CANNES – Innovative video advertising formats are on the upswing, creating the potential for “new-ad format fatigue” and the measurement challenges that accompany them. But if you can get marketer procurement people on board with the concept, that upswing could broaden considerably.

These are among the takeaways from a panel discussion at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as part of the FreeWheel Forum on the Future of Television. It brought together representatives from OMD, Nissan, true[X] and Wavemaker led by moderator Matt Spiegel of MediaLink.

Wavemaker’s Amanda Richman likened the current wave of video ad format experimentation to the early days of digital media. While there were potentially innovative solutions, they came at such a pace that “you really didn’t get the time to absorb the learnings and focus. So it just became another version of spray and pray with new ad formats,” Richman said.

Her advice to the audience: “You want to choose your partners wisely. Because there is the potential risk right now where there’s a new-ad format fatigue, where everyone is coming out with different formats.”

Alternately, having worked with true[X], Richman suggested focusing on “learnings across a few different formats, understand the measurement, understand the operational impact all the way through billing, because that’s what really matters too when it comes to scaling solutions.”

true[X] President Pooja Midha said that engagement ads only belong in front of truly premium and compelling content, so as to offer a real value exchange. “We’ve done some incredible work with Nissan where we’ve gotten to talk about both a new model, the LEAF, as well as Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. That’s a lot to get across even in a 30, but when you’ve got this rich canvas you can really go deeper and I think that’s what engagement is all about.”

Allyson Witherspoon, who heads up Global Brand Engagement at Nissan, would like to add value-based ad measurement to the industry’s standard measurement metrics.

“Lead generation is a big thing in automotive, but that may not be the most important metric for an individual experience,” said Witherspoon. “So you have to look at it by experience. If we keep measuring agencies and media performance based on the last several decades, we’re never really going to advanced what we need to do.”

Asked by Spiegel “What do we have to do to be here next year or the year after and this becoming commonplace?,” OMD’s John Osborn said the industry has a habit of productizing new things and then trying to force fit them into legacy measurement. “And the two don’t always meet,” said Osborn. “I think that we need to figure out different ways of looking at different measurement systems that are matched to the types and formats that are coming out faster than ever before.”

One challenge with emerging ad formats is that “everyone’s kind of trying to attack it, but they’re all in their own swim lanes and I think we need to come together. It’s got to be intentional and deliberate and I think we collectively need to come together to tackle it. I don’t think any one party alone can do it,” Osborn added.

Richman described the role that marketer procurement people play in innovation as “huge.” They can either allow spending in new ways “or they can control and say, ‘no it’s year after year, it’s like for like.’ And you’re going to be judged only by the money that you save, which tends to lead just to measurement only being by the CPM cost.

“Until we bring them into the conversation, it feels like we’re still going to have this logjam of only so much money can be spent on innovation because we’re not being judged by anything but pricing,” said Richman.

Witherspoon has made progress on that front because procurement at Nissan has been open to new ideas. “That was kind of the aha moment for me is that they’re actually kind of dying for this innovation as well because they’ve been doing the same thing over and over again they don’t know any different. They were really open to it.”

This video is from a series of videos and sessions produced in partnership with FreeWheel at Cannes 2018 as part of the FreeWheel Forum on the Future of Television. You can find more videos from this series here.