Tag Archives: youtube

Treat YouTube Bumpers like Print Ads

YouTube Marketing

Me finding something weird under my fingernails during my presentation about Video trends

Yesterday I was speaking in “Digital PR Strategies 2018”-seminar about how to build your brand one video out of time. While rambling about industrial shredders, Finnish midsummer buyers buying cucumbers and condoms, opportunities of Augmented Reality or how we have worse attention span than goldfish, I also talked about YouTube Bumpers (actually connected to our short attention span).

Those 6 second non-skippable ads have been talked about a lot in last year or so. One key drivers for more shorter video ad content is that majority of audience detest most advertising that is pushed to them. Pushed being the operating term; people are consuming content more than ever before and they are fed up with the bad intrusive advertising more than ever before. So if you take a cynical view, using short form content and branding from first second onwards is preparing to fail: “people will skip it anyway so let´s just be fast”.

The truth is naturally more nuanced and there is a role for different lengths of brand content. The important thing is to have distinct roles for the all the different video assets. It is therefore crucial to recognize what YouTube bumpers are and what they are not.

Bumpers are not for brand building or explaining complicated nuances about your product. However, they are useful tool for brand recall and enforcing your unique selling point (if you have any).

Therefore you should not think about 6 seconds as a grand storytelling tool*, but more like a print or OOH. You can communicate one strong message, one strong visual (that is naturally moving because it is video) and your brand. Nothing more, nothing less. Don´t get confused by that is video, think of it as print ad and probably your creative will become much better.

*And yes I have seen the 6 second renditions of literature classics. And they suck balls compared to original material (although some of them are quite funny). But no one in their right mind would even compare YouTube bumper to great literature novel, apples to oranges and so on. 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Anatomy of An Insight: GEICO Fast Forward

How did they get in the air playing a saxophone?
And we said, “Exactly”.

Pre-rolls are pain, but they should not be. Geico won “Campaing of the year” last year with their Unskippable-series. Now it is time for it sequel and again it does not fail to deliver. As we now sequels don´t usually work in advertising, expect when they are working.

First you are tempted with the pre-roll:

You can´t help yourself. You have to watch the whole thing:

(There are four of these ads for your viewing pleasure)

Insight: Quite often it is more arousing if you don´t reveal everything you got immediately.

This campaign is not only creatively top-notch; Geico has also ensured that all the nuts and bolts in YouTube definitely guide you to right direction.

Tagged , , , , ,

Content is Nothing Without Context

In a recent study with Lóreal and Google, where they tested typical ad, tutorial and testimonial, there were some interesting results. First the typical ad had the best view-through-rate but was not necessarily driving action so much.

viewthroughrate

What really struck me on the study were the following points:

 

1) If you are interrupted, you want to be interrupted with something that looks good.

Pre-rolls have been around for a while so people are expecting to see ads when they are checking YouTube. It is almost like an ad break, but apparently slightly more annoying.

 

2) Women are actively looking for the tutorials, not ads

Especially this is true to the millennials, they are used to less ad-looking content production. If you are interrupted with tutorial when you want to watch a tutorial, not surprisingly you are not necessarily watching it through.

 

3) Younger audience appreciates the more “real” approach and it drives more action

 youngeraudience

action

This pretty much highlights the point I have been going through for a while. Brands need to have their ad and content game in check. Creating great content is not supplementing the hard-working ads. And vice-versa: hard-working ad is quite seldom great content. What works as a pre-roll does not necessarily work in another formats.

Content production is totally meaningless if you do not think the context where you are showing it.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Even Blank is More Interesting Than Your Brand


Above video generated over 100k views with a shy $1400 investment. About 46 percent of viewers watched it for at least 30 seconds. The “creator” of the video Solve Agency says that on average people watched over 2 minutes of this totally blank video and 22% watched the whole thing through. Maybe there are some hypnotic traits in this blank video or people are just generally slow to understand that the blank section does not belong to the video they are intending to watch. Or maybe people are just stupid.

This was an experiment to showcase that views don´t necessarily mean anything in YouTube (and to promote the agency with the white paper). What I think was the most interesting part that the blank video performed better than many traditional pre-rolls. As the digital industry is becoming more and more video content production relying heavily on paid push, we have been devoutly following the YouTube recommendations for the video content:

  1. Get to the point fast
  2. Brand immediately
  3. First five seconds are the most important

What if it would be more effective to do completely opposite?

