SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Maximizing the Impact of Online Video Ads

Thinking about adding video advertising to your marketing mix? Contributor Joe Martinez shares the video marketing tips he picked up from the Online Video Ads session at SMX Advanced.

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Because I am a huge fan of video advertising, I have a hard time understanding why video marketing is so underutilized by many companies.

I attended the Maximizing the Impact of Online Video Ads session at SMX Advanced and came away with a lot of information that will change that. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be inspired to start using video to promote your brand.

Bryant Garvin, Purple

Bryant attributes his company’s rapid success to its successful video campaigns. Purple (his company) has over 1 billion video views. How do they do it? With emotion and education. Video is an emotional format, and consumers buy on emotion.

According to a study at Stanford (source in the slides below), stories are remembered 22 times more than facts alone, and purchases are always emotional decisions. Humans are hard-wired to pay attention to stories, so stories are the catalyst to connect with potential customers emotionally.

As consumers, we decide to transact before we emotionally decide on it. You really have two seconds to capture someone’s attention instead of the 5.7-second average view time Facebook mentions. That being said, video marketers need to test the intro first.

Bryant’s company tested three intros to the same video. All they did was make minor changes to each one. What were the results? They saw a 2,824.7 percent brand keyword search lift after testing out a different, branded video. No matter how well you think your videos are doing, keep in mind that even the best videos can be improved.

Still not convinced YouTube is amazing? Let me toss out some more stats Bryant called out:

  • Over 1.5 billion Users on YouTube.
  • One billion hours are watched daily.
  • 68 percent of people use YouTube to help make purchase decisions.
  • 80 percent of 18-49-year-olds watch YouTube in a given month.
  • Only 9 percent of United States small businesses are using YouTube.
  • You only pay after 30 seconds are viewed or the video is completed.

You want to be where your competitors are not, and YouTube offers targeting options which will help you drive purchase intent. Google’s audience solutions, such as Life Events and Custom Intent Audiences, are great for reaching the right people.

When combined with a powerful video that provided the emotional connection, Purple’s message had the one-two punch that lowered their cost-per-visit and greatly increased the uplift in brand searches.

Videos don’t have to have a sales tone and vibe. Keep in mind that emotions sell and prompt purchases.

Cory Henke,  Variable Media Agency

Cory started by saying, in 2018, that the power of video is attention. In the age of high-speed internet and mobile devices, we’ve all become multitaskers and storytellers. Users have so many choices as to how and where to consume online. The problem with video is that it cannot be scaled, and it’s hard to keep a user’s attention.

With Facebook, we don’t know why the user came to the site. Was it to watch a video or read Grandma’s post? It’s hard to predict what a user is going to do on Facebook.

Now think about YouTube. Most people go to YouTube just to watch a video. They don’t read or write comments anywhere near as much as they view videos. This focused action is why advertisers need to build videos for the platform.

YouTube TrueView has become the most valuable impression on the web. Why? Cory emphasized exactly what Bryant mentioned in his presentation. Advertisers don’t pay a cent for any video views from zero to 30 seconds long. Cory then asked the audience to name one other channel where you can get consistent, free advertising. The silence in the crowd proved his point.

With TrueView, users have the option to skip your ad after 5 seconds. We must create content to meet our strategic goals, which are keeping the user’s attention, by doing the following:

  • Grab attention with a hook immediately in the first few seconds.
  • Engage the users and make sure to illustrate a problem those users can relate to.
  • Establish your brand and qualify users to prove why your company/product/service is the right choice.
  • Then re-hook your audience to drive action.

More engagements equal lower cost-per-view (CPV) if you get those users past 30 seconds.

People consume video differently on YouTube versus television. TV is a passive viewing environment, while YouTube is an active viewing environment. With this mindset, we’ve seen the forced 30-, 60- and 90-second ads get de-prioritized. Skippable video and 6-second bumpers are now the preferred choice for users because they have more control over which videos they prefer to watch.

With video, there are primarily two types of users: lean-back and lean-forward.

  • Lean-back users are YouTube, TV and Netflix. All three embrace the longer video format. They’re more likely to watch an entire video ad and less likely to last-click convert. We should be reaching these users with emotional and storytelling video content.
  • Lean-forward users are Facebook, Instagram and  Snapchat. These three have shorter watch times, but they are more expensive. We should be using quick reminders and savvy call-to-action videos to be mid- to lower-funnel-oriented.

We’ve gone from the age of one 30-minute show to 30 one-minute shows. The shift in user behavior leads to a shift in our content. Take advantage of all the creative and targeting options you have to keep your users’ attention.

