H1 2017 adspend: video overtakes banners

October 30, 2017

With online video adspend overtaking banner ads for the first time, IAB Engage acted as a timely reminder to us all on the importance of the context in which these videos are being viewed.

At the half way point in the year, digital adspend continues to increase – reaching £5.56bn in H1 2017, +13.8% year-on-year. Both display and search continue to deliver growth year-on-year at 18% and 15%, respectively, following the trends we’ve seen in previous years. However the biggest takeout we’ve arguably seen in the latest results is online video now accounting for 35% of display spend, higher than banners’ share of spend at 34%.

Video overtaking banners is no surprise

Changes in consumer behaviour and improvements in technology & connectivity has resulted in more video content being watched online. Publishers and social media platforms have also evolved to place a greater focus on driving ad revenue from video content and ad formats. As a result, advertisers have shifted their focus to incorporate video as part of their digital strategies with evidence of increased investment in bespoke digital content.

Content + context = 🙌

The early days of video advertising online saw advertisers test the channel using their existing 30 second TV executions. Fast forward ten years and whilst TV ads are still being used for digital campaigns, those advertisers which have taken the leap and are creating bespoke video content for digital campaigns are likely to be yielding the greatest impact.

In his talk at Engage, the IAB’s CMO James Chandler addressed how important it is for advertisers to be mindful of the context of their advertising. Chandler used two excellent examples from the ASPCA (below) and the BBC to highlight what can be achieved when the environment is planned into the creative execution. The recent Dove controversy serves as an excellent example of a TV ad not translating into social context. As one of the models in the ad stated “the social ad wasn’t a fair representation of the full thing.”

What should advertisers do?

The digital spaces are rapidly changing but not all advertisers are adapting their approach. The adspend is definitely following media consumption but the execution used is often slow to adapt. Our advice for any advertisers looking to supercharge their digital strategy is to:-

  1. Be brave and set aside test budget for digital-only creative ideas.
  1. Take inspiration from brands in other sectors which have nailed their digital-first approach.
  1. Be prepared that everything may not perform straight away. Get ready to test and learn before you find what works for you.


Sharan Cheema, Client Services Director

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