can help fill the gaps, complementing your digital campaigns and TV buys. It can offer studios the opportunity to reach the incremental viewers that traditional targeted campaigns would miss.
What’s more, 37% of In-Stream Reserve viewers are between the ages of 18 and 34, compared to 29% of the U.S. TV universe.
With In-Stream Reserve, your ads get put inside engaging video content on Facebook Watch, then get served to the users most likely to enjoy and complete it. Try using it to direct consumers to trailer drops, announce release dates or showcase tentpole moments.
2. You get a product with brand safety at its core
One way to help improve viewer engagement and brand positivity is to place your ads alongside relevant and brand-safe content. Consumers are drawn to Facebook because videos there aren’t just culturally relevant, they’re also curated and personalized. That extends to our ad buying tool as well.
We only include carefully curated publishers that meet our eligibility and monetization standards. Instead of relying on artificial intelligence or bots to help scan content, In-Stream Reserve has a 100% human review process, so you can be sure your ads are paired up with content that is suitable for your brand and drives conversions.
3. You have heightened brand awareness
With a greater variety and volume of content than ever before, consumers are bouncing between multiple services and battling choice fatigue. As a result, decisions come down to distinction. People choose what they’re more familiar with.
That’s why brand awareness is key. In-Stream Reserve ads can help raise awareness among hard-to-reach audiences. Research shows that In-Stream Reserve drives positive ad recall lift, with an average 12.2 point lift. Not only that, but 65% of brand lift studies saw ad recall lift that performed at or above the vertical benchmark.
Consider layering in-stream ads with your existing media to drive consideration and conversion.
You’ll get engaging videos delivered to your target audiences, plus analytics to measure your results.
Take the leap
Viewers today don’t just want entertainment — they want an immersive social experience. Younger generations in particular crave video that’s more personal and culturally relevant. That’s why they’re gravitating to platforms like Facebook Watch, where they can devour great content and share and discuss it with their communities — both after they watch and in real time.
You have a unique opportunity to meet these viewers where they are. By using In-Stream Reserve, you can connect with hard-to-reach audiences, raise brand awareness and drive completed views more easily.
Even better than that, though, you have the chance to be part of something bigger than your brand: a global community unified by video.
(James Smith is head of industry for entertainment at Facebook)