Unlocking Mid-Funnel Metrics With Dynamic Video Ads

Countless debates, presentations, and articles have addressed the measurement of digital advertising – what to count, how to count it, and even whose counts are most valid. Yet, for all of the attention paid to metrics, one part of the core marketing process is rarely discussed: the middle of the funnel.

Looking closely, the majority of digital metrics focus on the bottom of the sales and marketing funnel. Clicks, leads, visits, and conversions are the preferred measures with the greatest sophistication. The top of the funnel has gained further attention recently, where ambiguous, but embraced terms such as engagement and interaction join standards like reach and frequency. But why have we consistently ignored the critical steps between generating awareness and driving direct response that constitute the mid funnel?

Individual campaigns often use self-reported survey data to understand how advertising influences a host of mid-funnel metrics, such as favorability and message recall. However, these metrics have not been applied effectively to the broader industry. So let’s fill the mid-funnel gap with technologies that help us deliver impact, interactivity, and relevance needed to enable new measurement techniques. By leveraging in-banner video advertising and dynamic content, marketers can establish three uniquely robust and, more importantly, repeatable mid-funnel metrics:

  1. Interest. Marketers want to determine who is interested in their products, services, or companies. If the viewer of a web page actively chooses to watch a video ad, they have clearly moved from awareness to interest, and their action is measurable. Ad units that require the user to actively trigger a video or other interaction provide concrete performance metrics, rather than video content that plays automatically. By dynamically changing the initial impression content, advertisers can determine which messages generate the greatest interest and optimize their programs accordingly. For example, a retailer can rotate starting impressions to determine what specific wording on a weekend sale promotion generates the most video views, as a method of measuring interest.
  2. Consideration. It is one thing for people to choose to watch a video and demonstrate interest, but how do advertisers know if they are considering taking action? If someone takes time to learn about a product or watch a message within the ad unit, they are considering its value. Duration metrics can show whether active viewers are watching the entire video, or what percentage of the total video is viewed on average. The more they watch, the more they are considering. If this time the video content dynamically changes, advertisers can determine which videos generate longer viewing and, subsequently, more consideration. An auto manufacturer may run a series of videos as part of a single ad campaign, and then creatively optimize to the video that garners the greatest total views to generate the most consideration time for the promoted vehicle as possible.
  3. Intent. Most importantly, marketers want to know if their ads have moved consumers to act. But without actually seeing the action, how do we know if people intend to take that next step to buy or sign up? Not every action from an online ad has to be a click, and once people are watching a video, they might take all kinds of actions within the ad – from sharing and liking on Facebook, to watching more videos, to finding the closest store location, to downloading a coupon. While these intent actions are not new, today’s dynamic, video-based ads can provide all those calls to action within the actual ad unit, rather than a simple click to a website. Consider a viewer that chooses to click on a “find the nearest location” button within a video ad for a bank. This action can be a proxy that they plan to visit that bank to learn more or open an account.

These three crucial metrics are based on performance data rather than survey responses. Most importantly, performance data can be used across campaigns, enabling advertisers to identify benchmarks, targets, and other shared intelligence that set standards and expectations. These metrics are repeatable and retain their value beyond a single program. They also leverage video – the most compelling, fastest-growing form of digital advertising – which offers advanced measurement based on how the content is viewed and what action it drives. In-banner video and dynamic content are the keys to unlocking the long ignored, yet extremely valuable, mid-funnel advertising metrics: interest, consideration, and intent. Once unlocked, these metrics provide the missing link to a truly holistic, digital marketing strategy and, ultimately, the opportunity for even more dollars to move from traditional to digital channels.

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