SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Maximizing the Impact of Online Video Ads

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July 11, 2018 8:25 pm Published by

Because I am a huge fan of video advertising, I have a hard time understanding why video marketing is so underutilized by many companies.

I attended the Maximizing the Impact of Online Video Ads session at SMX Advanced and came away with a lot of information that will change that. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be inspired to start using video to promote your brand.

Bryant Garvin, Purple

Bryant attributes his company’s rapid success to its successful video campaigns. Purple (his company) has over 1 billion video views. How do they do it? With emotion and education. Video is an emotional format, and consumers buy on emotion.

According to a study at Stanford (source in the slides below), stories are remembered 22 times more than facts alone, and purchases are always emotional decisions. Humans are hard-wired to pay attention to stories, so stories are the catalyst to connect with potential customers emotionally.

As consumers, we decide to transact before we emotionally decide on it. You really have two seconds to capture someone’s attention instead of the 5.7-second average view time Facebook mentions. That being said, video marketers need to test the intro first.

Bryant’s company tested three intros to the same video. All they did was make minor changes to each one. What were the results? They saw a 2,824.7 percent brand keyword search lift after testing out a different, branded video. No matter how well you think your videos are doing, keep in mind that even the best videos can be improved.

Still not convinced YouTube is amazing? Let me toss out some more stats Bryant called out:

  • Over 1.5 billion Users on YouTube.
  • One billion hours are watched daily.
  • 68 percent of people use YouTube to help make purchase decisions.
  • 80 percent of 18-49-year-olds watch YouTube in a given month.
  • Only 9 percent of United States small businesses are using YouTube.
  • You only pay after 30 seconds are viewed or the video is completed.

You want to be where your competitors are not, and YouTube offers targeting options which will help you drive purchase intent. Google’s audience solutions, such as Life Events and Custom Intent Audiences, are great for reaching the right people.

When combined with a powerful video that provided the emotional connection, Purple’s message had the one-two punch that lowered their cost-per-visit and greatly increased the uplift in brand searches.

Videos don’t have to have a sales tone and vibe. Keep in mind that emotions sell and prompt purchases.

Cory Henke,  Variable Media Agency

Cory started by saying, in 2018, that the power of video is attention. In the age of high-speed internet and mobile devices, we’ve all become multitaskers and storytellers. Users have so many choices as to how and where to consume online. The problem with video is that it cannot be scaled, and it’s hard to keep a user’s attention.

With Facebook, we don’t know why the user came to the site. Was it to watch a video or read Grandma’s post? It’s hard to predict what a user is going to do on Facebook.

Now think about YouTube. Most people go to YouTube just to watch a video. They don’t read or write comments anywhere near as much as they view videos. This focused action is why advertisers need to build videos for the platform.

YouTube TrueView has become the most valuable impression on the web. Why? Cory emphasized exactly what Bryant mentioned in his presentation. Advertisers don’t pay a cent for any video views from zero to 30 seconds long. Cory then asked the audience to name one other channel where you can get consistent, free advertising. The silence in the crowd proved his point.

With TrueView, users have the option to skip your ad after 5 seconds. We must create content to meet our strategic goals, which are keeping the user’s attention, by doing the following:

  • Grab attention with a hook immediately in the first few seconds.
  • Engage the users and make sure to illustrate a problem those users can relate to.
  • Establish your brand and qualify users to prove why your company/product/service is the right choice.
  • Then re-hook your audience to drive action.

More engagements equal lower cost-per-view (CPV) if you get those users past 30 seconds.

People consume video differently on YouTube versus television. TV is a passive viewing environment, while YouTube is an active viewing environment. With this mindset, we’ve seen the forced 30-, 60- and 90-second ads get de-prioritized. Skippable video and 6-second bumpers are now the preferred choice for users because they have more control over which videos they prefer to watch.

With video, there are primarily two types of users: lean-back and lean-forward.

  • Lean-back users are YouTube, TV and Netflix. All three embrace the longer video format. They’re more likely to watch an entire video ad and less likely to last-click convert. We should be reaching these users with emotional and storytelling video content.
  • Lean-forward users are Facebook, Instagram and  Snapchat. These three have shorter watch times, but they are more expensive. We should be using quick reminders and savvy call-to-action videos to be mid- to lower-funnel-oriented.

We’ve gone from the age of one 30-minute show to 30 one-minute shows. The shift in user behavior leads to a shift in our content. Take advantage of all the creative and targeting options you have to keep your users’ attention.

Allen Martinez, Noble Digital

Allen asked the audience a question:

Which one of these three things account for 80% of a campaign’s success? The right message, the right time, or the right place?

The answer is the right message. According to Andrew Robertson of BBDO Worldwide, the right creative accounts for 80 percent of the customer’s return path. Get the story right first, and then focus on timing and placements.

Think about what Facebook is doing now in regard to ad testing. Advertisers now have the option to variable test the ad creative. Facebook purposely puts “creative” as the first option for us to test because they understand it’s the most important.

If you are still asking why you should use video, the answer is because it’s the one medium that contains multiple other mediums. We have storylines, branding, performances, emotion, music, mood, production design, art, visual effects and so much more. The problem is that in most companies, the strategy is commonly separated from creativity.

Brian Chesky of Airbnb said:

The designing of an experience uses a different part your brain than the scaling of that experience.

First, you build the experience with your creative team. And then you scale with your strategy team.

Allen then presented a case study from the meal kit company Plated and showed how Plated revamped their original video after reviewing data and surveys and listening to their audience. The creative goal was to make the feel of the video less ad-like and more personal, like users were watching themselves in the video.  Changing their video helped Plated become more successful.

Don’t wait for intent, create it. Search is like an online Black Friday every day. Most search results are going to have search and shopping ads ready to sell. People are more curious and open than we think. What you tell a user early on in the funnel will always be more important than how you are trying to sell them at the bottom of the funnel. Use creative video to help win the deal early.


Want to learn more? Join us in October our SMX East “Obsessed With SEO & SEM” conference in New York City, where top industry experts will share their tips, tactics and strategies around SEO and SEM topics.


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