Archive for November, 2017
In the online video space, it can be a constant, albeit rewarding, battle to keep on top of best practices to ensure you leverage the most out of your programming and distribution strategy. With the main social video platforms constantly evolving their features and algorithms, and users, in tandem, changing the way they consume and engage with video, the onus is on publishers to understand the impact that these changes have – both in the short term, and in the longer term too. To further complicate things, not only do best practices differ from platform to platform, they also differ from genre to genre, and from target audience to target audience.
As the vice president of audience & platforms for Kin Community, a digital media and entertainment company that inspires women to discover and create the life they want through video content and community, I focus on the data-driven insights that drive the heart of our business model. Stellar insights not only propel our programming and distribution strategy around social video, they help us develop up-to-the minute, and constantly evolving best practices across all of our video initiatives.
Now, together with Tubular Labs, I’m excited to let you take a peek behind the curtain into what kind of best practice guidelines we follow in order to build top-line revenue for Kin Community, and ensure our family of channels are fully supported. Click the link below to download our exclusive report, and to watch our in-depth webinar. You’ll learn first hand how to ‘Find Your Own Best Practices’ and create a strategy for success in online video. The report is full of actionable takeaways that you can put into place today!
The report and webinar will arm you with the knowledge and tools to deeply understand your audience’s wants, needs and behaviors so you can shape your video to super serve your one-of-a-kind community. You’ll get insights into the best practices that work, and learn concrete skills that allow you to find your own data, and understand what your own audience connects with. The webinar and deck take a deep-dive into:
- Understanding the metrics that matter for your social video content
- How to optimise for YouTube and Facebook algorithms
- How to further develop your Audience Development strategy
- How to use data to inform your video content strategy
- How to increase your Audience Retention rate
- How to find your sweet spot when it comes to Audience Overlap
- How to balance your video upload schedule
- The basics of A/B testing your video uploads
- How Kin Community uses Tubular to find the insights that matter
Social Video: Find Your Own Best Practices
Best practices are so genre and audience specific that universal best practices around social – or short-form – video differ are rare. However, when a platform changes their algorithm it does start a ripple effect in user behavior that affects all video content.
Take Facebook for example. As of last January, best practice for publishing native video to the site was to keep the length around 30-45 seconds, but then Facebook updated its algorithm to favour longer videos around 1 to 2 minutes in length. Now, since the launch of Facebook Watch in August 2017, at Kin Community, we’re seeing increased views and engagement for videos up to 3 minutes in length and decreased views and engagement for videos one minute and below. In fact, in the last 30 days, our second most-viewed native upload to Facebook came in at 3 minutes and 49 seconds!
Aside from the (very) regular algorithmic updates deployed by the major social video platforms, human behaviour also plays a huge part in the way video is consumed, and then engaged with. Your team’s best practices have to take into consideration audience-specific activity, and the objective has to be to understand the motives behind the way that audience may or may not respond to your online video strategy.
Your own particular audience is going to differ from that of Kin Community’s depending on genre, demographics, range of interest and many other factors that make your audience one-of-a-kind. Our audience is primarily Millennial women who love home and lifestyle content, but the insights we give in the report and the webinar will give you a heads-up in developing your own in-house strategies for online video success, based around your own vertical & unique audience
Get the Latest Actionable Insights on Best Practices for Social Video
Gwen Miller, VP of Audience and Platforms for Kin Community, together with Allison Stern, CMO and co-founder of Tubular Labs took a deep-dive into best practices around video on the main social platforms. Together, they answer the questions that the industry is asking around which metrics to measure, how to increase audience retention, and how to optimise for the algorithms on Facebook and YouTube. You can watch the webinar now on playbook, and download the exclusive deck around best practices by clicking the link below.
One of the must-attend sessions at Advertising Week this year was “Storytelling Is Dead.” It was billed as a seminar by Raja Rajamannar, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Mastercard, but I was expecting a wake. Hey, storytelling has been very, very good for me so, I wasn’t really looking forward to hearing some guy from a credit card company tell me that “Mastercard believes we need to stop being great storytellers.” But, boy, was I wrong.
How To Break Through to Your Customers
Rajamannar defines “storytelling” as talking at consumers. And, since the “Mad Men” era, brands have used advertising to broadcast their stories at a large audience of consumers. But, it’s stopped working. He told the audience of advertisers in the Liberty Theatre, “Latest reports state that there are over 600 million devices running ad block software, and the message from consumers is clear: Stop interrupting me – I don’t want to see your ads. At the same time, consumers are constantly connected and literally have the power to make or break a brand at their fingertips. So how do you break through and engage with consumers?”
Good question. And Rajamannar had a good answer. He said, “Against the digital transformation landscape and changing consumer behavior, Mastercard believes … it is time to put consumers at the center of our efforts; it’s time to be great story-makers.”
Time out. Aren’t “story-makers” the same Mad Men (and women) that we used to call “storytellers”? Doesn’t Mastercard still have McCann-Erickson as its agency of record? Is this just a new variation on “the King is dead; long live the King” expression that the British have been using for centuries?
No, this is a much bigger idea. Rajamannar said “story-making” is the combination of “art, science, and necessity” that was developed as a response to a “society where the pace of technology and information exchange only continues to speed up; and where consumers only allow brands a few mere moments to make or break a relationship.”
