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Intel YouTube Contest Draws Record Conversion Rates

  |  May 6, 2013   |  Comments

Intel launched a five-month series of time lapse photography and slow motion videography contests, supported by TrueView ads and Promoted Channels. The campaign resulted in the highest conversion rate from ad to response the team had ever seen.


Can YouTube contests generate awareness? Can they engage consumers? And can they drive brand lift? Intel hosted 21 contests on their MyIntelEdge brand channel and has just shared the answers to these questions in a new case study.

Intel launched a five-month series of time lapse photography and slow motion videography contests on YouTube, supported by TrueView ads and Promoted Channels. The campaign resulted in the highest conversion rate from ad to response the team had ever seen, and was so successful that the team had to revise its original goals after targets were hit within 3 weeks.

Backstory of 'A Momentary Lapse'

In 2012, Intel launched a new category of products, the Ultrabook, to fill the gap between lightweight laptops and tablets. For the launch, Intel not only needed to generate awareness, it also wanted to engage consumers.

Building on the insight that their audience was interested in content creation, Intel developed A Momentary Lapse, a series of 21 contests that invited users to upload their photos and videos on YouTube. To inspire greater creativity, Intel focused specifically on time lapse photography and slow-motion videography.

The team planned three video contests and 18 weekly photo contests over five months, with prizes worth more than $50,000. In addition, the three grand prize winning entries would be used in online Intel ads.

Engaging the YouTube Community

In you search for "time lapse" on YouTube, you'll see over 500,000 video results, which have millions of views. There is clearly a passionate audience for this content, and Intel thought YouTube would be the perfect home for A Momentary Lapse.

To jumpstart viewership, Intel leveraged paid media on YouTube, including TrueView and Promoted Channels.

Laurie Koehler, Consumer Campaigns Activation Manager at Intel, liked TrueView, a group of ad formats in which advertisers only pay when the user chooses to watch the ad.

"It works very well for both the client as well as the consumer. Everybody wins... it's an amazing principle," Koehler said.

Intel also needed to inspire their audience to create content. To do so, they launched How-to Make Time-Lapse Photography by Vincent Laforet. This gave users more reason to engage with Intel, and allowed the team to leverage the popularity of how-to content, as views of educational content on YouTube had doubled in 2011. The four-minute video was also directly used as a TrueView in-stream ad.

Intel also engaged YouTube content creators who already had a strong following, including Alex Goot, Tyler Ward and Devin Graham.

For example, Graham's Devin Super Tramp channel has almost 1.2 million subscribers and close to 207 million video views. For A Momentary Lapse, he directed Wingsuit Race in Slo-Mo, Oahu, Hawaii that was also used as a TrueView ad on YouTube.

Breakthrough Results Within 3 Weeks

With all the right elements in place, A Momentary Lapse quickly blew past original targets, and the team had to revise their goals.

"Based on last year's campaign, we had created what we thought were really aggressive metrics... Three weeks into the program, we were bumping our heads up against those metrics," Koehler said.

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All in all, YouTube ads delivered over 200 percent their original video view goal, and view-through rates for TrueView exceeded benchmarks for the vertical. As a result, the program received 2x the number of expected video submissions.

"The metrics were out of the park. It was the highest conversion rate from ad to response that we'd ever seen," Koehler said.

The flexibility with which campaigns can be optimized on YouTube Analytics and AdWords for Video was also impressive.

"We can get in and dial up or down, adjust who it is we want to talk to, and how we want to talk to them," she said.

Given the success, the team extended the YouTube campaign for eight additional weeks. An internal study also saw brand lift as a result of the campaign.

Looking Ahead

Moving forward, Intel is seeking to continue pleasing its users, and Koehler sees YouTube as a great partner for these efforts.

"The numbers we received were amazing to me and absolutely set the bar for what we should be doing in 2013," she said. "YouTube is an amazing partner because they have the content, the resources, the engine, the audience... Everything I want to do can happen right here."

This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.

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Greg Jarboe

Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization, public relations, video marketing, and social media marketing services. He's the author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day," a faculty member at Rutgers University and Market Motive, as well as a frequent speaker at SES conferences.

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