Video Buyers Blur The Lines Between Brand And Performance

The Williams-Sonoma home decor brand West Elm is piloting a new retargeting model that personalizes video ads to its known customers.

“Traditionally, we haven’t done any TV advertising, which involves a lot of fuzzy math, at all,” said Luke Chatelaine, VP of innovation for West Elm, at and Eyeview’s TV leadership summit on Thursday. “We try to test and learn ourselves into what works in digital.”

West Elm sets ad-spend benchmarks to ensure spending is superseded by a return on investment in sales.

While retargeting was primarily considered a performance display tactic in the past, brands increasingly  augment the strategy into their video and brand-building campaigns.

As a result, David Shim, CEO of location analytics platform Placed, expects more brands to measure digital video based on performance KPIs like cost per sale instead of traditional metrics like lift and recall.

“You see [buyers] measuring things like view-through conversions, but that misses out on where 90% of transactions happen: offline,” he said. 

But for buyers to get video impressions to work harder and prove their ROI, they can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to targeting.

It’s common to create campaign goals around reach and frequency (for scale) or where consumers are in the purchase cycle (for precision), but that’s too simplistic an approach.

Nielsen Catalina Solutions, for instance, notes that category-level and brand buyers tend to benefit from different KPIs.

“We found that beer companies were better off going after people who were more favorable to their brands, but for prepared foods brands [with high purchase frequency], it’s more about conquesting,” said Andrew Feigenson, CRO of Nielsen Catalina Solutions. “

West Elm’s Chatelaine reiterated the importance of test-and-learn to help drive performance with video as opposed to using it as a pure branding mechanism.

“You can get into a habit of making sure things are super pixel-perfect, and then it all falls through,” he said. “It pays to be more iterative and to try a lot at once.”

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