Consumers Value Experiences Over Things
Rajamannar explained, “Studies show and retail sales data supports that today, consumers value experiences over things. Mastercard’s Priceless campaign – now in its 20th year – was founded on the insight that experiences matter more than things, but the way it is executed today is much different. Mastercard has evolved its Priceless strategy from a single traditional advertising campaign to a holistic experiential-led marketing platform.” Now, I know what you’re thinking: “What the heck is a holistic experiential-led marketing platform?” Here’s Rajamannar’s definition: “Mastercard is transforming into an experiential brand by doing 3 things:
- Focusing on consumers’ passions,
- Building experiential platforms.
- Creating products/technologies that change lives for the better.
“We’ve moved our brand promise from being the ‘best way to pay’ to ‘connecting people to Priceless possibilities.’” That’s a big idea.
Here’s the backstory: About four years ago, Mastercard developed a strategic framework – called “Marketing 4.0” – which recognized just how important “connections” had become and realized that the Priceless campaign should not be limited to traditional advertising.
Rajamannar explained, “Over the years, marketers have used various techniques to relate with consumers. Marketing 1.0 was the era of logic/rational side of the brain and very focused on products’ features and benefits. In that era, brands underscored messaging like ‘new,’ ‘improved,’ and ‘best seller’ – brands like Dyson did this product-focused marketing well. In Marketing 2.0, the era of emotion, we saw brands like Coca-Cola appealing to emotions with their ‘open happiness’ campaign, and of course our own Priceless campaign, which was founded in the insight that ‘experiences matter more than things.’ Amazon stands out in the era of Marketing 3.0, where extensive data and intensive data analytics drive marketing. And now in Marketing 4.0 – it is the new era of connections. We view this as the era of connecting people to what truly matters to them. Simply put, this is because the world has changed and arguably people do not want brands to waste their time or attention.”
However, this strategic insight had consequences. Rajamannar said, “To win with today’s consumer, we need to go way beyond showing priceless experiences in commercials, to giving our cardholders the tools to create their own. We need to move from ‘simply’ observing priceless moments to enabling priceless experiences.” Rajamannar also shared several stories – pun intended – that illustrate how Mastercard’s efforts are energizing its brand and driving its business.
A Masterclass in Storytelling from Mastercard
Uwe Bindel is no ordinary soccer fan. He has gone to jaw-dropping lengths to support his beloved FC Bayern Münich: from defying the Stasi as a teenager in communist East Berlin, to choosing a UEFA Champions League match over his 20th wedding anniversary holiday.
Uwe believed he was taking part in a documentary on “Über-fans,” but little did he know he was about to be surprised by his idol, Bayern Munich midfield legend and Germany’s most capped player of all time Lothar Matthäus. To celebrate their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League in advance of the 2015 Final in Berlin, MasterCard arranged this Priceless Surprise to thank the passion of football fans … but also the fans behind those fans.
Or, see what happened when Pharrell Williams surprised his fan Queen, while she was running a playgroup.
And, to celebrate The BRIT Awards 2016, Mark Ronson and MasterCard brought together 6 fans who had previously covered Uptown Funk online ? Anna Shields & Blair Crichton, The Ayoub Sisters, Ross Campbell and John Atkins ? to create a brand new cover, and share their Priceless Surprise with Ronson himself.
Americans are familiar with Mastercard’s Stand Up To Cancer program. It’s one of several Priceless Causes that the brand supports. For example, here’s what the Priceless Causes program has done for the World Food Program.
Also, Priceless Cities is a global MasterCard program designed to enable MasterCard cardholders to live unique experiences and receive benefits that add value to their lives. For example, you can experience the magic of New York City on a night like no other. From The Modern, to Jimmy and Center Bar, enjoy wonderful food paired against the backdrop of the dramatic cityscape.
Mastercard: Storytelling and Sponsored Videos
According to Tubular’s breakthrough DealMaker software , sponsored videos are also part of Mastercard’s “holistic experiential-led marketing platform.” The brand has 76 partners that have made 798 videos, which have a total of 45.5 million views and over 1.3 million engagements. For example, “How far would you go?” was uploaded to UEFA Champion League’s Facebook page on April 19, 2017. It currently has 2.4 million views and 15,000 engagements.
Now, that’s taking story-making to a level that traditional storytellers only reach once in a blue moon. It’s the difference between creating a priceless experience for your customers that they want to share with their friends, family, and colleagues and merely telling a story – even one with emotion – about the features and benefits of your products or services. That’s a very big idea.
According to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Complete Forecast, there will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users by 2021, up from 1.4 billion in 2016. The world will be watching 3 trillion minutes of Internet video per month by 2021, which is 5 million years of video per month. And video will continue to dominate overall Internet traffic – representing 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021, up from 67% in 2016. Let’s just take another look at those numbers:
- Video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021
- There will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users by 2021
- They’ll be watching 3 trillion minutes of video per month by 2021
Now, Cisco began making these kinds of forecasts in 2006, so maybe the latest one doesn’t create the kind of future shock that the first one did. Or, maybe human beings have difficulty trying to comprehend incomprehensibly large numbers. So, let’s try to break Cisco’s forecasts down into something slightly more manageable for video marketers to understand and act upon.
1.9B Internet Video Users by 2021
Traditional marketers love big numbers. So, they’ll be tempted to use Cisco’s data, which shows the number of Internet video users growing from 1.4 billion in 2016 to 1.9 billion in 2021, to make internet video appear to be a mass medium. But, it isn’t.
