business mobile

Digital ads: Surging sales, video, mobile and the social media effect

H&M, April 2016
H&M, April 2016

US digital ad revenues reached an all-time high of $59.6bn last year, according to a new report. That’s a 20% surge over the previous record-breaking year. And the pace is quickening: Q4 saw a 23% year-on-year rise to $17.4bn and an 18% surge over the previous quarter.

The full-year IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, produced in association with PwC US, also offered up some even more interesting stats when it got down to the detail of just what that advertising was all about.

  • Mobile advertising skyrocketed (66%) to $20.7bn last year, reflecting the migration of consumers to mobile devices.
  • Non-mobile digital video, a component of display-related advertising, rose 30% to $4.2bn as advertisers targeted increasingly video-focused Millennials and Generation Z consumers.
  • Social media advertising rose 55% to $10.9bn as advertisers convinced themselves that social networks were the place to be.
  • Non-mobile search revenues rose a slower 8% to $20.5bn.
  • Retail advertisers continue to represent the largest category of internet ad spending, responsible for 22%.

“Internet advertising was a disruptive innovation when the industry was formed,” said PwC’s David Silverman. “Twenty years later we still see double-digit growth rates. Three key disruptive trends, mobile, social, and programmatic, continue to fuel this exceptional rate of growth.”

“There’s no question that interactive screens are attracting consumers and the advertisers that want to reach them where they live, increasingly on mobile devices,” added IAB’s Sherrill Mane.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Blocks e-commerce film

Clarins leverages make-up tutorial trend in interactive paid digital campaign


Beauty vloggers (video bloggers) have been using YouTube to publish tutorials about how to apply make-up for many years now, but the trend seems to have hit the mainstream recently in a big way.

Michelle Phan has accumulated over 6.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel since its launch in 2007. Earlier this year she was one of a number chosen to star in a campaign for the platform promoting its ‘creators’. It’s not just passionate fans watching her ‘how-to’ videos; in a study released last October, Google found over half (55%) of beauty shoppers watch online videos while researching beauty purchases. Moreover, 50% of Millennials, specifically, watch beauty videos on YouTube.

Needless to say, brands have been working out how to get involved. Originally, they tried to gain exposure through these vloggers by sending them free merchandise to test, resulting in ‘hauls’ featuring multiple products reviewed in one video. This is not unique to the beauty industry; it’s also common practice for fashion and health vloggers.

Beyond gifting product, beauty brands have since found multiple other and more creative ways of leveraging this trend. Last August, L’Oréal launched a make-up line designed by Phan (view the video about her product here). Last month, Too Faced cosmetics announced Dulce Candy Tejeda, another highly popular vlogger, as brand ambassador for its Better Than Sex Mascara. The recent Daisy Dream campaign from Marc Jacobs also saw numerous vloggers enlisted to share their dreams with followers also via YouTube.

Now Clarins UK is approaching the tutorial trend by creating three of its own how-to videos. Named “You, only better. Instantly”, the clips are part of a paid advertising campaign that’s featured on key digital media like Anchored by an interactive pop-up on such sites (as screengrabbed below), the videos offer the viewer the ability to “uplift your look” in either five, 10 or 15-minute increments.

A slider tool showcases the three different make-up looks first and foremost, with the videos explaining how to achieve them, and the products needed to do so, featured alongside. Digital advertising may often be regarded as intrusive, at its best only capturing attention for a limited period of time, but this campaign, not only for its visual impact but its interactive element, creates more of an engaging feel than regularly seen.

On the Clarins UK microsite, the 90-second videos are placed top, with a different slider underneath providing users with a before and after look at the model. The YouTube videos are also annotated with links to buy the product being used. The experience works on both desktops and mobile, making it ideal for on-the-go viewing, and for that digitally-native consumer Clarins is evidently targeting.