AdExchanger: Which came first, content production or video analytics?
SPENCER WEINMAN: The company started in content production. We can create a video for a tenth of what it might cost at a traditional creative agency. So the original idea was to make, say, 10 videos for $10,000 apiece instead of one production for $100,000. And then you can test and optimize based on audiences and messages.
That’s more of an agency model, where there’s an annual commitment for content production and that becomes like an account you can debit for videos and production. The video analytics product is a pure SaaS fee to access the platform.
The business right now is still more agency and content production than analytics. But we’re investing more in analytics.
Is that because the SaaS analytics model is a more attractive option?
Where marketing ideally goes is brands start to realize that they need a much greater volume of video content and for that creative messaging to remain fresh. You need to be creating more content with options tailored to specific audiences and specific platforms.
Analytics becomes the vehicle to show how they should approach video strategy and production. And the analytics platform creates levers for optimization, which generates more production.
We see analytics as meant to be a flywheel for production.
So, for instance, take Glossier, a client, which might make 50 video elements per week. Our video analytics software ingests data about all of that video content. Not just the “in-view” or click-rate data you’d get from IAS, Moat or Facebook, but whether one or more people are in the video and their ages, genders and ethnicities, as well qualitative details like tone and colors.
You end up with more data on what works.
And since there’s so much public video on social platforms, we can also do competitive reports on what’s working in the category. So a company like McDonald’s could also see what’s working for Wendy’s or Burger King.
That’s the stickier and more differentiated part of our offering.
Has anything changed in the past few months?
It’s no surprise, but we’ve seen a massive acceleration in connected TV and OTT. Obviously with COVID-19, there’s a huge increase of viewership. We’ve started working much more with platforms like Hulu and Roku.
The other one that’s gained massively is TikTok, of course.
We also have seen a promising uptick in non-advertising content.
What kind of production is that?
One example is we create the videos for The Trade Desk’s Edge Academy educational and training video program. Sometimes it’s HR videos if there’s an internal program. Another one is using us to manage customer service and support or for things like troubleshooting videos. That’s a way to save money if there’s a situation where you’d have to hire more people to field customer calls.
How do those companies measure success with those efforts compared to ad content with attribution and a KPI you’re targeting?
The attribution used to come down to whether or not it looked good. But even this is more data-driven now.
Square’s benchmark for success is whether we’re lowering calls to customer service week over week or by month on certain FAQs. Disney is another customer there, and for them it’s whether they’re getting fewer emails and customer issues for something like connecting Disney Plus to Roku.
That’s always our first question: What’s the metric of success?
What’s the biggest growth opportunity right now?
Probably the biggest area of investment for us is ecommerce and retail media. Companies like Shopify, Amazon, Target and obviously Amazon have exploded in the past year in terms of becoming a priority for our clients, which drives our own investments.
Why are ecommerce and retail media platforms factoring into the video strategy and production?
Clients are trying to create a video strategy that spans the online path to purchase – from brand marketing ad campaigns or someone discovering a product on Snapchat or Instagram, or an Amazon search, to the actual PDPs (product display pages) on the retailer site or assets for email remarketing.
The ecom supply chain has shifted from static to video displays extraordinarily quickly.
That’s not coronavirus-related though?
No, it isn’t. Some ecommerce companies have started requiring it from brand partners, and so it’s been sweeping through.
Target had a deadline late last year for certain sellers on its site to upgrade their PDPs with video.
Amazon keeps its data close to the chest, so we don’t have any sense of whether having video assets improves your product listing or anything like that. But marketers see signs of what works for Amazon from what the company does with its own brands. And they’ve started to do a lot of video.
So the result is we get a lot of brands coming to us because they want to create an animated GIF for their default product display or have a sizzle with 360-degree view of a purse, say, to get more of that touch and feel you don’t pick up in a static picture.