What brands really think about digital video advertising

Last month, IAB did an event around video and its role in driving brand objectives, with marketers of leading brands weighing in

With the digital video advertising landscape growing in both market share and complexity, brands are trying to break new ground, develop new creative, and discover metrics to make it all measurable.

According to the IAB, there was $1.4 billion spent on video advertising in 2018 in Australia, with video now representing eight per cent of the Australian ad market.

Video is the fastest growing digital advertising segment, the figures show, growing 26 per cent since 2017. Yet effective measurement still presents a problem, with 65 per cent of advertisers saying cross media measurement development is the top industry challenge, followed by measurement keeping pace with consumer behaviour (37 per cent).

Last month, IAB held an event to discuss video and its role in driving brand objectives, featuring marketing director of 20th Century Fox, Sue Zerk; head of media and agency management at Westpac, Toby Dewar; senior digital manager of Blackmores, Rachelle McDermott; and marketing manager of Johnson & Johnson (Carefree), Amy Darling; moderated by the CEO of IAB Australia, Gai Le Roy. Each discussed their own recent experiences with digital and other advertising, and offered their perspectives on where the digital video advertising industry needs to go.

Dewar noted the industry is evolving and Westpac is still learning, but recently had great success with one of the digital campaigns featured in its 'separation and divorce' program of work.

“We made a number of things that were vertical run on mobile. This delivered about a 75 per cent completion rate on social, which is good. It’s not ground-breaking, but what was powerful for us was the number," he told attendees. "Now, that’s the benchmark we need to deliver against in the future. It was great having the numbers behind this, and to be clear on what percentages are buyers or other segments. That’s what we are getting clearer on moving forward.”

McDermott said Blackmores is now taking TVCs and turning them into stories for digital platforms.

“We experiment in digital across different channels and with different ways to tell the brand story,” she said. “What we’ve learned is we need to start with an end in mind and think about how people are using different channels at different times, and the content we create around this. We also need to be aware of the value we are delivering to consumers, and not be self-serving."

McDermott also pointed out some of the shorter Q and As work well, but emotive ads haven’t. "We realised this is because the shorter Q and As are offering value to consumers,” she said. 

Zerk said 20th Century Fox always starts its campaigns with the audience. “You have to make sure the format is fit-for-purpose, and testing and learning is also vitally important. We will put out a range of creatives for 24 hours and test and learn," she said.

"We know the first three seconds are crucial. You can tell if your audience has abandoned you, so then we are able to act upon that. It about being nimble and agile and not being afraid to say something’s not working.”

McDermott added context is really important, and creative is about solving consumer problems and adding value to their lives, while Dewar said the ability to respond quickly via digital is vital to Westpac.

“Flexibility allows us a point of view in terms of rates and our position in market based on government announcements, so flexibility is important, as is the context in where you place that, as well as longer term, always-on brand presence," he said. "Short and long-term goals work well in this channel, so it is highly appealing.”

However, while digital video works well for brands, its complexity and lack of measurability is holding some back from investing. Dewar said it takes too much time compared to the opportunity it presents.

“We would like the ability to make thing easier. For what is an 8 per cent share of the market, it takes too much time to go through the various choices. That’s what holding things back,” he argued. 

Darling said Carefree originally hesitated jumping into digital.

“In 2017, we had previously had a heavily TV led campaign, but we went to 100 per cent online, in social and video. It was a big risk, and our competitors didn’t follow suit," she said. "It does force you to be more creative, but you can get immediate feedback, with good reach, and to get hyper-targeted. For us, digital and video continue to be a strong focus.”

Zerk would like to be able to understand more about digital video so she can better make trade-offs in the media buy.

“We’d be happy to spend more in digital, but we want more transparency and more information. The rise of connected TV is also a massive threat, as most of that is in environments that don’t include advertising. People are consuming more of this, but consuming zero ads, and I want them to see my ads,” she explained.

“Digital is labour intensive, all the data is incomparable, so with as much information as we have, we are also flying blind, and it’s frustrating to buy incremental reach but not have tools to measure it.”

Finally, the panel gave some tips for those considering digital video advertising.

“Be bold and take risks with creative. In order to differentiate and be noticed, you must be bold, and bring something to the table that someone might say no to,” Darling advised.

McDermott said the Blackmores digital team has learned not to wait around for a packaged suite of assets it can use from TVCs.

“As a digital content team, we have to make magic happen ourselves. So we take the look and feel and intent from a TVC, and turn it into appropriate stories for each channel,” she said. 

For Dewar, the power of digital actually lies in who you don’t target.  “For us, it is being crisp on who we don’t reach, like existing customers, this leads to less wastage and we can get super-targeted.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

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