Allen Martinez, Noble Digital

Allen asked the audience a question:

Which one of these three things account for 80% of a campaign’s success? The right message, the right time, or the right place?

The answer is the right message. According to Andrew Robertson of BBDO Worldwide, the right creative accounts for 80 percent of the customer’s return path. Get the story right first, and then focus on timing and placements.

Think about what Facebook is doing now in regard to ad testing. Advertisers now have the option to variable test the ad creative. Facebook purposely puts “creative” as the first option for us to test because they understand it’s the most important.

If you are still asking why you should use video, the answer is because it’s the one medium that contains multiple other mediums. We have storylines, branding, performances, emotion, music, mood, production design, art, visual effects and so much more. The problem is that in most companies, the strategy is commonly separated from creativity.

Brian Chesky of Airbnb said:

The designing of an experience uses a different part your brain than the scaling of that experience.

First, you build the experience with your creative team. And then you scale with your strategy team.

Allen then presented a case study from the meal kit company Plated and showed how Plated revamped their original video after reviewing data and surveys and listening to their audience. The creative goal was to make the feel of the video less ad-like and more personal, like users were watching themselves in the video.  Changing their video helped Plated become more successful.

Don’t wait for intent, create it. Search is like an online Black Friday every day. Most search results are going to have search and shopping ads ready to sell. People are more curious and open than we think. What you tell a user early on in the funnel will always be more important than how you are trying to sell them at the bottom of the funnel. Use creative video to help win the deal early.


Want to learn more? Join us in October our SMX East “Obsessed With SEO & SEM” conference in New York City, where top industry experts will share their tips, tactics and strategies around SEO and SEM topics.

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Why your marketing performance problem is really a measurement challenge

Figuring out how your company will grow is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers. The playbook is clear: Choose a high-value audience, execute relevant and creative campaigns, and voilà, results and growth for your brand, product or service. But setting your marketing team up for success is tougher than ever. One reason is that, […]

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Figuring out how your company will grow is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers.

The playbook is clear: Choose a high-value audience, execute relevant and creative campaigns, and voilà, results and growth for your brand, product or service.

But setting your marketing team up for success is tougher than ever. One reason is that, at many companies, the individual players aren’t using the same playbook. They choose a lower-value target, or the wrong one altogether, launch campaigns without insight and watch growth and ROI sputter.

Getting on the right track for growth is easier said than done. If you’re not seeing the number of leads, conversions, sales or other key metrics you’re looking for, finding out what’s not working and knowing how to fix it is tough.

The issue may not be your marketing tactics at all. It might actually be how you’re measuring performance. Without accurate measurement that de-duplicates results across customers and gives each touch point the proper credit toward a desired outcome, you really don’t know what’s working and what’s not.

This makes it almost impossible to invest in the channels that are driving results and avoid wasting spend on those that aren’t.

Digital marketing is complex

This is a common problem for today’s marketer. For decades, marketers have used traditional channels such as print, radio, TV, yellow pages and outdoor ads to reach consumers. But the digital revolution has proved disruptive to traditional marketing approaches. TV, radio, print and outdoor now work alongside digital marketing —  search, organic and paid search, email, social and video.

An explosion of digital channels, platforms and tools have made marketing more complex than ever. There are more touch points as consumers take control of the funnel, interacting with brands across multiple devices, niche media outlets and streaming TV.

Being able to reach and engage your best customer as they move along a tangled digital path requires sophisticated understanding of tools and tactics and clear strategy and vision. But the strategies and technologies that marketers have relied on for years to target, analyze and optimize their marketing and advertising campaigns have not evolved fast enough to keep pace with these demands.

Click on the image above to get the free ebook.

Marketing teams don’t share goals

Another challenge to growth is that it’s common for marketing teams to operate in silos. Most marketing organizations are split between marketing (direct mail, website, mobile, email, SEO, social, PR, events) and media (display, paid social, SEM, affiliate, print, radio, TV).

This split is compounded by multiple layers up and down the org chart: CMO, VPs, and directors, each with a team of managers and specialists under them, executing tactics and managing spend for each channel. Every organization also has multiple agency and vendor relationships.

That’s a lot of people in the pool. This complex structure often leads to individuals or teams working toward independent key performance indicators (KPIs) and incentives, leading to fragmented, ineffective optimization — by channel instead of across channels.

Aligning your organization toward common goals is challenging, especially when the goals change. Organizational silos and the complexities of the digital era have created measurement challenges that make it more difficult to maximize marketing effectiveness.

