SEO should be an essential part of any brands marketing agenda if they want to reach their target audience, but by contrast, video SEO, and video marketing are too often seen as a sideline venture. Search Engine Optimization strategies will include goals such as aiming to secure X% of the search space, however, the internet’s 2nd biggest search engine - YouTube - is often overlooked, or given too little marketing resources.
With 18-34 Year olds watching 53% more online video than ever, and video consumption sky-rocketing across all devices, investing in video content, marketing, and advertising should be at the very top of every brand's digital marketing strategy. In this post I will explain how video marketing can help in all aspects of online promotion.
YouTube: Every Brand Needs a Presence
Let’s start with YouTube. It is the largest video search engine in the world, and we watch 6 Billion hours of video on the site every month. Its search algorithm, unsurprisingly, is pretty similar to Google’s web search algorithm - just with a higher churn rate. Winning in this space isn’t just about the metadata, although this is an integral part. Unlike Google search results, on YouTube you can have your own custom thumbnail next to your link to help users identify with your brand, and your brands content.
Next we should look at the YouTube signed-in homepage, like the Facebook news feed or Twitter feed, this displays the most relevant content based on that user's subscriptions or likes along with trending content on the platform. Remember those custom thumbnails we have in search results? Well now they become even more relevant. Not only will YouTube give us our own row of thumbnails if that user is a subscriber to our channel, but if our content trends we get to go to the top of the page.
Finally we look at where most users spend most of their time, the watch pages of YouTube. Most traffic to YouTube videos, aside from paid advertising, will come from here, and from recommendations down the right hand side of the watch page. YouTube will automatically give the channel that hosts the video the user is watching the top 4 slots. With good SEO you can potentially win a lot more of this real estate and remain visible on the page the whole time the user is watching the content they’ve chosen.
Custom thumbnails appear here too, which essentially means free display impressions through clever use of images. Believe it or not this post isn’t just about custom thumbnails but I hope it’s gone some way to convincing you to think about them more when planning video strategies and SEO activity.
Google: How Video Marketing Can Help with Visibility
Ok so now for Google web search results. YouTube video SEO also counts towards web search results so this makes our opportunities to view far greater than web search alone. An active YouTube channel that has been well optimized has every chance of appearing in Universal Search results. That strategy alone should be worth using video SEO, but there are some other options also worth noting. By linking your G+ profile to your YouTube account, you can auto share your content across the G+ network but more than that, given G+ belongs to Google, this activity can also appear in the “more info” box that appears to the right of search results. There’s also the Google “Video Results” page for displaying individual videos much like YouTube search results.
Saving the best for last, I want to draw your attention to the large format video search result that started appearing on Google a couple of months ago. When Google thinks you’re looking for a video it will display a video with large thumbnail as the top result in the Google web search page, this kind of result is very common now when searching for music.
Brands Need to Use All Data Available to Create Video Content
Traditionally we’ve made adverts for TV then found some channels/programming where we think it fits (I realize there is a bit more to it than that but stay with me). This often extends to the rest of the campaign, the OOH, print, and digital will often be planned to compliment the TVC. I’m happy to tell you that we don’t have to do it like this any more!
We have a plethora of data available to us which we already use all the time for lots of other things like targeting media or understanding consumer behavior. We can use this data to make more intelligent campaigns and then make content that fits those campaigns. This Burger King campaign is actually a very good example of this:
You’ll notice in this example they used a mix of broad and niche targeting, “Korean baby plays the guitar” would be a target on that specific placement whereas “music video” is pretty broad.
Research Your Audience to Determine What They Want
There are a few good tools out there that can help you find out what kind of content audiences are consuming and engaging with, including but not limited to; Google Trends, YouTube Trends, the Viral Video Chart, and Tubular. Google even have an internal tool that can give us real-time data on category watch times. By utilizing this data effectively we can get a grasp of what our content needs to look like and where our audience consumes content online. Then all we need to do is look at our KPI’s and messaging to inform what to include in our content to achieve those KPI’s.
Like the Burger King example above, we needn’t restrict ourselves to one piece of content either. Different audiences consume different content in different ways and they will respect being talked to in their own language.
Remember to take into account any reactive opportunities for example if it rains, or if England win the World Cup, look at what’s coming up culturally and tap into those opportunities. When thinking reactively make sure you’re utilizing your social audience across Facebook and Twitter like in the outstanding Bodyform example below
Plan Your Video Content Strategy Ahead of Time
Doing the above ground work will give you the opportunity to “get your house in order” ahead of time, make sure all your videos are aligned for video EO, map out your end boards so you know what journey your audience is likely to go on.
Make it a fully integrated campaign too. Use paid advertising to back up your YouTube campaigns, and reference other creative in your digital campaigns. Link your G+ to your YouTube account, because not only will this allow you to create those ever valuable remarketing lists but you can auto share to G+ giving you more chance of owning additional real estate on Google web search results.
As an industry we have been consumed with educating brands that simply putting your TV advert on YouTube and running some TrueView advertising against that content, doesn’t mean you have an online video strategy. I’m not saying don’t put your TV advert online, because that strategy can work and get good results, but there’s more to it than this. Neither am I saying don’t act like a YouTuber, again please do act like a YouTuber, Hero, Hub, Hygiene is a good strategy, it’s just not the only strategy.
Create Content for Targeted Video Advertising
The 2014 “year of video” has seen some brands thinking a little more “outside the box” and we have seen some great campaigns off the back of it. Lets start with the skippable ad format, of which many ads are created especially for.
It’s easy to assume that the Trueview format has an effective CPM of £70 based on a CPV of £0.07 but for this to be true we have to disregard every impression of 30 seconds or less (or the end of the video, whichever is sooner). When thinking about making creative for skippable ad formats you should be telling your branding message in the unskippable 5 seconds before skip button appears. If the user doesn’t skip they’re prequalified to be interested in what you have to say so use any time after that to remessage to that user.
This strategy allows us to utilize the pre-skip creative, meaning we can now work out our eCPM based on impressions rather than post 30 second views. This Superdrug commercial is a great example of this.
Get The Content Right & Serve it to The Right Viewer
Now we’re thinking more digitally I’d like to move on to targeting. For years we have made adverts for our brands then inserted them into contextual environments that measure highly for our target audience. Now we can specifically target these audiences, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as we do it all the time in display, social, etc. We can target people by the following categories:
- Contextually – Viewer is watching a car video therefore we serve them a car advert
Interest or Cookie data – This extends to “in-market” (you search for things like “I want to buy a new car” often and visit sites like Autotrader)
- Placement – You are going to watch the “Mercedes Vs BMW Reviewed” video therefore I will serve you an Audi ad
- Geographic – You are within 10 miles of my Audi dealership therefore etc etc
- Demographic – You are male/female and 18-24, 25-34 etc etc
Using a mix of, or indeed all of them, means the advertiser can get the content right and, also get the right content to the right user. This can either be 'You’re interested in Cars and are in the market to buy' or 'You’re within 10 miles of my dealership, and you’re watching the latest feature video for the new Audi A3 so I will serve you a video with messaging along the lines of “swing by for a test drive, we’ll even throw in XY&Z”.
So, think about your audience and create a campaign that fits into their world. Know that we don’t have to “push” our videos down their throat anymore.