"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Marla Newman, EVP of digital sales and Jason Lidofsky, executive director of video strategy and sales activation at Meredith Corp.
The fundamentals of video ad measurement are rapidly changing. Simple reach and frequency are no longer enough, because consumers watch video in more environments than ever before – including traditional networks, streaming services, digital publishers and on the social media profiles of influencers and other creators. So the circumstances and environment in which video is served have become just as important as the content itself.
If the goal of a video ad is to drive consumers to take action, then both ad buyers and sellers must understand the consumer’s intention and the power of context.
To understand these factors, start with the taxonomy of the page where the video is viewed. Knowing how content is classified enables better understanding of the context, which enables advertisers to target consumers based not only on who they are but on what they need and when they need it.
Take a simple term like “lavender.” Content associated with taxonomy can help answer questions like: What colors are trending in home décor? Which herbs do home cooks commonly use in desserts? What types of landscapes are trending? Understanding the taxonomy can turn an environment where a video is viewed into a flywheel of insights and customer engagement – something that would certainly be important for a home décor advertiser vs. a food advertiser.
Also, knowing why a consumer is visiting a page can increase an ad’s effectiveness. Is the consumer looking to passively consume content, or are they actively seeking information with a specific purpose? What is their intention? Does it come from a brand they recognize and trust? Can they skip or fast forward through commercials? Are they leaning in to satisfy a specific curiosity?
Knowing, for instance, that a piece of video content is designed to provide viewers with tips, life hacks, or other useful information – information that could somehow help enrich their lives, from advice for parents to how-to and recipe videos that focus on data-informed trends. In a recent ad program with a CPG brand that leveraged this service-oriented approach to video content, the click-through rate was over 4x the benchmark (in addition to achieving reach and frequency goals).
We saw similar results from another program that featured financial advice from real families, done in partnership with an insurance company, where consumers were driven to take action – this time in the form of a significantly lowered cost-per-quote metric. In both cases, the ability to understand the user’s intent enabled the result of consumers taking some type of action.
Although environment and user intent are important factors, aligning with content that is informed by data also has a number of advantages. Applying trends and data signals in the creation stage of video content ensures that the content reflects what viewers care about. This is important because advertisers are after more than just reach and frequency. They are pursuing a meaningful connection with viewers. Aligning with data-informed content is, in essence, a way to empathize with the consumer and understand what they care about.
Let’s say that as a content owner, you’ve done research and understand that “single-serve desserts” are popular as families figure out what to prepare or bring to casual get-togethers outdoors. Then, look at SEO data to determine what sort of desserts are trending in a given month. Use that information to create relevant videos based on these topics, make sure that content is tagged with trending key words to boost discoverability. If you leverage all of those factors properly, you’ll see a significant jump – above 50% - in performance on those episodes, with a large percentage of views coming from search.
A data-informed approach is not a substitute for reach and frequency, which remain cornerstones in the process. However, video has become a highly dynamic landscape, and not all video views and impressions are equal. Aligning with video content that embraces a data-informed approach means that you are aligning your message with the needs and wants expressed by people. At the very least, this gives brands the opportunity to leave a lasting impression.
The combination of data-informed premium content from trusted brands and an environment built around a seamless user experience has the potential to deliver tremendous value to consumers and advertisers alike. As viewing behaviors continue to shift, companies that continue to be where consumers are heading will be well positioned no matter what the future brings.