I love when you make a blatant product announcement interesting:
Insight: Snoop is Doggy Dogg and Burger King has introduced hot dogs, see the connection?
Sometimes you just let people know that you have a new product out. You use celebrities to borrow relevance so that people will listen and then you ensure that your content is genuinely funny or moving. This “internal training video” definitely made me laugh, starting from the smoky entrance of Snoop D-O-double G.
Lately there has been one media, which has had a sudden surge of messages: both skippable and non-skippable.
Despite annoying the hell out of users and not really making money, brand advertisers love YouTube pre-rolls. They are the new TV ads. Unfortunately that familiarity often translates to laziness. When there is lack of understanding of digital possibilities, YouTube pre-roll seems like a silver bullet. It feels easy, cosy and ticks all the right boxes (visual storytelling, digital, reach, etc.)
1. Don´t use your TV ads as a pre-roll.
There is an exception to this rule, though. If you have done genuinely funny, entertaining and effective TV ad, which works also in digital format and drives the message home in the first 5 seconds you can skip this part.
Yep, I thought so.
Although it feels tempting and easy solution, dumping your TV ad to YouTube hardly cuts the mustard.
Majority of TV ads are 30 seconds. The media buying behavior is the main reason for the duration. 30 seconds is not magical duration to tell a story. Especially in YouTube, where people watch content ranging from fraction of seconds to multiple hours.
TV ads are more passive format, as you cannot skip them as reaching for the remote is more tasking than moving your cursor on screen. You can be more boring and long-winded in TV ads and still make them work. You don´t have that luxury with YouTube pre-rolls. At its most minimum level, at least make YouTube edit of that TV ad.
2. Understand why people are watching YouTube videos
When you buy that pre-roll, you are, by default, annoying users. They want to watch some idiot eating Naga Morich, not hear about your latest anti-dandruft shampoo. You are not engaging with audience, you are interrupting them. So embrace that fact. Little contextual acknowledgement (Burger King Anti Pre-Roll) or even reward for watching the whole video (EAT: Don´t Skip Your Breakfast) will go a long way.
3. People will likely skip your ad. Make those 5 seconds count.
Depending on the source, over 94% or as little as 70% skip the pre-rolls. Nevertheless of the actual number, you can safely assume that your pre-roll is more likely to be skipped than seen or shared.
Therefore the most important part of a good story is the beginning. You have to catch the attention immediately. Like saying that you electrocute a dog if you skip the ad:
Even after this threat, only 26% watched the video in its full glory. Either there are more latent dog-haters around or people just skip the ads based on the habit. Hardest task is to make people stay and watch the first 5 seconds. After that the consumer is already committed to your content and can just hang on:
4. Don´t Sweat The Length (but make it as short as possible)
Generally non-skippable YouTube ads should be shorter than that and skippable ones could even be significantly longer. So take your time as long as your start is hard-hitting. After first five seconds everything is easier.
Only caveat is that it might be quite overkill to force user to watch 30s pre-roll when she is watching 10s video. Smart marketer would have lots of different versions of the YouTube pre-roll to suit different context (like Burger King Pre-Roll) or different lengths. The following ad from Volkswagen would work brilliantly with shorter-form video:
Doing multiple versions is more expensive from production perspective, but increased investment would also result in increased effectiveness.
5. If you don´t have anything interesting to say or show, you are not interesting
YouTube pre-roll has certain limitations and opportunities, which are good to keep in mind. At the end of the day, it is still about good marketing communications. Great story is a great story whether it is 5 seconds or 5 hours. And on the other hand: If it looks like shit and smells like shit, you don´t need to really taste it to verify that it is shit.
If you are doing the latter, you should be ashamed of yourself. No matter what the medium. And if you are being clever and having fun with the medium you can actually expand the interest from 5 seconds to 1 minute:
Accidentally I stumbled upon two Burger King campaigns this week which were on totally opposite side of the spectrum. Whopper Sellout was a disaster, but this pre-roll campaign is great:
Insight: People hate pre-roll videos. Ironically, you probably have to watch one to see the case study above. There is nothing more annoying than seeing boring ads, when you just want to see Japanese diarrhea dance. I pretty much always skip the pre-roll, expect if it really captures my attention immediately. Kobe & Messi Selfie Shootout was probably one of the latest pre-rolls I watched from beginning to end. But what if you tailor your pre-roll message to the content your audience is going to watch?
Really simple and effective idea also tied to promotional message. It would be interesting to see some stats from the campaign as well and to compare the finishing rates to regular Burger King promotional pre-roll. My hunch is that this execution did quite well. This is also a great example that nowadays you really cannot separate creative and channel planning. They go hand in hand.
One of the most idiotic campaigns lately has been this effort from Burger King Norway:
Effectively they subsidized their biggest competitor with 50 000 krones and lost 30k of their Facebook audience at the same time. But hey, now they have more engaged Facebook community with only those who care, right? Or they have 8000 fans who have already opted out of Facebook messages and have not seen the status updates about campaign.
Why this campaign was just really idiotic stunt?
1.Fast food is not loyalty business.
Majority of the people eat both in Burger King and McDonald´s. When you are hungry your main selection criteria is location, location & location. 72% of Pepsi drinkers drink Coke as well. Also if you offer free gift coupon for your main competitor and the only downside is that you cannot join a brand Facebook page anymore. Who would not get this deal? We are not talking about your favorite basketball team here. We are talking about burgers. How often you go to social media to really engage with burger? If your brand page disappeared today, who would mourn it?
2. Fast food is a mass business.
Even your most loyal 8k fans do not really make dent in your results. Therefore I rather had 40k disloyal bargain hunters than 8k hardcore Burger King loyalists. Sometimes Facebook is just reach and not engagement. The situation would be different if your average buy would be hundreds of dollars. Buying the fast food is low-interest buy. In reality you want the people fast in-fast out and not really expect them to discuss about your brand further.
3.Fast food business is led by promotions.
People wait for the new burger variants, one-dollar discounts and 2-in-1 deals. Why not give what they are wanting for? Majority of the brands should just realize that their Facebook page is only place for promotions, sweepstakes and occasional social media meltdowns. People go to Facebook because they want to connect with their friends. They do not want to connect with brands. They might do it occasionally, if they really want to or if they are bribed properly. Most likely they are too busy uploading selfies than answering your boring brand poll.
Liking in Facebook is quite seldom an act of loyalty. Quite often your most loyal fans do not even know that you have Facebook. It is totally delusional to argue otherwise. And do not get me wrong, I do not think that there is necessary any value to Facebook like and there has been brilliant campaigns playing around the mindless like-chase. I have to also admit that “Whopper Sacrifice” is still one of the most brilliant FB campaigns ever. They were probably trying to come up with something like that in Norway, but failed miserably.
Much more effective campaign would be to offer people to switch their whopper to Big Mac in Burger King. Then I think more people would show loyalty and you would have gotten nice case study video material. Or do a campaign where you can only like either McDonald´s or Burger King in Facebook, and reward those who select Burger King as their solely FB Burger fan page with free Whopper. With Whopper Sellout the mechanics were just wrong and therefore it failed (and nicely done case study video does not change that fact).
Only good part of the campaign has been the publicity it has garnered (like this long piece on Fast Company). Calculated through that, it might have been worthwhile to lose those 30k fans. They also seem to have gained 2000 new ones after this latest stunt, so maybe it was just really twisted PR stunt and I fell victim to it as well.
Otherwise this just looks like award case study scam gone terribly wrong.