For starters, Cisco projects the number of Internet users with increase from 3.3 billion in 2016 to 4.6 billion in 2021. So, only 42% of Internet users were video users last year, and this percentage will actually dip to 41% four years from now. Oh, and 4.6 billion Internet users represented just 58% of the global population. So, less than 24% of the global population in 2021 will be Internet video users. So, video marketers shouldn’t jump to the mistaken conclusion that the “reach” everyone. They don’t.
But, video marketers can and do reach large segments of the global population. It’s just that they live in more than 88 countries and speak a total of 76 different languages. And while some segments are watching videos for entertainment, others are looking at food-related content, such as recipes, and cooking demonstrations. Besides, you don’t need everyone to see your branded content, video ad, or sponsored campaign. You only need to reach the viewers who may be interested in what you offer. Unfortunately, most video marketers don’t make that effort. Nielsen surveyed more than 30,000 people around the world last year and found that 66% said most ads in video-on-demand content are for products they don’t want.
But, some video marketers have discovered the benefits of segmentation. For example, Anheuser-Busch’s Lime-A-Rita learned about the power of making relevant video ads for a segment of the market earlier this year. Although their brand awareness was high, this wasn’t translating into increased brand consideration.
That was until they honed in on a female audience and turned to contextual advertising – the practice of developing contextually targeted, hyper-relevant ads. The new approach drove double-digit brand favorability and purchase consideration lifts for Lime-A-Rita.
Now, social video platforms enable you to target video ads by location, demographics, and interests – which tends to work better if you make relevant video ads for each segment. As for branded content or sponsored campaigns, you won’t get very far these days by taking Henry Ford’s approach to mass marketing the Model T back in 1909: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
So, despite the fact that there will be nearly 1.9 billion Internet video users by 2021, focus on the segments that matter most to your brand or client. And whether you are creating branded content, video ads, or sponsored campaigns, it helps to know:
- Where your target viewers are: Are they located around the corner or around the world?
- Who your target viewers are: What is their age, sex, parental status and family income?
- What your target viewers like: Are they football fans or foodies?
They’ll be watching 3 trillion minutes of video per month by 2021
Cisco says, “It would take an individual more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2021.” Now, that would take binge watching into a whole different tribe of our ancestors, since the genus “humans” didn’t emerge until 2.5 million years ago.
But, why use the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month as your yardstick? Instead, let’s use the yardstick that YouTube created back in June 2007 and used another 24 times until June 2015: Hours of video uploaded per minute. Now, just because a video is uploaded doesn’t mean that anyone will watch it. But, it’s easier to get your head around an hour of video than it is to imagine the amount of video that will cross global IP networks in a month.
So, Cisco forecasts that 1 million minutes of video will streamed or downloaded every second in 2021. That’s 1 million hours of video every minute. Okay, so how long would it take for an individual to binge watch 1 million hours of video? The answer is: 114 years and 2 months. That’s how long it would take for an individual to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each minute in 2021.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Who in their right mind would want to be that guy or gal?” You’re right. No one would want to make it their life’s work to watch all the video that crossed global IP networks during a particular minute in 2021, unless, of course, that minute marked the discovery of intelligent life on a planet around another star.
Nevertheless, this puts a premium on getting your latest Internet video discovered. Given the abundance of videos already on the web and the plethora of new videos being uploaded every minute, it’s risky to assume that your content will be organically discovered by a large audience.
Video marketers have already experienced the prelude to this problem during the relatively short history of YouTube. In fact, when I wrote my first column for ReelSEO in July 2011, I was still utilizing keyword research tools and following the advice in the first version of the YouTube Creator Playbook, which said, “Write optimized titles, tags, and descriptions for your content.” By October 2012, “watch time” had replaced “relevance” as YouTube’s most important ranking factor. And it’s worth noting that ReelSEO became Tubular Insights in July 2016.
Today, if you look at what YouTube calls its “discovery optimization tips,” you won’t find any mention of keyword research tools at all. And, the advice that you’ll read says, “Use compelling titles for your videos that accurately represent the content.” So, “compelling” has replaced “optimized.” And “accurate” has replaced “relevant.” Oh, and there are eight times more tips about keeping viewers watching, organizing and programing your content, as well as using watch time, audience retention, and audience interaction reports to see what’s working.
So, this makes it even more important to build your subscriber base. Subscribers are your most loyal fans and will be notified of new videos and playlists to watch. It is also key to design a solid plan to promote your content and ensure it’s viewed by your target audience. Unless you already have millions of subscribers, you’ll need to seed your content when it launches. And, finally, the segment that you’re trying to reach already exists — you just need a lot more help than you needed in the old days to get these potential viewers to discover your newest videos. One effective method is to collaborate with established content creators who are already reaching your target segment. Another is to find the right content partner to reach the right audience, and get more engagement for less spend.
Video Will Represent 80% of All Internet Traffic by 2021
According to Cisco, Internet video streaming and downloads are beginning to take a larger share of bandwidth and will grow to more than 81% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021.
Cisco estimates that “emerging mediums” such as live Internet video will increase 15-fold and reach 13% of Internet video traffic by 2021. And Cisco estimates that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will increase 20-fold and represent 1% of global entertainment traffic. Now, these are the fast growing areas of the digital video marketing business – which may excite investors – but they only represent 1 day in 7 for most video marketers.
So, what constitutes the rest of the “internet video” traffic, which Cisco forecasts will “only” grow fourfold from 2016 to 2021, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of “just” 31%? Well, it includes short-form Internet video (e.g. YouTube), long-form Internet video (e.g. Hulu), Internet video to TV (e.g. Netflix through Roku), online video purchases and rentals, webcam viewing, and web-based video monitoring.
