Using Sequential Video Advertising Across Devices


It’s no longer enough to upload a short video to YouTube and hope that prospective customers watch it, engage with it, and visit your company’s website to learn more about a specific product or service. While that tactic may have worked years ago when e-commerce and online video were in their infancy, today’s consumers are savvier. They want to be courted, finessed, and educated on the finer points of an offering before being convinced to take the next step in the buying process.

As marketers struggle to figure out the best recipe for making that happen, some are tapping into a tactic known as “sequential video advertising.” This type of messaging allows marketers to follow a user’s engagement across multiple devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop) and optimize the advertisement (a DRTV commercial, for example) in real time during the campaign. Using this method, DRTV marketers are able to target higher-quality leads and usher users from initial engagement through to transaction.

Using sequential video advertising, marketers can place targeted ads in front of customers who click through on their mobile devices. Based on what’s clicked and the specific message or product, companies can then follow up with similar messaging as consumers switch from one device to another. This progression allows marketers to build up their pitches as a consumer moves from one video to the next, ideally beginning with a “starter” pitch commercial and ending the engagement with an irresistible offer designed to close the sale.

In theory, sequential video advertising lets DRTV marketers gain better control over their messaging by jumping from screen to screen along with the average user. Calling sequential advertising the “next leap” in advertising, AdWeek’s Garett Sloane painted a picture of a multi-part brand story beginning on a tablet and ending on a smartphone. “Sequential messaging is digital advertising’s next act, and software, device, and ad-tech firms are scrambling to build the infrastructure to make it happen,” he writes.

Facebook recently jumped into the sequential advertising game, according to VentureBeat, with its purchase of video advertising firm LiveRail. In “Coming Soon to Facebook: Video ads that follow you from device to device,” the publication highlights how advertisers on Facebook see the emerging method of sequential mobile advertising as a way to better control their branding messages on social media.

“Sequential video advertising allows marketers to place targeted video ads in front of a user when they click an ad on their mobile device,” writes VentureBeat contributor Richard Byrne Reilly. “Based on what the person clicks, and what the product or message is, marketers are then able to follow up with similar video ads as they hop from one device to another.”

Sequential video is especially appeal­ing to DRTV marketers because it allows companies to place different messages that not only build upon one another, but also offer greater control over delivery. It lets companies extend customer conversations to online channels using digital video, says Jared Lake, Hawthorne Direct’s director of Digital Media, and more effectively engage consumers who are using multiple devices.

“When you develop creative and messaging that speaks to multiple stages within the conversion funnel (i.e., awareness, consideration, purchase, etc.), you effectively expand the touchpoints and connections that you have with your customers,” Lake writes via email. “Much like the proven, creative DRTV tactics that marketers are already using, sequential video advertising is tailored to a consumer’s previous interactions with the brand. This results in increased relevancy and subsequently, conversion.”

Tim Hawthorne is the founder and CEO of Hawthorne Direct, a full-service brand response agency based in Los Angeles and Iowa. He can be reached at (641) 472-3800 or via email at [email protected]