  1. Start slow
  2. Brand later
  3. Brand only at the very end

We are not currently leaving any room for imagination or curiosity for our viewers. In this fast paced world if you get the point in 5 seconds why bother for the next 25 seconds to see more of the same. Currently we are designing our pre-rolls for the users with default action for skipping the ad (which is probably the right approach in majority of cases). While we force-fed our message we miss the opportunity to find people who are truly interested in what we say. Of course there are not necessarily any people who are truly interested in what we say. Then I would assume that mastering your pre-rolls is the least of your brand´s problems.

We should experiment more with our video content as well. We are wasting money on researching imaginary consumers in hypothetical situations, when we would have awesome opportunity to test different approaches on real marketplace. Leave five minutes blank to your next pre-roll and see how it works compared to your normal approach. If it would work, maybe you are on to something. If it does not, try something else. The Mountain Dew case study I shared earlier found that the longest version of the ad worked the best. Everything is guesswork until you really test it with real consumers in real situations.

When everyone is doing the same thing, no matter if it is principally right, the one who does something different, whether right or wrong, will be noticed.

Tagged , , ,

Vertical Videos Are Here To Stay

“It’s not necessarily that vertical is better, it’s just that it’s how cellphones are commonly viewed.”
– Shaun McBride, Snapchat celebrity

Human behavior is interesting. You would assume turning your phone to watch a video on optimal size would not be too hard task, but it is. Based on my anthropologic research on trains in Singapore practically everyone is looking videos having the phone on vertical position. Mobile phones are designed to be used vertically and we spend already 30% of our screen time in vertically oriented devices. It is just natural that majority of videos are watched on vertical position as well.

How brands should address the rise of the vertical video?

1. Start native vertical video production
We will see a rise of vertical-first video production. Snapchat has already been advocating the brands to start create video content vertically. In Snapchat vertical videos are more effective, portrait videos have up to 9x more completed views than landscape ones. Will this create some kind of new way of video storytelling? That remains to be seen, because we have not yet realized all the possibilities of vertical video. Could the story be different from horizontal and vertical point-of-view?

Portrait is definitely not the best format for longer-form content as our eyes are aligned horizontally, but majority of the content consumed on smartphones is already short-form. There are certain apps like Vervid, which are designed to bridge the gap or more traditional horizontal video production and the snapchat generation. When YouTube and Facebook will introduce vertical video ad units, it really starts to make sense to start creating vertical-first content.

2. Enhance your horizontal videos to fit the vertical ad formats
More interim solution would be to create horizontal content, but utilize the blank spaces to showcase display ads or maybe offer promotions. This works especially when you have horizontal asset, no money for vertical-first production but still want to engage audience in Snapchat. Here is a demo of that approach:

94% of website visits in smartphones starts in portrait mode, so it only makes sense that brands take advantage of vertical video. Changing behavior is hard, tapping into existing behavior is easier and usually much more lucrative as well. Popularity of portrait video is another example on how you cannot separate the technologic shifts and media behavior from your creative thinking.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

How To Make Unskippable Pre-Roll Ads?

“Our ads don’t need to be shorter, quicker, and more snackable; they can be longer, richer, and perhaps even a bit stranger.”

State of advertising in 2015:
Traditional agencies do 30s tv ads.
Digital agencies do 30s skippable pre-roll ads.

In many ways the fun age of experimentation is over and it is back to the status quo and advertising business as usual.

That does not mean there are not opportunities in pre-rolls. They are one form of storytelling. Some of the rules for good story apply to every media, but if you apply TVC storytelling method to skippable pre-rolls in mobile it does not work.

I recommend reading this Google study of Mountain Dew ad and its skip rates. Maybe surprisingly to conventional wisdom in mobile the best performing ad (viewed at 26% higher rate than others) was the longest one:

Some important lessons when you are running your next pre-roll campaign:

1. Just redistributing your TVC is a waste of money and just plain stupid.
When viewer has the power to skip your advertising bullshit, she will most likely do it. Spending a little bit money to different edits or even additional content pays itself back with more effective video advertising and better results.

2. Shorter is not necessarily better.
People have time to watch cat videos, music videos and naked ninja warrior. The problem for brands is that generally people don´t want invest any of their time to it. However, if they start watching your content, they can go longer than the standard 30 seconds…

3. It is all about the beginning
Pre-roll videos should not follow conventional story logic. It is better to start with your outrageous part or the most mysterious part. The main goal is to lure your audience to watch by any means necessary.

4. Do not be obsessed by the branding.
The longest clip has quite moderate branding throughout. Ad recall was worse, but eventually the brand lift was the same as with the other pieces.

5. When in doubt, have animals or cute babies.
Some things in storytelling never change.

Making more unskippable content is not even that difficult. It just requires a new way to approach your content production: more effort, edits, continuous testing and tweaking.

Tagged , , , , ,

5 Ways to Make Your YouTube Pre-Rolls Kick Ass

Sometimes media is the message.

