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The New Hit Parade: Online Video Advertising Best Practices

By BKV in Direct Marketing on August 16th, 2012

We sat down with BKV’s media experts Raphael Rivilla, Allison Kolber and Kimberly Honore to discuss the benefits of video advertising, what placements are most effective and where we’ve seen success within our own work. Image Credit: Randall Beard's Blog Why is it important to include online video advertising in campaign planning? [Raf Rivilla] Online video advertising gives you the opportunity to extend the reach of DRTV campaigns and increases the engagement factor for digital-only plans. What we like about online video is that it takes the “wow” factor of TV ads and places them in the highly targetable and trackable environment of digital media, behavioral targeting, re-targeting, demo targeting, any keyword/contextual targeting, and with database providers such as BlueKai and Exelate, we are able to overlay data. Because CPM’s can be more expensive than DRTV rate cards, it’s important to weigh the increase in price against the potential increase in performance allowed by this targeting. All in all, depending on budget and goals, an integrated plan should be able to deliver the right message to the right audience on any device, and video advertising falls nicely within that spectrum. Creating the spot is expensive, so consider whether the client already has TV ads in their arsenal; if not, allocate budget to create the spots. In your opinion, what video placements are the most effective? [Allison Kolber] In my opinion in-stream videos are most effective.  This is due to the fact that several of the other video types are more passive and not necessarily user initiated. This is especially the case for in-display videos which frequently auto-play and require that sound be turned on post play. How does online video ad success compare to TV ads? [Allison Kolber]: The two are very difficult to compare. With traditional DRTV, we measure engagement via reported impression delivery or GRPs from Nielsen and of course by calls/leads/web hits for pure Direct Response (DR) clients. For online video we may measure time spent, percent completed, click-through rate or additional  metrics (see chart below). Generally speaking, however, I feel that traditional TV still has a leg up on online video. This is for a few of reasons: - Much of online video consumption is in small bites allowing for only a short spot followed by a short video.  Consumers are not as accustomed to ‘commercials’ in online video as they are in TV which can make the  spot seem to be more of a nuisance. - Not all online video is created equal—though pre-roll and mid-roll allow for video to be within content, other video types such as post-roll, in-display, in-text, etc. may not garner as much engagement. - Finally, DRTV CPMs can be much lower than those seen in online video, especially full length shows.  This factor alone requires that online video be more responsive than TV in a DR face-off. Talk to us about the importance of Short vs. Long Form capabilities in online video advertisements. [Kimberly Honore] When picking out a vendor, you’ll want to consider whether or not you want to show up in more long vs. short form videos.  Short form videos are those that tend to be a few minutes long at most, where long form can typically be equated to full length TV episodes. Vendors with more long form videos include Tremor and Hulu – which explains why they have more total ad minutes per month according to ComScore; as they have more video ads due to the longer form videos (including several commercials).  Pricing for these vendors can typically be pretty steep (think double digits) and it’s only on a CPM level, where some vendors that concentrate on short form videos offer CPC pricing as well.  One thing we’ve discussed at BKV is the challenge of keeping users’ attention during long-form video ads, as people could potentially use the longer breaks to grab a snack, take a bathroom break, etc. Vendors that specialize in short form videos include Brightroll and Specific.  This explains why they are the top two vendors in terms of Reach.  Although many short form videos can include silly content (think cats dancing), many are also tied towards news clips.  The great thing about short form videos is that they typically encompass Pre Roll in-stream ads, which means regardless of how bad you want to see kittens jump in cups, you’re going to have to sit through a pre-roll ad first.  These vendors offer expanded reach and reasonable pricing, and you can typically negotiate CPC deals (which means you only pay when someone clicks from the video to your site).  Both Brightroll and Specific tap into YouTube inventory as well, which is important given that YouTube is currently the second largest search engine. That being said, if you have the budget, test a vendor with more short form videos against one with more long form videos, as performance may vary by vertical. Is there a certain campaign here at BKV that you’ve seen success in with video advertising? [Raf Rivilla] You bet! We started our testing of video advertising over four years ago, with a major hotel casino company—testing ad placements within long form vs. short form content, UGC vs. produced content, in-banner vs. in-stream, and various targeting technologies and the same principle exists today, albeit more targeting options and ways to purchase.  You start by defining what success means—whether it is awareness, engagement, direct response, or a combination.  This will dictate placement and creative messaging strategies. More recently, BKV created an emotional socially-powered video campaign for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  The “Share” video was created to break through the clutter of non-profit advertising that occurs during the Holiday season.  The video campaign worked, not only due to its emotional tug, but also because it was integrated into a unified campaign including PR, Social, Mobile, Web, and Offline media, which allowed it to virally scale.  The campaign increased donations by 168% year over year for the Holiday period.