But, Cisco’s definition of “internet video” traffic excludes casual online gaming, networked console gaming, and multiplayer virtual-world gaming, which are in a whole other category, which is expected to grow 11-fold from 2016 to 2021, a CAGR of 62%. This constitutes another 5% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021.
What’s left? Well, Cisco forecasts that almost 10% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2021 will come from web, email, instant messaging, and other data traffic, while the remaining 3% will come from file sharing.
In other words, even the 19% of consumer internet traffic that isn’t counted as internet video includes a healthy dose of online gaming, videos in emails, and the sharing of video files. Among other things, this means that by the time today’s high school seniors graduate from college, reading, writing, and arithmetic will have been replaced by short-form, long-form, and live Internet video.
Now, I headed off to college with a portable typewriter. Each of my three kids headed off to college with laptop computer. But, imagine a world where the next generation signs up for Massive Open Online Courses with a smartphone. This isn’t science fiction. This is what the world will look like in 2021!
Why should video marketers lose sleep over this megatrend? Well, most institutions of higher education are not preparing students who major in marketing for careers in a video-first world. So, one of the line items in most marketing budgets that may grow fourfold from 2016 to 2021 is “training and development.” According to the most recent data available, companies spent, on average, over $1,200 per employee each year on training. So, they may be spending $4,800 per employee by 2021.
That’s right, brands and their agencies will need to spend money teaching their employees how to create five-minute videos as efficiently and effectively as their high school taught them to write five-paragraph essays and their college taught them to compose five-page term papers.
If training and developing internal marketing teams that are almost as good as Red Bull’s seems too daunting, then brands can always outsource video creation to the media companies and video influencers who are aligned with their brand and know how to build successful sponsored video campaigns. As for agencies that don’t have the inclination to invest in employee development, well, they’ll just have to acquire some new talent or re-invent themselves for this new era, won’t they?
These are the trends in the digital video marketing business that I’ve spotted by analyzing the critical data in the latest Cisco VNI forecast. If you’ve spotted some other trends, please share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Each year for the past three years, Activate has taken a deep dive into major consumer trends, technology innovations, and industry dynamics as part of the Wall Street Journal D.Live Conference. This year, the management consulting firm identified nine important insights that it predicts will shape or reshape the media industry in the year to come.
I’ve read all 140 slides in Activate’s deck on SlideShare and found that one of their surprising and unexpected insights is something that video marketers will want to know, analyze, and act on – “Big Influencers and Media Brands will Rule Web Video.” Let’s take a closer look at this key trend in the digital video marketing business.
Media Publishers & Influencers Generate Most Views Across Social Video
According to Activate, consumers will dramatically increase their overall time spent watching digital video from 2017 to 2021. Okay, that gentle breeze is not going to knock any leaves out of the trees. But, here’s what will: Activate says the top 1% of creators drive 94% of the views on YouTube.
To back up its prediction, Activate evaluated extensive Tubular Labs data on creators with over 10 million views on YouTube and found that 24% of these creators account for 71% of views. Over on Facebook, 26% of creators account for 77% of views. Both of these groups of top creators have over 50 million views on these social video platforms.
Activate’s analysis of Tubular’s data confirms that influencers and media companies make up 97% of YouTube views in this group of top video creators with more than 50 million views. And 98% of Facebook views come from influencers and media companies. Brands only make up 3% of the views on these platforms. Influencers are defined as personalities, celebrities or public figures with significant social presence. Media companies are defined as organizations whose primary business model is in production and/or distribution of content. This includes some professional influencer entities that have moved upstream.
How Brands Can Find the Right Content Partners to Work With
And here’s something that brands will want to know, analyze, and act on: Tubular Labs data shows that there is a greater ratio of influencers to media companies on YouTube (83% influencers to 17% media companies) and a roughly even ratio on Facebook (52% influencers to 48% media companies). So, if brands are looking for the right content partner to reach the right audience, and get more engagement for less spend, then they need to look in different categories on different platforms.
Activate analyzed the top five YouTube influencers by subscribers in four categories: How-to & Style (like Yuya), People & Blogs (like Roman Atwood), Comedy & Entertainment (like HolaSoyGerman), and Gaming (like elrubiusOMG) as of October 2017. The management consulting firm concluded: “Top web video influencers range across content areas and platforms.” Which may be an obvious statement, but a vital one if you are brand looking to work with the right influencer to reach the right target audience. Combined, these influencers have over 70 billion views on YouTube. And all of these influencers have a strong presence on a second platform, ranging from Instagram (13) or Twitch (5) to Facebook (2).
Activate also analyzed Tubular data for the top U.S. media company creators on YouTube and found 49% are in the Entertainment category (like Ellen), 22% are in Music & Dance (like Justin Bieber), and 9% are in News & Politics (like The Young Turks). Oh, and these media company creators include Smosh, which used to be recognized as an influencer but has recently worked on films produced by Lionsgate and Columbia Pictures, so they’ve been “moved upstream.” So, kudos to Andrew Hecox and Anthony Padilla, who began to post videos on YouTube in the autumn of 2005.
Next, Activate analyzed Tubular data for the top U.S. media company creators on Facebook and found 61% are in the Entertainment category (like Bright Side), and 10% are in News & Politics (like NowThis). So, even if a couple of the categories are the same, there are different leaders on different platforms.
