Fitbit Finds Value In Short-Form Video

Despite being a universally recognized name in health and fitness wearables, Fitbit turns to paid media whenever it releases a new connected wristband.

Because Fitbit is a lifestyle product, it wants to find ways to insert its brand into consumers’ fitness regimens – not just hammer them over the head with basic banner ads and pre-rolls.

With the rise of binge viewing and video-on-demand services, brands are increasingly testing product placements, a format that tends to fit in more natively into streaming video content.

In Fitbit’s case, it wanted to align with health and fitness content to create awareness for its new connected fitness tracker.

For the launch of its slimline Alta HR fitness tracker, Fitbit aimed to increase its share of voice in the European and UK market. So, Fitbit sponsored 18 five-minute episodes on British broadcaster Sky’s video-on-demand series “Fit in 5.”

The six-week campaign, featuring fitness personalities imparting health and fitness tips – outfitted with Fitbits, of course – kicked off during the first week of May and will run through early July across Sky’s TV everywhere and on-demand services.

Then, in July, Fitbit will debut a linear TV ad for its Alta HR fitness tracker on Sky’s live sports channel, Sky Sports Mix.

“This was a really different launch process for us because normally, our on-demand programming is just derived from what you see on linear TV and this is one of the first times broadcast will air after on-demand,” said Katie West, controller for branded content at Sky Media. 

One reason Fitbit went in reverse order is because traditional ad placements must work within the parameters of the broadcaster’s commercial breaks 28 or 44 minutes into programming.

“It’s just harder to produce short-form programming for linear TV, especially when you want to create bite-size branded clips like we did for ‘Fit in 5,’” West added.

Fitbit sees ad-supported short-form as complementary to its broader branding efforts.

Short-form and on-demand content “provided this ultimate convenience where the consumer could download the episode when it suited them,” said Lucy Sheehan, marketing director for Fitbit in the UK. “It gives us a way to engage with our core audience regardless of their time constraints and [serves as an] extension to our brand campaigns.”

Although the short-form campaign is still in full swing, Sheehan said Fitbit saw “hundreds of thousands of engagements” its first week in flight.

Although Fitbit hopes to drive sales as a result of its video investments, when it works on partnerships higher up the funnel, such as with Sky, it also collects valuable data about who viewed its ads, their demographic profiles and whether the ads are achieving the desired effect.

“We’re looking to see if we’re having a measurable impact on brand awareness and does that translate into consideration,” Sheehan said.

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