The interesting thing about new marketing opportunities is how quickly brands will jump into the fray without really understanding how a tool really works and how to best utilize it. Take social media, for example — as it grew and pulled in more audiences, brands of all sizes raced to launch their social media campaigns, often with horrific results.
Does anybody remember the Pepsi Refresh Project? Don’t worry if you don’t — even with tens of millions spent on it, few people know that it ever even existed. In short, it was a strategy that was supposed to change how brands used social media forever but ended up just being another example of how even the most savvy marketers often misread a new landscape and miss the mark with their audiences.
Today’s online video environment is no different. As viewership is increasing significantly and steadily, marketers anxious to get in front of these viewers are racing to add video advertising to their marketing arsenal. But as with social media, this rush to a new paradigm is causing marketers to make costly mistakes that can reduce the effectiveness of their efforts:
- Simply repackaging 30-second TV spots for online. I’m not one of these industry people who commiserates — at all — with a whiny viewership that complains about having to sit through a 30-second commercial in order to watch a free “kitten stuck in a bottle” video. But regardless of my opinion on the matter, the fact is that most people get annoyed by 30-second spots. Instead, look through your original production footage and piece together a 15-second (or even better, 7-second) version of your ad. You’ll keep people’s attention without them thinking of your brand as an obstacle to what they actually want to watch.
- Not taking full advantage of the medium. Imagine that a brand typically uses print as its primary advertising vehicle. Then, they decide to include TV as part of their strategy. But for their commercial, all they do is hold up a copy of their print ad in front of the camera for 30 seconds. They’d have a TV spot, sure, but not an effective one, because they’d be missing the benefit that the TV medium provides: the ability to tell a story through video. Online video is the same way. Of course, a brand can simply take its TV spot and place it as a pre-roll online, but it’d be missing the element that makes online video advertising special: interactivity. The online space allows audiences to interact directly with the brand, through games, quizzes, surveys — any number of ways to engage the viewer. Getting a consumer to click around your ad and actively engage with your brand is far more valuable than simply having them watch your message while impatiently waiting for their desired video.
- Not taking control of campaigns. Online ad exchanges are a great way to get video ads placed across the Web and in front of a large audience. But many marketers simply allow their ads to be placed on a “Run of Network” basis, without realizing that they can have far more control. Take some time to really understand where your ad will be running — the types of videos it will precede, the demographic breakdown of the viewing audience, the network the ad will be played on, whether that network allows viewers to skip the ad (and if so, how does it allow the viewer to skip? Clicking “Skip This Ad,” for example, is more derogatory toward your brand than having the viewer type in your product’s name.) It might seem confusing or time consuming, but taking the time to market your ad to your target audience can be the key to getting more clicks.
- Overlooking the value of branded content. Where viewers won’t want to watch a 30-second message packaged as a standard, self-serving commercial, they’ll be happy to watch a full three minutes of your message packaged in branded content that is entertaining and informative while it provides significant value to the consumer. Typically tied to your brand with a “Brought to You By …” type of sponsorship, branded content can be produced to reflect your message without devolving into a heavy-handed sales pitch, providing value to the viewer, while increasing your brand’s exposure and visibility as an expert resource.
- Not integrating videos with social strategy. However you create your ad, placing it on video networks is only one part of the puzzle. Online videos also need to be disseminated to consumers through standard social media outreach, being placed on your own site as well as any social media profiles your brand maintains. Interactive ads should include links back to your social profiles, and branded content should offer these social outlets as resources for more information.
This post is by Jason Miletsky, CEO of MyPod Studios.