In fact, Activate says, “Influencers who start on a platform do not typically transfer success to another.” So, as I’ve observed back in 2015, the social video market is segmented, not fragmented. Back then, the analogy that I used was: “The European market isn’t fragmented; it’s segmented. Not only does each country have its own language, each one also has its own culture and customs as well as its own folk heroes. And just because 320 million Europeans in 24 countries use the euro doesn’t mean that I’d market a product in France, Germany, Italy and Spain with the same online video that I’d created for an audience of 64 million people in the U.K. (which, of course uses the pound as its currency).” And I wrote that before Brexit.
So, long-time readers of Tubular Insights will not be shocked to read Activate’s observation: “Web video platforms satisfy different content preferences (and) media companies will need to play to each platform’s strengths.” And their analysis extends beyond YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch; it includes Instagram and Snapchat, too.
Nevertheless, Activate notes: “To attract these creators and capture user attention, web video platforms are attempting to move into each others’ turfs.” So, watch initiatives like YouTube Red, YouTube Live, YouTube TV, Facebook Live, and Facebook Watch like a hawk. The video segmentation matrix is shifting even as we speak.
Social Video and the Shift to Live-streaming
Activate also analyzed Tubular data and concludes: “The platforms are also shifting into live streaming — this medium has exhibited rapid growth in views and time spent.” It also includes a chart that may surprise some video marketers. It shows Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, as the leader in this category (with 743,000 average live streaming viewers), followed by YouTube Live (with 318,000), Facebook Live (with 61,000), and Periscope (with 23,000). This should stop “the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence.”
Activate also predicts” “Live-streaming creators will use crowdfunding platforms, such as Patreon, to monetize directly through fans.” This is something that the VlogBrothers, aka the Green brothers, John Green and Hank Green, have been saying since YouTube’s Brandcast event in 2015. So, it’s significant that Activate has come to a similar conclusion independently.
Now, that’s the big story. But, there are lots of other surprising and unexpected insights in the Activate Tech & Media Outlook 2018. For example, did you know there are 31 hours in a day? If you want, I can share my thoughts on these in a future post. Just let me know if that’s something that you’d be interested in reading by sharing your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.
Sponsored content is a form of advertising media intended to educate, entertain, and engage consumers by delivering an intentional message about a brand’s product or services. But what’s the secret sauce for increasing engagement on your sponsored video content?
Brands That Get the Views and the Engagement on Sponsored Video Content
Is it even possible to get high views and high engagement on a video ad campaign or promoted video content? Let’s look at the numbers to find out.
According to Tubular Intelligence, there are 181 videos from 91 brands that have more than 1 million engagements as well as 5 million views. Okay, that thins the herd. And one of the top ones is “Shell | Best Day Of My Life,” which has 164 million views and 2.9 million engagements. It features superstars Jennifer Hudson, Luan Santana, Pixie Lott, Yemi Alade, Steve Aoki & #TanWeiWei, so this an example of “trackvertising,” so maybe that’s not the example that you were looking for.
So, check out “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop,” which was created by the Harmon Brothers. The Facebook version has 139 million views and 2.5 million engagements. Oh, and the YouTube version has another 32.4 million views and 821,000 engagements.
“This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop” also generated more that lots of likes, comments, and shares. The campaign also increased online sales of Squatty Potty by more than 600% and retail sales of the toilet stool by over 400% helping the company to sell more than 4 million products in the U.S. to date. So, maybe your objective should be high engagement/high sales.
So that’s a quick look at video ads, but what about sponsored content?” Well, it’s true. Sponsored content is a form of advertising media intended to educate, entertain, and engage consumers by delivering an intentional message about a brand’s product or services.
So, let’s look at sponsored videos more than 5 million views and 1 million engagements. There are 26 of them from 16 accounts. Now, let’s sort them using ER30, which measures a video or publisher’s engagement rate benchmarked across all content.
“FIFA 18 | FUELED BY RONALDO,” which has 10.5 million views, 1 million engagements, and is sponsored by EA SPORTS FIFA on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Facebook page, has and ER30 of 4.0x, which means it is 4 times more engaging than average. The YouTube version, which isn’t sponsored but is on the EA SPORTS FIFA channel, has an additional 7.8 million views, 185,000 engagements, and an ER30 of 2.2x.
So, according to data that is independent, impartial, and unbiased, video ads, branded videos, and sponsored videos can get high views, high engagement, and even a high engagement rate. But, they are as rare as hens’ teeth.
However, as I pointed out in my column on Red Bull quietly changing its video marketing strategy, trying to create monster tent-pole event like “Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k” is so five years ago. The new-new strategy is to create scores of small tent-peg events that are held throughout the year.
Find the Right Partner to Work With
Or, the latest trend in the digital video business is to identify a large portfolio of micro influencers who can give you more bang for you buck. If you need an example, check out “9 Things You NEED To Know Before College!” from Mikey Murphy. It’s one of four sponsored videos created by three partners for Bed Bath & Beyond. Now, it’s only got 149,00 views, but it also has 17,700 engagements. That gives it an ER30 of 9.6x. And another sponsored video, “BACK TO SCHOOL ADVICE” from Andrew Lowe, only has 89,900 views, but it also has 9,341 engagements. That gives it an ER30 of 10.0x. Get it? Got it? Good.
Strategic Insights for Raising Engagement
Based on the critical data above, here are 3 strategic insights:
#1 Most video marketers are focused on telling a story visually, but the sound track can also have a huge impact on engagement. In fact, viewers discover, watch, and share a ton of music videos and lots of savvy marketers have created some very successful “trackvertising” to tap into this phenomenon. So, use your ears as well as your eyes with creating and editing video advertising.
