Everywhere you look in the marketing industry today people are talking up the importance of online video, but for busy marketers the very thought can be overwhelming. Certainly video is seen as increasingly important to digital platform holders and there are some good reasons it makes sense for marketers too:
1. Extending reach and improving TV efficiency
It’s pretty clear that people are still watching an awful lot of traditional TV and it remains a powerful tool for marketers. Having said that, there’s increasing evidence that diverting 10-20%, depending on market maturity, of TV budgets to YouTube will straight up improve a campaign simply by adopting a platform-neutral and people-focused approach. Creatively you can arguably just use a good TV advert online, though there are ways to tweak or develop specific executions.
YouTube helps extend a campaign’s reach to lighter TV viewers without sacrificing much frequency for heavy TV viewers. Using the CCS planner tool and our global Google partnership I’ve seen this modelled for a wide range of markets, with impressive results each time. What’s more, using Nielsen XCR analysis, we’ve been able to look back on campaigns and validate the additional reach driven by YouTube. Brands like Cadbury have also shown that even for consumers who ultimately end up seeing both TV and online advertising the combined effect can be far more effective than the sum of its parts.
2. Lengthening campaigns and improving coverage
There’s increasing evidence from the likes of Byron Sharp that top-of-mind awareness is one of the key purchase drivers across a wide range of industries. The clear media implication is a need to be on air all year round, but this is often challenging given campaign-led approaches and the sizes of media budgets.
Online video represents a powerful and controllable opportunity to fill the gaps between campaigns. There are also creative opportunities, such as super-user partnerships, which make it possible to create additional content in a flexible and affordable way. I must stress here that serious marketers should be looking to drive meaningful paid scale behind every execution. Realistically you can’t drive true media continuity just by posting content and hoping people find it.
3. Activating low-budget brands
I work with large multi-brand businesses, which have to ruthlessly prioritise which brands they support, often leaving some real gems in the dark. Whilst it might be hard to justify a multi-million pound TV campaign, an online video initiative can drive meaningful reach and business results and scale down to much smaller budgets.
However, most marketers massively underestimate the amount they should or could spend on online video, and as a result only tap into a fraction of the audience. For a big brand that spends millions on TV it’s time that YouTube budgets were six figures, not just five. When you include the impact of partial/skipped views (which have been shown to still be very powerful) then you start to see the huge potential scale that is currently ignored.
4. Reach places closer to purchase opportunities
Consumption of TV advertising is by definition limited to a specific location (a room within your house) and often a time of day (evenings when you are home from work). Video consumption on mobile phones, which suffers none of these limitations, continues to sky-rocket. People are consuming video content throughout the day, in a wide variety of locations, putting them much closer to many potential purchase opportunities. Increasingly this also includes the opportunity to reach new consumers in developing markets for the very first time, though data access can be a challenge here.
Almost without trying, brands will find that something like a third of their paid YouTube activity already lands on mobile, but the opportunity to specifically target and optimise for it is only just being explored. There are some key creative watch-outs, in particular that sound is often muted or that attention spans are even shorter on smaller screens.
5. Doing things only online can
Beyond the clear traditional marketing benefits are a range of factors unique to online. Being able to cap the frequency of adverts for users in order to prevent over-exposure is a TV planner’s dream, and yet an everyday reality online.
Personalisation is a huge field that few brands have explored. The opportunity to reach people with subtly or radically different creatives based on who they are and what they’re doing should be the next frontier in digital. Targeting also allows us to tell sequential stories to the same consumer, building a stronger narrative over time or even actively pushing them along a purchase funnel. One final thing that we shouldn’t forget is the ability to click on online video: certainly video advertising is hugely powerful when passively consumed but when it’s online there is also an option to click immediately and explore or even buy something.
For most brands online video won’t begin to truly replace TV until there’s a much more substantial shift in consumer media consumption, but very few brands are yet maximising the huge opportunity that is already there. And don’t forget the future. Viewing habits are beginning to radically change and marketers would do well to understand how their marketing can too.
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