At the ReelSEO Video Marketing Summit, the panel, "Best Practices to Optimize the Video Advertising Opportunity," was the penultimate session of the day. It was moderated by Digital Media Consultant Julie Perry, and included TubeMogul's VP of Marketing, Keith Eadie; Google's Head of Industry-Retail, Alex Barza; Essence's Media Director, Mary Griffin; and Mediasmith's Director of Insights and Technology, Marcus Pratt.
Once all the introductions and everything got out of the way, Julie Perry made mention that the ad spend in 2013 would be $4 billion. She tells clients when it comes to an ad they want to run to think backwards in the video's life cycle. Instead of figuring out what the ad is going to be right off the bat, you need to figure out where it's going to run, and what format it will run in, and work all the way back to the creative stage.
Video Ad Platforms & Networks - Placement Opportunities
(Many responses are paraphrased and edited)
Keith Eadie gives a brief history of how ads have evolved: Before any of the intermediaries existed, an advertiser had to call each website on their own, and if they wanted to aggregate eyeballs, they were calling 200-300 sites, writing up 200-300 contracts, and getting 200-300 reports. Obviously inefficient. Ad networks rose up (Tremor, Brightroll, YuMe). They're doing great, but there are some shortcomings, and because of those shortcomings, Ad Exchanges cropped up (TubeMogul, LiveRail) that try to bring all the inventory sources together.
Marcus Pratt: We've embraced the platform model that TubeMogul has. You can reach nearly anyone on a variety of websites. But there are a lot of sites that are inaccessible. Like with Hulu. If you want to buy an ad on Hulu, you either have to go to them directly or go to the individual networks to buy ads on a show like Modern Family. And even if you do, it will be bundled in with a broadcast media buy. Those are pretty much locked up, unlike what you deal with when it comes to YouTube where most of it is accessible.
Mary Griffin: I think there's some interesting things coming up in the native space. For instance, Sharethrough has an engine where you can insert your video content, and it populates it on numerous blogs and websites and will make it look like it's part of the content that the users are reading. For us, we deal with ad networks but it's a very scary place for us to put brands because there isn't that much control. TubeMogul is definitely filling a void with having transparency.
But even with the large player ad networks that specialize in video there's still an element of the less-respectable activity we saw with standard display networks is creeping up more and more as they try to drive scale and reach. So we try to strike a strong balance of having control and insight to where the video is running.
Alex Barza talked about TrueView ads. If you want an education on those, click here.
He continues: When we surveyed people nine out of ten preferred the TrueView format as opposed to being forced to watch a pre-roll ad. So it's worked extremely well for us. We also have a 24-hour exclusive "Road Block" on the home page that delivers 60 million impressions per day. We've seen a number of advertisers do this with huge product launches (the one that was on YouTube that day was for Fox's movie The Wolverine). We also realize that we need to innovate for mobile in everything we do, so everything I've just talked about works seamlessly on mobile.
Video Advertising Metrics, KPIs/Goals
Eadie: You can have whatever kind of goal you want. Just make sure you know what it is going in. Don't think you can achieve multiple goals simultaneously. We've got a lot of research that shows that clicks and brand awareness are inversely correlated. So if you're trying to optimize for clicks running a brand campaign, it generally does not work. I'd say 90-95 percent of the ads we run are brand metric-driven campaigns.
Completions are a very good proxy, brand lift, and we have an integrated survey model that can measure all of those brand metrics as the campaign runs.
Pratt: You can use video to sell a product, but that can be more expensive than using say, Google AdWords. You can look for traffic to your website, engagement beyond completion rate such as, "Are people engaging with the interactive pre-roll?"
Griffin: One thing I'd add to that is we look at how video affects our other channels. Is it going to increase our brand searches? Can it increase conversation rates for our down-funnel activity, or even offline activity--for instance, we'll increase video activity in a certain market where they are using direct mail and see direct mail conversion go up.