#2 It’s also worth noting that “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop” is 2:53, “FUELED BY RONALDO” is 0:49, and “BACK TO SCHOOL ADVICE” is 8:58. So, maybe we’ve identified a hidden barrier to your success. If your pre-conceived notion of “video ad campaigns” is repurposed “30-second commercials,” then maybe you shouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of your paid video campaigns have high views/low engagement. “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
#3 If your goal is to get lots of views, then you can run a massive campaign for an extended period of time and bludgeon viewers into watching your video ad for more than 3 second on Facebook or 30 seconds on YouTube (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds). But if your goal is also to get high engagement, then your content needs to draw “a high-arousal positive emotional response,” as Karen Nelson-Field observed in Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing.
3 Key Steps to Boosting Engagement on Paid Video Campaigns
So, what can you do to boost engagement on paid video campaigns?
#1 First, make great video content. That’s right, stop thinking that you’re producing are ads. Focus instead on making videos worth watching. And then use data and insights when creating content worth sharing. Why? Because you are competing directly or indirectly with 17.1 million other videos that were uploaded during the past week, according to Tubular Insights. So, paid video campaigns – even ones backed by big budgets – aren’t going to get lots of engagement or high engagement rates if you’ve got run-of-the-mill video content.
Suzie Reider, an old friend and former colleague who is now the Managing Director Brand Solutions at Google, shared this concept back in 2008 when she gave a presentation to The Ad Club in Boston that was entitled, “Marketing with Video.” Back then, she advised advertisers to “create ads that work as content.” And as an example, she showed “Amazing Ball girl catch,” a Gatorade commercial directed by Baker Smith of Harvest Films. Today, this “video content” has 6.4 million views and 19,600 engagements.
If you’re looking for more tactical advice for making compelling and effective video content, then read the “guidelines for great creative” section in the YouTube Playbook for Creative Advertising. Or, watch “Facebook Video: Data-Driven Insights & Best Practices” webinar replay, which features Carla Marshall, my editor-in-chief, and Mark Robertson, the founder of ReelSEO (now Tubular Insights).
So, where can you find data and insights on the kind of video that’s worth watching as well as the type of content that is engaging enough to generate likes, comments, and shares? Well, start with YouTube Analytics. (It’s free.) The first thing to look at is your top 10 videos as measured by watch time. I know, we normally talk about watch time when discussing video SEO. But, the watch time reports in YouTube Analytics – including relative audience retention – are the right metrics to gage if your videos are worth watching.
Next, look at your interaction reports in YouTube Analytics. These will let you know if your content is generating subscriptions, likes and dislikes, videos in playlists, comments, or sharing. If you are trying to drive traffic to your website, your interaction reports will also tell you if your content is generating clicks on annotations, cards, or end screens. These are the right metrics to use to measure engagement.
All of these YouTube Analytics metrics (watch time, likes, comments, and shares) provide a basic barometer showing how your audience is responding to your videos. However, the effectiveness of an ad campaign can also evaluated by using Google’s Brand Lift solution. Brand Lift measures the direct impact your YouTube ads on perceptions and behaviors throughout the consumer journey. Within a matter of days, Brand Lift can give you insights into how your ads are impacting metrics like lifts in brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favorability, and purchase intent (as measured in surveys), as well as brand interest (as measured by organic search activity). This enables you to optimize your campaigns mid-flight, if necessary.
In addition to YouTube Analytics and Google’s Brand Lift solution, you can also use Tubular Intelligence to track over 3 billion videos and analyze the viewing habits of more than 400 million consumers across multiple social platforms.
#2 Find the right partners to build more engaging campaigns.
If you really want to boost the engagement of your paid video campaigns, then maybe it’s time to replace your traditional ad agency (which doesn’t have a clue why its repurposed 30-second commercial isn’t highly engaging) with a new generation of video content creators who know how to help brands develop content strategies that will resonate with 21st-century consumers.
Okay, maybe you don’t really need to fire your traditional ad agency. Maybe you just need tell them to refocus on TV advertising, where they still know what they’re doing. At the same time, you can let them know that you’re giving video advertising to someone who knows what they’re doing and will also allocate a portion of the digital video ad budget to sponsored video. And your old ad agency can find out later that the budget for TV advertising is falling through the floor, while the budget for video advertising is going through the roof.
Come on, the “Mad Men” era is over. As I mentioned back in April in the column entitled, “It’s Not YouTube’s Fault: Blame the ‘Magazine Format’ for the State of Video Advertising,” Sylvester Laflin “Pat” Weaver, Jr. came up with the idea of selling 60-second commercials in NBC-produced shows instead of 30-minute blocks of time that the advertiser controlled in the 1950s.
Before then, during radio’s Golden Age in the 1930s, the world of content creation was ruled by a system of advertiser-sponsored and agency-produced programming, which typified by that ever-popular program format, the soap opera. This system continued through most of the 1950s, typified by shows such as “The Hallmark Hall of Fame,” “The Colgate Comedy Hour”, and “Kraft Television Theater.”
Well, maybe we need to go “back to the future.” If brands want to create video content that has high engagement, then they need to find the right content partner to reach the right audience, build successful sponsored video campaigns with them, and get more engagement for less spend.
And, Tubular’s DealMaker can help them do that. Consider this: DealMaker’s data is independent, impartial, and unbiased. I’ve used it since June, and have learned that what Tubular’s website says about it actually understates what you can find.
