Consumers constantly wade through online clutter, from news streams detailing current events to updates from friends and colleagues on social networking sites. Because of this, advertisers are often challenged to stand out in the online crowd. One increasingly popular way advertisers are choosing to make an impact is through online video advertising. According to eMarketer, video-based ads outperform traditional display ads five-to-one in driving impressions and/or interaction.
While many retail advertisers know eye-catching videos capture customer attention, today’s economic climate demands they also keep costs in check. Several ad platforms offer retailers the tools they need to easily transform an existing TV spot into a customized online video ad. Often this transformation can be done at a fraction of the cost and with better targeting than a typical TV ad or traditionally-built rich media ad.
Through enhanced online technology, retailers have an immense opportunity to maximize their existing creative materials to develop compelling, locally-relevant, trackable advertising without breaking their budget. Here are five tips to create more compelling in-banner video ads that will help drive traffic and engagement to your e-commerce site and brick-and-mortar locations:
- Make ads locally relevant. Consumers will be more inclined to act on ads that tie to their location. In the past, using geo-specific specials, events, contests, and more was daunting because of the expense – especially when it meant customizing video for 2,000+ store locations! Now, using in-banner video technology, retailers can generate thousands of localized ads with multiple messages based on geography data like Zip code or designated marketing area (DMA), on the fly using a single piece of creative. The ads can even include local store information such as maps, directions, inventory, and links to store-specific web pages.
- Interact with key audiences. Retailers can easily add interactive overlays to in-banner video ads so viewers can share sales announcements and store openings through their social networks, or click to any web page, look up store hours, respond to surveys, download coupons, watch additional videos, or browse catalogues. Today’s technology can help advertisers get even more targeted, while remaining cost conscious, with email capture, surveys to learn about buying preferences, or even showing specific content based on website visits. These interactive elements also help increase viewers’ time spent with ads and, ultimately, increase purchase intent.
- Keep ads targeted. Retailers can take a single spot from a TV campaign and move it online to grow awareness of, say, a bi-annual storewide sale. The challenge with this approach is that retailers place all their money on a single bet – that they’ve selected the most relevant TV spot for all their target audiences.
As with any campaign, creative testing to tailor messaging to a specific audience yields better return on investment. More retailers are running multiple videos simultaneously with in-banner video ads to increase the likelihood of matching the right message with the right individual. After all, customers in different demographic and psychographic sub-segments will find certain promotions, visuals, and calls to action more compelling than others. For example, an ad featuring male models promoting a menswear sale may resonate more with men aged 25 to 44, whereas an ad featuring a family promoting a menswear sale may resonate with women shopping for their significant others. Retailers can personalize their ads based on a wide variety of available data including gender, location, or time of day. A video ad with the call to action to visit a specific store location at a particular hour may be more effective in driving traffic than one that simply promotes a sale, such as “save up to 70%!” Keeping creative targeted helps find these more effective messages and makes campaigns more successful.
- Execute, analyze, refine, and repeat. Networks and sites retailers look to for campaign performance data vary in what they can provide. Retailers should ask for examples and references of the data available. Using data points to inform and optimize creative during a campaign versus using the information post-campaign for future planning is critical to getting the best ROI possible out of every campaign.
Often, in the past, detailed, let alone real-time statistical evidence that may help to optimize creative has been difficult to obtain. Now, working with this new generation of technology ad platforms, using hands-free, real-time artificial intelligence tools, the same marketer can run testing automatically during a campaign, enabling ad servers to know in real time which ads are yielding the most success and adjusting to run them more frequently.
Such in-campaign optimizations, with the right back-end data collection and analytics, don’t need to impact learning for retailers’ future campaigns. Marketers can take the best of any campaign and repurpose the key findings into future actions – like similar messaging, repeating particular audience segmentation, time of day rotations, etc. These new technology platforms can provide both real-time optimization data as well as full back-end, post-campaign analytics. This type of data will help marketers identify the best messaging and creative to build strong, repeatable campaigns.
- Take ads beyond web browsers. Retailers should not limit their campaigns to in-browser only. It’s now possible to take the same in-banner video ad and run it across Web, mobile browser, tablet, and in-app. To cast the widest net possible, retailers can take a “create once, publish everywhere” approach. This approach captures powerful consumer audiences, such as “affluents,” as well as Millennials and others who are now being shown, across industry studies, to spend more time and money online, as well as be more exposed and engaged with all kinds of advertising, including online video advertising (ComScore, July 2011). Ensuring that your messages are reaching those that will be spending, when they’ll be spending – researching products on their smartphones to watching content on their tablets – is going to be crucial to future marketing campaign success.
More and more retailers, and marketers in other key consumer verticals, are experimenting with these ad platforms for advertising and finding positive consumer response and favorability. Offering coupons, additional content, ways to engage with the brand, etc. has already been shown to be important, especially for shopping during key seasonal times such as back-to-school (About.com “American Moms” study, April 2011). Going to these devices with advertising has seemed complex in the past – with specialty technology ad platforms focusing on a single device or ad format, but there are now a few next-generation ad platforms coming to the forefront in this arena that can deliver a single ad across multiple devices without having to parse out a campaign across different technologies and different creative requirements. Now retailers can build ads once that have the ability to work beyond standard PC browsers, such as smartphones and tablets, without sacrificing the same dynamic, personalized ads.
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