Lisa Gevelber, the VP of Americas Marketing at Google, wrote an article entitled, “Why Consumer Intent Is More Powerful than Demographics,” which was recently published on Think with Google. The critical data and strategic insights in her article gave me a giant whack on the side of my head. I suddenly realized that video marketers – and video advertisers – may not be targeting the right audiences. So, let me begin by sharing why starting with consumer intent can help you reach more of the right people than demographics alone – especially if consumers are mobile shoppers.

Gevelber says, “When someone has a want or need, they turn to their smartphone for help – whether it’s a karate newbie watching an expert do a move on YouTube or a mom looking for the best deal on a pair of sneakers. When a need arises, people turn to search and YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions.” Then, she shares the findings of two different studies to back up her thought provoking point of view.

Advertisers Missing Out on Their Potential Audience

The first is an analysis of mobile search and video behavior by Millward Brown Digital, which was conducted in U.S. from January to June 2015. It states that only 31% of mobile searchers for video games are men ages 18 to 34 - so advertisers are missing 69% of their potential audience who engage with the relevant YouTube content if they only target that demographic.

And the video game market isn’t the exception to the rule. Gevelber shares some more data from the “Mobile Purchasers & Influencers Report” by Google/Ipsos MediaCT, which was conducted in August 2015. This research found that 40% of baby product consumers actually live in homes without children! And their #1 way of finding out about these baby and children products is via a search engine - whether that's Google, or YouTube.

But wait, there’s more. In the middle of Gevelber’s article is an infographic that shows other examples of potential customers you might be missing. For example, 56% of sporting goods searchers on mobile are women, and 68% of skin and body care influencers in the past six months were men.

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Consumer Intent Beats Consumer Identity

But, B2C marketers aren’t the only ones who can harness intent. In another report, “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing,” which was published on Think with Google in March 2015, were the following surprising findings:

·        Nearly half of all B2B researchers are millennials.

·        B2B researchers who are not in the c-suite influence purchase decisions.

·        71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search.

·        Mobile usage is intensifying; B2B researchers are using it throughout their entire path.

In addition, 70% of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. That's a 52% jump in only two years. And it's not just light viewing. According to U.S. YouTube data, over 895,000 hours of some of the top B2B videos from brands were watched in 2014. Nearly half of these researchers are viewing 30 minutes or more of B2B-related videos during their research process, and almost one in five watch over an hour of content.

Targeted Video Advertising: Getting it Right

So, what should video marketers – and video advertisers – do with this critical data and these strategic insights?

For starters, you can fill in the gaping hole in the YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands. It includes a lot of useful information for building a content plan, creating great content, scheduling your content, optimizing your content, promoting your content, amplifying with social, and measuring your results. But there isn’t a section on identifying, segmenting, or targeting the right audiences. Well, there was a short-lived effort back in April 2013 to provide five tailored Playbook Guides – for education, media companies, music, nonprofits, and sports. But those appear to have disappeared.

In addition, it’s time to take a second look at all the different methods that are available for targeting video ads beyond demographic groups. For example, TrueView video ads can run across 90% of the Internet  as well as on YouTube. According to comScore, the Google Display Network reaches over 90% of Internet users worldwide through 2 million sites, including YouTube. By targeting your TrueView video ads, you can reach consumers at the exact moment they are searching for your product or service. Marketers can choose their audience by interests, keywords, topics, as well as via features like video remarketing.

In summary, I think Gevelber has provided video marketers – and video advertisers – with lots of critical data as well as some strategic insights. And I agree with her that understanding intent is the best way to meet consumers in the moments that matter. What we need now is a just tad more tactical advice in different industries as well as in B2B markets.