Seriously. The website says DealMaker is tracking “140k sponsored videos, 30k campaigns 15k brand sponsors, and 15k content partners.” Well, I double-checked over the weekend and DealMaker has tracked 202k sponsored videos, 101k campaigns 41.4k brand sponsors, and 36.4k content partners across 24 industries, 21 genres, and 173 countries. And sponsored video content has tallied 38.9 billion views and 888 million engagements to date.
#3 Rethink your advertising formats and targeting.
YouTube introduced the TrueView family of ad formats back in 2010. Believe it or not, there were originally four ad formats, but over the years that was whittled down to two:
- TrueView in-stream ads, aka skippable video ads, which play before the start of a YouTube video. Viewers see 5 seconds of your ad and then can choose to keep watching or skip it. You only pay a “cost-per-view” if viewers choose to watch at least 30 seconds of your ad.
- TrueView in-display ads, aka video discovery ads, where your video appears in a special promoted section of the video search results pages on YouTube for a high-frequency query. You pay only when a viewer chooses to watch your video.
Since advertisers paid nothing if viewers skipped their in-steam ads, there wasn’t much incentive for most of them to spend a whole lot of time (because time is money) selecting relevant target audiences. Hey, who cares of if the wrong people see the first 5 to 29 seconds of your ad and decide to skip the rest? No harm, no foul, right?
Sure, but if lots and lots of viewers skipped your in-stream ads, was that because most of them weren’t the right target audience, or was it an indication that your video content wasn’t particularly engaging? We’ll never know because no video marketer in his or her right mind would survey people who abandoned their “free” ads – even if their CMO was obsessed with retargeting people who had abandoned their website’s shopping cart.
So, if you really, really want to boost your engagement as well as your views, then you might want to test different formats and spend more time on targeting – or change your approach to targeting altogether. For example, instead of using demographics, trying using topic or affinity targeting. Why? Because demographics don’t help you understand what you really need to know – consumer intent – what consumers are looking for in an exact moment they are looking to find it.
Is your audience interested in certain subjects? Topic targeting allows you to show your ad on topic-specific channels. For example, if you target the “automotive” topic, then your ad will show on YouTube to people watching videos about cars. Similarly, affinity targeting allows you to show your ad only to users with particular interests. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, then you can target YouTube users who watch food videos.
Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty. 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 my wife, who did a search on Google three years ago for “Maytag washer leaking from bottom.” When a need arises, people turn to YouTube search to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions. Google calls these intent-filled moments, micro-moments. And they’re the best opportunity video marketers have to connect with people at the exact moment they are looking for something.
If you plan to continue using TrueView in-stream ads, then understanding consumer intent and meeting their needs in the moment are the keys to boosting engagement as well as winning more hearts, minds, and dollars. Otherwise, you could end up targeting the wrong audience – people who are kinda, sorta relevant, so they watch more than 30 seconds of your video ad, but not especially interested at the moment, so they don’t engage with it.
For example, Groupon used a different approach to targeting in its recent YouTube ads campaign. Instead of “spray and pray” marketing – where brands blast their ads at as many people as possible and hope the right audience notices, Groupon adapted its marketing approaches to the behavior and interests of the customers they were going after.
The company did this by aligning its audience targeting segments to Groupon’s deal categories based on what people are looking up on Search and Maps. They also used YouTube’s new Consumer Patterns to target “people who frequently visit salons,” “live event enthusiasts,” and “department store shoppers.”
Groupon then built contextually relevant creative tailored to each audience segment and the content they consume. For example, watch this travel-related creative for jetsetters.
Then, watch this family activity-related creative for parents.
Finally, watch this recipe-related creative for foodies.
But, targeting isn’t the only thing you need to rethink. You also need to rethink advertising formats.
As skippable video ads became more popular (because you could save time on targeting), the budgets for the other option, video discovery ads, got smaller and smaller (because it took more and more time to do keyword research). Ironically, showing your video ads based on the keywords or phrases that someone has just typed into the YouTube search box is one of the most effective ways to respond to consumer intent.
And after someone watches a video discovery ad, they get the time to think about liking it, adding a comment, and/or sharing it with their friends, family, and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and/or LinkedIn. After they watch a skippable video ad, it zooms along to the content video that the user originally wanted to watch. That undercuts the opportunity for high engagement.
To keep in-stream ads from sucking more than 90% of your overall video advertising budget away from in-display ads, put them into separate campaigns. And expand your list of relevant keywords that you target. To do this, try using the YouTube Keyword Tool offered by Key Tools Limited. It uses YouTube autocomplete feature to generate highly relevant long-tail keywords about a particular topic.
And keep your eye on some of the newer ad formats that YouTube has been rolling out over the past couple of years. This ranges from bumper video campaigns to TrueView for shopping campaigns. These enable you to match the right ad format to a wider range of marketing objectives. So, you can stop losing sleep over low engagement and start measuring brand lift/high engagement/high sales.
There you have it: The critical data, strategic insights, and tactical advice that you’ve come to expect from Tubular Insights. But, this is just my take on the topic. If you’ve got a better way or even just another way to boost engagement on paid video campaigns, then please share your tools, tips, and techniques with your colleagues in the online video and internet marketing industries. Seriously, we’re all in the same boat.
