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May I have your attention, please? By DMS’ Sally Makarem

Sally Makarem, managing director, Digital Media Services

With the growth of video platforms, made for digital content and 5G, video advertising has taken centre stage. Digital video has swiftly risen to capture the attention of both audiences and advertisers, as brands and media planners now see converged video advertising (whether it’s TV or digital) as the ideal format for brand building, raising awareness and educating viewers. The question, therefore, becomes: What do we need to consider when planning for video? How can advertisers capture their audience’s attention to ensure better returns on video strategies? Here are a few take-outs from our panel; where we discussed how content and context are becoming the new power duo:

With the changes that are taking shape across the global media and advertising ecosystem, it is safe to assume that contextual targeting will be back by the end of the year. In the MENA region, contextual targeting is still overshadowed, taking centre stage during key events/moments in the year. Ramadan is an example, where premium content and programs / VOD platforms become extremely sought after.

According to Nadim Ghrayeb (general manager marketing, PR & CX INFINITI International Markets): “Brands need to move faster and build smarter communications by platform. MENA is still seen as a “safe” region and there is a need for education around the cohesiveness of context and creative to deliver brand experiences to users and drive cross-funnel efficiencies”.

Donnacha Kinsella (media lead associate director, Starcom) believes that it is a collective responsibility from marketeers, media agencies, creative agencies, and publishers to drive education in the marketplace, given all the cultural sensitivities. When addressing these, publishers edge the closest to the real pulse of the local market: What content are users consuming? What are their interests and affinities? This level of understanding when it comes to audiences has always been the greatest strength of local publishers. This in turn empowers them with the ability to shape perceptions, influence opinions and drive engagement with their users.

With all of this in mind, one thing is for sure. Context surely has a bigger role to play when it comes to creative. Digital content should be adapted to the platform and for the audiences of that platform. Today, building relevancy with users has become absolutely essential for advertisers fighting against banner/ creative blindness, as well as for their users’ attention. We must be mindful of the users’ mindset and their consumption habits on individual platforms when seeking their time. Users on social media are less likely to engage with longer creatives, as their mindset is fixed on passing time. They will likely have more time while consuming content on VOD platforms, which allow for longer creatives and storytelling. Publishers and platforms have also identified this as a need and have stepped up to help brands develop creatives that are more relevant to their platforms. Whether it’s through video editing or building creative formats from scratch, publishers are conscious of their users’ experiences on their sites.

So, what is in store over the next couple of months? Firstly, video will continue to grow, especially with the continued investment behind content across all platforms. It’s also quite clear now that users will continue to follow the content, and advertisers will need to start planning around the contextual signals.

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