You may be hurting rather than helping performance

When goals, metrics and incentives align, teams can work together to boost performance and enhance the consumer experience along the entire funnel. But when they don’t, channel managers may unknowingly be working at odds.

Assuming that every part of the organization is doing all they can to feed the funnel and drive results is no longer enough. If your organization sets individual goals and incentives by silo, you may be hurting rather than helping performance.

That’s because each silo has its own metrics. Your Paid Search Manager is optimizing keyword performance while your Email Marketing Manager is tracking opens and click-through rate. How can you be sure they’re looking at the right numbers to achieve company goals?

Aligning metrics to a common goal is key

To truly understand the value of each consumer interaction with your brand, it’s not enough to count impressions or eyeballs or to measure the effectiveness of your marketing using last-touch metrics. You need to know the effectiveness of each marketing touch point in every consumer journey, regardless of where those touch points occur.

No matter which goal you’re focused on, you have to make sure your metrics align so that you’re tracking the right indicators. From a marketing perspective, this is critical. Marketing teams and management need to align on objectives and the KPIs that track progress toward achieving them.

Multi-touch attribution: New measurement for all channels

Many brands are reluctant to use advanced attribution methods that accurately assign fractional credit to marketing and media touch points, yet they’re spending millions of dollars annually measuring performance using last-click metrics they know are flawed.

To be effective, marketing organizations and their agency partners must rely on a data source that offers a holistic picture of performance and makes it possible for everyone to work toward shared goals. At the same time, each team member has different needs for actionable marketing intelligence at a different cadence.

Multi-touch attribution is an approach that makes sure all members of the organization are working together. Multi-touch attribution integrates disparate marketing performance data to establish a single source of truth.

By collecting, consolidating and normalizing performance data into common measures and taxonomy, this methodology supplies the insights your team needs on a consistent, holistic basis. Some multi-touch attribution solutions even integrate third-party behavioral and demographic audience data to provide tactical performance insights by audience segment.

Five attribution use cases

Here are five ways multi-touch attribution helps make sure your team is looking at the right numbers.

CMO: Budget allocation

It’s budget-planning time. The CMO of a large retailer needs to justify current marketing spend to other C-suite leaders and decide how to allocate budget and coordinate messages and experiences across online and offline channels.

Because they use multi-touch attribution, s/he knows VPs of marketing and media can report on which channels are driving business objectives for each target audience. The CMO uses that information to reallocate budgets to achieve higher top-line growth and better bottom-line efficiency.

VP: Cross-channel interaction

It’s the end of Q2. Last quarter, the brand launched a new multichannel campaign to drive sales of a new product, but the campaign fell short of its performance goals. The VP needs to know how to best allocate spend in order to increase sales by 20 percent in Q3.

Since a business rival is launching a competing product, she knows the marketing messages need to resonate with target customers and compel them to take action. She asks the managers of paid search, display, email and their e-commerce site to use multi-touch attribution to report on cross-channel interactions before deciding how to best allocate her quarterly budget to reach Q3 targets.

Channel manager: Email

It’s Monday, and there are campaigns rolling out on Tuesday and Thursday to different audience segments. The email channel manager needs to boost click-through rates to meet the weekly KPI.

Using multi-touch attribution, he checks the response to last week’s campaigns and sets up A/B tests for the emails going out this week, tweaking creatives for each audience segment to see which raises CTR. He then optimizes the email by segment and pushes those out to generate a higher return.

Channel manager: SEM

At the agency, the SEM channel manager sees via multi-touch attribution that the effectiveness of her Tier 1 campaign has suddenly dropped off because a new competitor has started aggressively bidding on the same keywords with an enticing offer that’s stealing click share.

She directs the SEM specialist to increase max bids by 10 percent and asks for an update on impact to performance in 24 hours. In the meantime, she asks the media analyst to report on which ads in the rotation are driving conversions at the highest rate for that campaign so she can direct her SEM specialist to pause the weaker performing ads.

Media analyst: Dimension analysis

At the agency, the media analyst pulls the numbers gathered via multi-touch attribution from yesterday’s mobile app, digital video, display and paid search ads. He compares creatives, ad sizes, offers, devices, geography and publishers to see which ones are performing well. He notices that last night’s new creative is working well across publishers, but only in the bigger size. He alerts the media buyer to boost ad size across channels.

Getting the marketing performance you deserve

Digital innovation has created a new set of opportunities and challenges for marketers. As a result, many brands today think they have a performance problem. The truth is that they actually have a measurement problem. If they can solve the root of the issue — poor measurement — they’ll get better results.

