By Matthew Cordwell

With users consuming an ever-increasing volume of video content online, there are myriad opportunities to connect with your audience in new and engaging ways. In this blog we run through the format from a strategy point of view, laying out the important questions you need to be able to answer before you fast-forward your campaign.

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Why use it?

Video is fundamentally a brand awareness tool that can be used to introduce people to your brand. It is a tactic that can be employed further up in the funnel both to capture users in a more engaging way, and to reach people who you may not necessarily reach with other more targeted tactics.

Whilst this may not satiate your hunger for direct response results, it can work well alongside other marketing channels by creating more diverse campaigns. Successes can be measured with brand recall, ad recall, uplift in branded search terms and by using attribution tools (see Nam’sBlog) to identify the influence of video in user journeys.

Is it right for you?

Each of the different formats can serve different purposes and be used to achieve different objectives. For example, if your campaign aim is to engage users and ensure your content is seen, pre-roll in-stream may be the most effective format because it runs seamlessly with video content already being consumed, hence users may be more receptive (see Kaarina’s blog for a guide to the different formats). On the other hand, if you value the way in which you reach users as well as their user experience, out-stream may be a better choice as it enables you to serve alongside contextually relevant content in a less intrusive manner. If your campaign aim is to maximise reach then in-banner will be most effective as it carries the cheapest CPMs, however users can be less likely to engage with the content as it is served within more common standard display inventory.

Some publishers are creating innovative new ways to engage users and encourage interaction through video. Amazon Video Ads has released the beta ‘panels’ which lets advertisers serve immersive video creatives that allow users to navigate between three different videos embedded within a banner. Users can swipe or click the panel to see different unique content and take a deep dive into a specific product. This can be a great way to showcase a number of different products and allows the user a degree of autonomy over what they wish to view.

What else can video offer?

Video as a format can offer important insights into how users are engaging with content. We can use tools such as YouTube analytics to measure the effect on engagement of different elements within a video once it’s been shown to users. This helps reveal what attracts or detracts user attention and thus can inform the development of content, strategies and targeting tactics.

YouTube analytics

Audience retention timeline on YouTube analytics. From this we can investigate what is causing a user drop off around 19s into the video.

How can we measure its impact?

A key benefit of using video online is the ability to run brand lift surveys. These allow you to quantify lift as a result of your campaign using a range of metrics such as: brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favourability purchase intent and brand interest. These metrics can offer invaluable insights into the effect of your video activity, informing you of changes in consumer awareness, perception and consideration for your brand, and can even work to attribute increases in branded searches made by users.

What to consider when planning your video campaign

Costs - CPMs are typically a lot higher for video than display, ranging between £7-20 on the open exchange, £6-8 on TrueView and up to £60 for some direct buys with premium publishers.

Availability – Video inventory is in high demand and although it is increasing, it is advisable to account for some limitations. This is particularly important when planning to run with premium publishers where inventory can often sell out weeks in advance.

Expectations – video as a channel holds its benefits in driving brand awareness and increasing traffic at the upper funnel. A standalone video is less cost effective at driving online conversions, but combining it with display, search, mail and other tactics will enhance its effectiveness.

KPIs – quantifying engagement with video can be difficult when using different formats, particularly when they operate in different spaces. It is important to plan which metrics will be most valuable for your campaign and specifically which KPIs you should be using to evaluate its success. By using the most relevant metrics you ensure the insights you gather from your campaign are appropriate. For video, we tend to use View-Through-Rate, Cost per View and Viewability as well as some of the more standard display metrics such as Click-Through-Rate.

So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out in the programmatic space, now you know how video can help your client, be measured and what you should consider before making the move.

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