Here at Tubular Insights, we’ve covered a lot of digital video executives and professionals in our “Day in the Life” series. Experts from the Weather Channel to the BBC have weighed in on what their days are like working in the video industry, and how they managed to grow successful YouTube channels and develop killer video strategies. But now, one of the brands we featured in a previous “Day in the Life” post has perked our interest, as it’s standing at a very interesting crossroads in its day-to-day operations.
Jukin Media, a publisher known for its viral video licensing and distribution business model, has launched its own production studio and announced its intentions to delve into original content. What will that look like when the brand is so closely tied to user-generated content and popular YouTube channels like FailArmy and The Pet Collective? We asked Jukin Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Josh Entman to shed some light on this new initiative.
Jukin Media and Original Video Content
Tubular Insights: What are your primary responsibilities/goals each day, or your new responsibilities as they pertain to the original content production push?
Josh Entman: As Chief Creative Officer, I oversee all creative development for the company, which includes franchises on our owned-and-operated properties, branded entertainment and commercial productions, and original episodic series for TV and digital.
TI: Can you give a breakdown of the original content push and how this ties into your newly-announced production studio? We’re mostly curious about how these initiatives evolve/change or compliment your current business model of viral video licensing.
JE: If you look at the core function of our business from day one – to source and acquire user-generated video content – nothing has ever changed. We have been, and always will be, at the epicenter of social video content. But, what we’ve done really well, and perhaps what’s gotten lost in the external buzz around our popular viral videos, has been our ability to utilize UGC videos in the creation of longer-form programming.
We’ve always emphasized the importance of owning the entire lifecycle of a video, from discovery to distribution. Certainly I believe we’re the gold standard when it comes to those functions. But I’m just as bullish about our ability to craft original stories captured by everyday individuals. That’s what this is about.
TI: How did Jukin decide to move forward with its own production branch?
JE: Many people don’t know it, but we’ve been producing content for a long time. We’ve always looked at our original content/production business as being defined by the following: IP ownership, global distribution, audience segmentation, and conveying narrative through the lens of users.
We’re extracting user stories and packaging them in ways that resonate with audiences. Because of our core business, we have access to the most amazing library of source material and a direct relationship with every content owner we represent. I think that sets us apart and puts us in a unique position to challenge the status quo and offer a new perspective on how this content should be developed and programmed.
TI: What statistics can you provide on how popular Jukin’s content is, and how that may have tied into the decision to make original content?
JE: As we’ve grown the business, we’ve done an amazing job at cultivating a global community around user-generated video. With over 70 million fans and 2 billion views per month, it’s a natural progression of the entertainment we provide across social media every day. Just as our audience has evolved, so has our desire to offer them premium content experiences.
We’re not going to suddenly change and start investing massive amounts of money into costly productions without a return. It’s not who we are. We invest in people to make this happen. Without them, I’m just drawing up blank ideas on a whiteboard.
User-based storytelling is what drives global communication. It’s no longer an option, but a necessity to operate and connect amongst your peers. It’s what has rapidly made Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook such a large part of the video ecosystem. And it’s probably why they all decided to call their version of the product, Stories.
I‘m confident in our position and where we sit in the larger conversation. We are UGC. We live and breathe it every single day, and have done so for the last 7 years. That cannot be overstated. We know it. We study it. We absorb it. There are still no other companies packaging short-form into longer form in a meaningful way. That’s a gap in the market and we’re going after it.
TI: What does the development process look like for Jukin’s new originals?
JE: Like so many other development teams, we are swimming in a sea of ideas that populate our board. But a key differentiator for us is the content acquisition machine that powers Jukin’s backend. The videos that come through our door every day provide some of the greatest source material imaginable. And we’re constantly sifting through them for new talent discovery, creative direction, and ingenuity that allows the overarching concepts to be uniquely Jukin.
There’s a notion that so much content is being built strictly for millennials. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I like to think we are unequivocally dedicated to mobile-first audiences and platform efficiencies in our development. So no matter where we pitch in the buyer ecosystem — TV or digital — each project is focused and optimized for consumption patterns and user behavior.
TI: What’s your biggest challenge as you expand Jukin’s original content initiatives?
JE: Converting a mindset. Most people still view us as a clips business or the “viral video guys.” It’s a badge of honor certainly, but a misrepresentation of where we are today, and where we believe this is going.
While there’s an undeniable clip element to our business, we don’t view these as merely clips. And neither should anyone else. These videos are truly the building blocks of broader storytelling; a raw, unfiltered representation of the amazing moments captured by people just like you and I. It’s our determination to dig deeper and re-imagine what longer-form, user-based entertainment looks like across all of these platforms.
TI: Why do you think Jukin will be successful with original content?
JE: I think we’ve already seen a great deal of success, and now we’re simply investing more resources behind it. We’ve already developed and sold seven series, and produced well over 200 episodes of linear and digital programming.
Having said that, no one can guarantee success in this market. It’s a crowded room with tons of companies vying for buyers’ attention. What I like about us, and what I think is a crucial differentiator when looking at our contemporaries, is that we own and control all of the content we acquire. We’re not an MCN. We’re not a group of talent managers. We’re not a traditional publisher or production company. We’re in the IP business. And that makes our studio model more legitimized than most of the folks out there who are launching these divisions left and right.
Without question, I’ll always bet on our ability. It comes with the job and title. But I’m proud of how we’ve approached and attacked the different sectors of our business. We’re calculated, we’re thoughtful, and we’re rigorous in our intent. Original content is no different. I’m more excited at our ability to test these methods and offer up new experiences, to always address the ‘Why Jukin?’ It’s a challenge that we accept and will continue to attack day in and day out.