Will Video Become the New Media Star?

  |  November 21, 2011   |  Comments

The six elements needed to integrate video successfully into your campaign.

Back in high school, my friends and I discovered an insatiable desire for music videos. A lucky few had MTV, some of us made do with "Friday Night Videos" on NBC, while others had local programming. The darker side of this media revolution was reflected in the first video on MTV, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star." By providing sight and motion along with sound, video was a revolution.

So much has changed in music - and on MTV, for that matter - over the years; but one thing that hasn't changed is video's ability to engage and captivate us. Marketers recognize this and want ways to put video to work online. When I talk to long-time media buyers though, I sometimes wonder if they feel that measuring the effectiveness of online video advertising is too difficult to do well. This might have been true until recently, since video campaigns have been separated from display campaigns due to differences in reporting and analytics.

Marketers are well aware of the different functions that various media types can play in their campaigns. Smart marketers seek ways to optimize a mix of media types to effectively deliver a message using various creative formats. Balancing the media mix can be a challenge, as can executing buys for multiple media types at scale in a targeted way.

Without an integrated approach that can support all media types, each discreet media channel can be tough to manage; and video is no exception. Fortunately, tools and technologies exist that can address many of the inefficiencies marketers fear when they consider going multi-channel. The unified platforms required for integrating all media types continue to advance and mature. Implemented correctly, an integrated workflow offers marketers an easy, scalable, effective, and efficient way to reach targeted audiences regardless of the mix of content types or media channels. But what does an appropriate implementation look like? What are the factors that marketers need to consider as they look to make the most of video in their campaigns?

There are essentially six elements needed to integrate video successfully:

  • Audience targeting capabilities. This is important in display and no less so with video. Marketers need to be able to reach the people they want and to control the frequency with which their targets are reached.
  • Reach. If location is the key to real estate, then reach in the form of a wide selection of inventory is the key to marketing. If the right inventory isn't available, the best targeting in the world accomplishes nothing.
  • Support for both programmatic and direct buys. Advertisers have wisely become accustomed to executing buys via real-time bidding (RTB). Automating these buys based on specific rules removes friction from the process and increases efficiency. As effective as RTB is, there is still a lot of inventory out there that isn't available through exchanges, and this is especially true for video. This means any successful platform needs to support direct purchases in addition to programmatic buying.
  • Analytics. One of the great benefits of digital marketing is the ability to measure, report, and respond to virtually every aspect of a campaign's performance in real time. Measuring the various elements of a campaign in a piecemeal fashion defeats this benefit - a fully integrated view of campaign performance is critical.
  • Scalability. Once a video strategy is decided upon, it can ramp up very quickly - as can the supporting data and analytics requirements. With billions of impressions and terabytes of data in play, a system needs to be able to perform at scale.
  • Integration. The five elements listed above are important, but unless they are presented in a unified way (that also supports display and other media types), all is for naught. Buyers have grown accustomed to the ways DSPs operate and video needs to fit into that world without any surprises.

So with these six elements in mind, let's look at how they can be used in practical terms. Companies have made major investments in creating video content - whether a 30-second television ad or a campaign-specific web spot. Getting the most value from these assets means being able to use them in new ways. This is where targeting comes into play by allowing marketers to understand whom they are trying to reach and which assets will likely be most effective. Of course, no media type exists in a vacuum, so selecting content types and media channels is critical. Deploying the selected assets in a multi-channel world requires the appropriate inventory and the ability to control the type and frequency of the impressions a campaign delivers.

Managing and measuring value associated with these spots and other campaign vehicles can be a huge headache. Doing so effectively requires a multi-channel attribution model that can examine populations of users who have been exposed to video and display ads and identifies the specific factors that led to their conversion, ultimately allowing marketers to view the interplay between campaigns and measure effectiveness accordingly. Operating without this capability is essentially operating blind - and that's no way to run a serious multi-channel marketing program. With a scalable, intelligent workflow product, you can look at the different eCPA for each channel separately or combined, to make more optimal budget allocation and improve performance.

So, media buyers and marketers wary of video killing your campaign groove - don't flip out. As you plan your video initiatives, check out a single integrated management tool to manage the mix. It gives you a shot at top-of-the-chart KPIs that you need to remain a video star.


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Maxwell Knight

Maxwell Knight is the senior director of optimization and professional services at Turn, where he is responsible for the development and implementation of optimization strategies and client education. In this role, Maxwell works closely with agencies and direct brands to improve campaign scale and performance, and refine analytical tools and techniques.

Prior to joining Turn, Maxwell spent five years at Right Media and Yahoo, where he worked on the exchange business. Having specialized in data-driven advertising, Maxwell is passionate about improving the transition of analytics into campaign strategy.

He holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College.

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