Watch Your Video Ad Engagement Soar: 5 Tips for Marketers

Opinion: The traditional mindset of TV advertising won’t work

What does it take to build a successful video campaign in today’s digital landscape? s-cphoto/iStock

Cisco expects video to represent 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2019. Not only that: 64 percent of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video, according to comScore.

Video growth is driven by the dominance of Facebook and Google—as Cory Henke says, video offers “the most valuable impression on the web.”

Predictions show that this isn’t a passing trend, and in this environment, shifting to video can be a winning strategy—but not with the traditional mindset of TV advertising.

So, what does it take to build a successful video campaign in today’s digital landscape?

  1. Select the right distribution platform for your video: There isn’t one right answer for which platform—Facebook or YouTube—to use for video distribution. The best option depends on your audience, your goals and the video itself. One of the biggest distinctions is that when a user goes to Facebook, he or she is in browse mode and don’t know what content they’re going to get. On the other hand, YouTube is a video-centric platform where users are demonstrating specific intent to consume video content.
  2. Use the power of the unexpected: When a video presents users with a surprising outcome or perspective, they’re very likely to watch another related video and stay engaged with your brand. This results in earned views, which can be tracked inside AdWords and help you determine which video to use at the top of the funnel. When you create a video that gives the user an unexpected experience, you’re giving them something to think about and building a stickier brand presence.
  3. Qualify your audience: Every targeting option added to YouTube video increases overall campaign cost, so it’s important to reach the right audience at the most efficient CPM (cost per thousand impressions). By creating a video that appeals to your target audience with clues at the beginning of the video, it’s likely that your audience will qualify itself or self-select. The result: lower cost and a far more targeted audience. For example, a brand targeting female shoppers may pay one cent per view, but this amount rises to seven cents to reach moms of a specific income level. If you select females as your audience and open with video creative of a mom holding a baby, the target audience—females with children—is likely to be the primary viewers that continue watching after the first 30 seconds. This approach can keep costs at one cent per view and gets the same result as if you’d selected more restrictive targeting parameters.
  4. Use cross-channel alignment: Because Facebook and Google dominate the digital advertising landscape, 75 percent of the time users spend online is on one of these platforms (including YouTube for Google and Instagram or WhatsApp for Facebook). This means that as a customer moves through the sales funnel from consideration to conversion, they bounce naturally between Google and Facebook properties. You can increase engagement and conversions by advertising on both channels and presenting users with a consistent brand experience. The key is structuring your advertising programs around the users’ needs, and not running campaigns in silo on a specific channel. Users hop effortlessly cross-channel, and your advertising (and messaging) should do the same.
  5. Leverage intent signals to refine the audience: Target your videos to one of the following audience types:
  • Core audiences: This type of audience is typically targeted by gender, age or interest and refers to the basic demographic and interest-based audience traditionally used to target ads. To find this audience, use the targeting options that Facebook and Google offer.
  • Custom audiences: By using first-party data, you can determine a unique audience interested in your product. By uploading customer and prospect data from your customer-relationship-management system to the publisher, you can target specific customers. You can also use behavioral information to segment audiences, such as people who’ve been to your website, and deeper segments based on what they actually did on your website—pages viewed, items placed in the cart or white paper downloads.
  • Lookalike audiences: For this type of audience, both Facebook and Google allow you to expand off your first-party data to find people who look similar to your existing customers. Because these people are more likely to convert, the cost for this level of targeting is typically higher.

As marketers consider video campaigns, simple changes can often lead to impressive returns. By starting small, marketers can gain video expertise and learn what works for their audience. The key is in measuring and optimizing, and the only real mistake is to not embrace video advertising at all.

Wesley MacLaggan is senior vice president of marketing at cross-channel advertising platform Marin Software.