Barza: There's one example I'd like to highlight. TRX is a company that makes exercise equipment. they used TrueView and they decreased average cost-per-conversion by 65 percent. And in the last holiday season they found that 7 percent of their online sales came from TrueView.
Video Ad Formats
Eadie: While they might be annoying, pre-roll ads are the most cost-effective. And we've found that when brands run their ad on TV and then run that same ad as a pre-roll online actually increases brand lift.
Barza: I think skippable ads do make a bit of a difference. Ipsos recently did a study that said 85 percent of people who elect to watch an ad are highly engaged versus ones who are forced to watch a pre-roll, that number drops by about 50 percent.
Pratt: Obviously people aren't going to ask for more advertising. If TV ads were skippable, people would skip them, but they aren't so they kind of have to deal with it. So on one hand, I feel like people should stop complaining if they have to watch a 15-second pre-roll ad for their free content, but on the other hand, I think publishers have done a disservice to their users by putting a 15-second ad in front of a 90-second video.
Griffin: We see that about 80 percent of people skip ads. We have sort of a reach issue because people who choose to watch your ad probably already like your brand. So trying to get out there to talk to people, or get them to change their perception of your brand is really difficult with skippable ads. I'd like to add it's wildly expensive if you think about it. You can pay 10 cents for a view, but that's a $100 CPM. You would never go out and spend $100 CPM on video. So you have to get around the economy of it before you say, 'Oh, it's so efficient and inexpensive.' So you have to think about who's going to be watching and what that view means to you.
Going Beyond the Pre-Roll
Griffin: The landscape of value exchange is very interesting. 'If you watch this ad from a brand advertiser, we'll give you value.' Like on Facebook there's a company called Kiip. If you do something positive, and this is across all apps...like complete a 10-mile run, you get congratulations from a brand, watch this video.
Pratt: There's this concept that advertisers or marketers should start acting more like newsrooms. They produce full television shows and they're brought to you by a brand. 'The Cottonelle Family let's see what they're up to.' We've seen some success there but that probably won't work for 99 percent of people. If you're a brand that creates a thirty minute program, it better be something really good for me to watch that. If you're looking for a piece of content and there's something that says, 'Hey, watch this other video,' and I'm opting in and engaged, then you might get me to stay for a little while longer.
Garza: Marcus was talking a little bit about TrueView in Search. People are searching for your products and services on YouTube it's a great opportunity to be there. I'm constantly surprised by brands who don't search on their own brand terms on YouTube to see what comes up and see what the experience is like. See if your discoverable and present.
We're trying out other products. There's one where we highlight annotations and everything you see around the person in the video is clickable. You can click on the product and it will take you to the product page. This is how we're trying to tie-in commerce with video.
Eadie: Brands often come to us with these branded content pieces. And they can't run those on pre-roll, you can only run them in display or in social. So the best option is to run them on social in Facebook. You can get inside Facebook games and apps. We find that's some of the most successful video formats.
Video Advertising Tips
Eadie: Should it be repurposed TV or custom? If you're trying to drive awareness, use the TV spot, because when you use the two mediums, it drives the awareness up. If you're trying to drive purpose intent and drive the DR goals then custom made-for-web video works better.
Pratt: No matter what you're doing, be sure it's engaging right from the beginning. Think about 3-5 seconds to get somebody's attention. Even if they don't have a skip function, if it's not entertaining they may look at another tab, they may look away, they may hit mute.
Griffin: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There's a lot of companies who want to sell you a lot of stuff and be wary of all the "bests" and "lowest prices" and so forth. There's a lot of opportunity for video to be sold as a pre-roll but it's actually an in-banner video that is auto-play, a terrible place to be for your brand. So, always have that skepticism when you're going into this.
Garza: Make it really engaging and capture the viewer's attention. And shorter tends to be better: 15-second works a little bit better than 30-second, but there are instances where longer works better, like with movie trailers.