Four Essential Tactics for Digital Video Advertising

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Today, half of people watching TV are also on laptops, tablets, or smartphones at the same time. That means TV, the traditional outlet for video advertising, is competing for attention with a lot of other distractions. While that may seem like a frustrating fact for marketers and media buyers, it’s actually a big opportunity for them, especially when it comes to digital video advertising.

Offering a rich medium to attract, educate, delight and increasingly convert viewers into customers, a good branded digital video experience leads consumers to be:

– 39% more likely to research a featured brand or product further
– 36% more likely to tell friends and family about the brand
– 19% more likely to share other content from that brand on social media

As a marketer, how do you take advantage of the opportunities that digital video advertising offers? What video advertising is today is totally different from what it was less than a decade ago. In this article and in a joint webinar with Tumblr on March 9th at 2 pm, we’ll attempt to lay out the best ways to think about digital video today and how to make the most of the medium.

The State of Digital Video Advertising

Today video is more fragmented. In the pre-YouTube years, if video content (branded or otherwise) wasn’t on TV or in film, it was hosted on blogs. Then came YouTube came. But the real initial catalyst for introducing marketers to online video was Google’s post-acquisition introduction of AdWords for Video. Since then, YouTube has attracted marketers with an expanding option for targeting pre-roll and post-roll video creative by keyword, audience demographic and/or channel. Fast-forwarding to today, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter have all rolled out native video players that are quickly grabbing viewer attention. To further complicate the digital video landscape, there are alternate video hosting platforms like Vimeo, Brightcove and Wistia, programmatic networks like Yahoo!, Tubemogul and Tremor, as well as short-form video apps like Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram which have given rise to the animated GIF and looped video. Also changing how we consume digital video is the availability of streaming services where viewers can opt out of watching advertisements entirely.

Not only are the channels changing, the devices are changing too. TVs are now connected, more time is spent on mobile devices — both generally speaking and specifically while watching TV — and tablets and laptops are taking a greater chunk of long-form video watched overall.

Needless to say, it’s a complicated environment for advertisers to get their message heard. As a marketer here are four important tactics to help you execute a more effective video strategy.

1. Map different video content to different business objectives and stages in your customer lifecycle

In any good marketing campaign, your strategy and business objectives should be defined first. Then creative development, distribution and performance measurement should tie back to those objectives. The same is true for digital video. While your specific business objectives may vary, video is extremely effective at generating brand lift, driving conversion, keeping visitors on your landing pages, and spreading your message through sharing. Make sure you’re using different video types strategically at different steps of your customer lifecycle:

Video for Building Brand Awareness (Top of Funnel)

Objectives: Entertain, attract and educate

Creative types: Social video, digital commercials, pre-roll, webinar or event recordings

Audience target: Early-stage mass marketing to your target customer demographics

Distribution channels: YouTube (pre-roll), Facebook (paid), Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, video ad networks

Video for Product Education and Nurturing (Mid-Funnel)

Objectives: Educate, build credibility and reinforce product/brand availability

Creative types: Product explainer videos, executive interviews, long-form narratives

Audience target: Early-stage buying prospects, CRM, social followers, email lists

Distribution channels: Website, Vimeo, YouTube channel, Facebook (boosted page post), retargeting

Video for Sales Conversion (Bottom of Funnel)

Objectives: Reassure, create anticipation and provide call-to-action that compels decision

Creative types: Customer testimonials, promotional offers, case studies, how to get started/DIY videos

Audience target: Late-stage buying prospects and existing customers

Distribution channels: Website, product pages

In the case of conversions, 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. Helping customers understand your product’s benefits and features is a simple way to entice them to buy. Video on landing pages has also been shown to keep users on a website 88% longer. Not only is it good for SEO, but it puts context around your sales offering and typically will help boost conversion rates further.

Another important consideration is your mobile video experience. 92% of users share mobile video content. Interestingly, more than half of digital video viewers report that their video consumption is largely unplanned, based on a video that is actively or passively shared with them on social. Online, video discovery and consumption is heavily influenced by community dynamics and trending content. A successful video strategy should capitalize on those audience dynamics.

2. Consider all the channels and all the devices

With more channels, more device, (and better connectivity) now, engagement with video in all its forms is changing. Part of what’s changing is that most video discovery channels are open, always-on and can even be consumed in parallel. In aggregate, consumers’ mobile device usage during TV watching has also more than doubled in the last two years.

With the combined experience of TV, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, marketers can find new and inventive ways of cutting through the video noise online.

A study by AOL, commissioned by Nielsen revealed that videos online and on mobile devices typically received better engagement. It also showed that when people get distracted they almost never come back to the video ad. When it comes to holding attention, sound is more important on TV ads because it pulls the person back to the ad. However with mobile video, the visuals are more important, because more often than not, the audio is not on.

Screen size and context also play a key role in what type of content gets viewed. More than half the time spent watching TV is viewing periods longer than 60 minutes. By comparison, the majority of mobile video viewing sessions are less than 10 minutes. Think about what you want to communicate in those durations.

3. Think about how your target audience is watching video

The audience for digital video is growing quickly. Approximately one in five (22% or 52 million) American adults over the age of 18 watch digital video each month, up 15% from a year ago, according to IAB.

Looking across generations however, consumption of digital video changes. Forrester looked at Millennials, Gen Xers and Young Boomers to see what the appetite was for the various forms of video. They leave out Gen Z, who just coming into their teen years. We have yet to see entirely where Gen Z’s tastes will be, but given the shift towards online streaming, user-generated video, and web native video in younger viewers, it’s likely that we’ll see that appetite grow. When it comes to planning video strategy, it’s important to understand where video will have the biggest impact.

4. Tailor your media strategy and spend

Traditional TV audience measurement metrics don’t capture the full picture with digital. When it comes to measuring performance and making decisions about media mix, a TV-centric approach often overlooks the multi-channel nature of digital video campaigns.

Because video streaming services like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix offer viewers commercial-free or low-interruption experiences — combined with the fact that digital video content consumption periods are typically shorter — digital audiences have less patience for ad blocks, and typically expect the ads they do see to be more native and relevant to what they’re watching. Digital video can be developed and distributed as a stand-alone multi-channel effort across different social platforms and ad networks, or it can be developed as companion content to TV creative.

To learn more about helpful tactics to complement your cross-channel video efforts, join us and Tyler Pennell of Tumblr on March 9th at 2pm ET for a special webinar presentation: Harnessing the Unlimited Possibilities of Video Ads.

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