Multi-touch attribution allows brands in all industries to tackle the daunting task of properly measuring and optimizing the results of their marketing efforts. This makes it a whole lot easier for your organization to work together toward shared goals and grow.

To learn more about how you can be a better marketer in the digital era, download the Nielsen Visual IQ e-book: Crossing the New Digital Divide: Your Guide to Marketing Effectiveness

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Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy

Contributor Mark Williams says marketers must evolve the metrics they monitor to keep up with the changing media-consumption environment.

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As marketers and brands have seen, the prevalence of digital video has transformed how consumers access media and content.

Essentially, video is not the future, it’s the “now”.

According to Cisco, global IP video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Consumers no longer want to read about a brand  — they want to visualize it.

In 2018 and beyond, we’ll see a big shift from before, when advertisers were looking to buy reach and frequency with traditional media, to now, where advertisers will want to capitalize on intensity through the maximum amount of reach and frequency. In a post-pivot-to-video world, it’s time to change your video and media strategy, especially how you measure it.

To tackle all of the changes and innovations in media and digital marketing within the past few years, and especially to gear you up for the further integration of video, here are three tips for navigating the new age of media strategy.

1. Measure your audience with intensity

Rethink your approach to measurement. It’s not just about clicks and views. Viewability and reach are no longer the main indicators of success because they don’t measure how an audience is connecting with the content.

Instead, track deeper actions. Update your key performance indicators (KPIs) with different engagement metrics, such as watch time, engagements, earned metrics and follower acquisition, to track whether or not your intended audience actually viewed your message and reacted to it.

Watch time is one of the most valuable metrics to track in order to gauge whether or not audiences are actually watching your content. It’s also the most important factor for platform algorithms. If you track minutes watched, retention rate and the average percentage of those who watched through, you’ll have a better idea of how you are captivating the audience’s attention, and at what level of intensity.

Tracking engagements (e.g., likes, shares and comments) is also a key indicator of your strategy’s performance. Engagements and engagement rates indicate that fans are making a decision beyond simply watching your content. If they’re sharing, starting up a conversation, or compelled by a call to action from the content, you can measure the intensity with which your audience is consuming the material.

Also, be sure to watch your follower/subscriber acquisition. Growing a fan base is essential to the marketing efforts of advertisers, and it is important to identify what content brings in new followers so that you can focus your content strategy to consider these insights.

2. Rethink content strategy: Transform ads + make content relevant

Given the prevalence of ad blockers, it’s clear that interruptive advertising doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we’re seeing high performance through integrated brand messages. To do this, make your content relevant to your consumer.

Embed your campaign initiatives into publisher sites through partnerships to make for a smoother and natural integration of your advertising.

Consider integrating with influencers. Research conducted by Fullscreen (my employer) and MediaScience found that the percentage of viewers who would recommend a brand after watching a branded video from an influencer was 13 percent higher than the percentage for a TV ad.

Test different content strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, and for a more specific segmented analysis, A/B test different interest sets and demographics to inform your marketing plan.

3. Tailor by platform

To keep your marketing strategy specific and efficient, optimize content and advertising to reflect the platform. Utilize metadata by making campaigns that align with proper titling and tagging across all of your platforms. Keep your branding design consistent to ensure that your content is distinguishable. Ensure that your creative is designed for the specific tech specs of the platform where it will live.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook creative must be treated differently from Snapchat and so on. Perhaps most importantly, the creative must feel endemic to the platform — which explains why repurposed television commercials have some of the lowest engagement metrics.

Identify and maintain a consistent publishing schedule that is tailored to times when platforms reach the highest number of eyes, not only to maximize viewership and engagement but also to help consumers know when to expect your content.

Further, aim to promote circular traffic: Utilize the platforms through their available interactive elements so that you can cross-promote across all channels.

When tailoring your content for specific platforms, you also want to pay attention to how the platform is accessed.

Take a look at the platform functions, according to recent data from each platform and Statista, YouTube is accessed 50 percent of the time on mobile, whereas Facebook is at 95.1 percent and Instagram is at 100 percent.

This means that when creating content for YouTube, you should pay equal attention to mobile and desktop access, whereas Facebook and Instagram should lean more heavily toward mobile usage.

In closing

You’ll want to keep these three tips at the forefront of your digital marketing and content strategy so that you quickly adapt your brand to the changing video and media environments of today.

Remember, the overarching difference in paid media targeting online versus traditional targeting is the more refined, specific targeting of individuals, which ultimately leads to higher attention and intensity, as well as greater returns.

With all of these advancements, online media has many new metrics which you absolutely must utilize to expand your reach and retention far beyond that of traditional paid media.

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