Lately there has been one media, which has had a sudden surge of messages: both skippable and non-skippable.

YouTube pre-rolls.

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:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Only 2015 Social Media Trends You Need to Read This Year

As the year approaches the end, it has become an annual tradition for me take a look at crystal ball and share my views to Kurio Digital Marketing Think Thank on the next year´s social media trends. For those adapt at Finnish, I recommend reading the whole report in here. If you are not interested in the predictions of 26 other Finnish digital marketers, you can also jump straight to the most important ones (mine) below.

Before going through the actual answers, I have to say that I have not been interested in social media as such for a long time. Do not get me wrong. Social plays crucial role in digital business. But I seldom think digital as a separate entity either: digital is air. Digital, mobile and social should be a part of every business. Sometimes at the core, sometimes playing supporting role and sometimes playing no role at all. Strategy is about deciding what to do, but even more importantly what not to do. If you are thinking social media as a separate unit you are missing the bigger picture. The dominance of digital universe goes well beyond our traditional silos.

Having got that off my chest, here are my most important social media trends for 2015:

1. Biggest Social Media Trend in 2015?

One-Size does not fit all
No more social media army knives. Consumers demand services excelling in one feature instead of having multiple mediocre features crammed into one. It is no longer about maximizing users in one single service (Facebook), but maximizing the time spent on the whole ecosystem (WhatsApp, Instagram, FB Messenger). How different services will or not be integrated together is big strategic question and will have implications on what channels companies should be using to reach their target audience.

2. Social media platforms to look out for 2015?

Anonymous and Interest-based networks
Anononymous chat apps (i.e. Whisper & Secret) are definitely interesting. It remains to be seen, can they do the jump to the next level like Snapchat has done.
Even in 2014 discussion forums are still alive and kicking. This is one proof that, there is demand for interest-based social network with underlying idea ”It is not who you are, but what you are interested in”. Ello cannot make it and current anynomous chat apps focus more on filth, rumors and spying. All of those activities are naturally great, but is it enough for these apps to make it to the major league is a billion dollar valuation question.

3. Biggest challenges in doing social media marketing in 2015?

Wrong teams doing wrong things with wrong budgets to wrong clients
From business logic perspective, Facebook and YouTube are more traditional advertising than social media. When you sponsor a post in Facebook, you should invest as much or even more to it than to a print ad. Emphasizing the verb “should”. Many marketers have not understood the shift in dynamics in digital marketing. Facebook is new print. YouTube is the new TV. Some marketers still have the illusion that digital is either free or cheap and you do not have to worry about production values. They could not be more wrong.
On the other hand, some marketers misinterpret the rising digital ad prices and increased resemblance to traditional ad buying logic to just pushing your TV ads to YouTube or print ads to Facebook. They could not be more wrong. Although the prices are getting closer, the creative should be drastically different.
Eyeballs cost money and you do not have loopholes for free publicity any more. If you are not ready to take risks, be honest and bold, catching the attention of consumers is even harder, almost impossible regardless of the media budget.

4. Social Media Buzzword, which hopefully disappears in 2015?

Ello
There has been a simple reason why I have not written anything about Ello in this blog. It is not interesting at all. Diaspora and Ello are manifestations that consumers are not really that interested in privacy, your personal data usage in advertising or in pretty much anything else that you should be interested as a conscious consumer. The problem is that majority of consumers are not that conscious.

5. Biggest social media wish for the next year?

Wishes are for people, who do not make demands.
I actually read through my last year´s predictions and I still think they are valid stuff as well. So if you did not find trends suitable to your liking in this list, I recommend reading that one.

Happy holidays to every one! I still might have couple of posts left in tank for this year, but soon going for a deserved holiday.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Anatomy of An Insight: Don´t Skip Breakfast

Good insight comes always from human truth. But that human truth can be super simple. That human truth can also come from specific media constraints.

Pre-roll is currently the most under-utilized and boring digital advertising format, but luckily there are brands who are putting some thought to it:

EAT – Don’t Skip Breakfast from Brave on Vimeo.

Insight: People skip most of the pre-roll ads. Many people skip their breakfasts as well. Latter is unhealthy, first probably opposite. Can we combine these two skipping behaviors?

Eat is a sandwhich chain. All of the office workers skipping their breakfast at home and skipping those YouTube pre-rolls at work, are a lucrative target audience for them.

Just acknowledging the fact that the skip ad –button is there is great.
Then rewarding those who watch it to the end is just brilliant.
This is simple, but genius work from Brave.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Anatomy of An Insight: Edeka Supergeil

I was having a holiday last week and almost missed the best advertisement thus far this year. Great example that retail advertising does not need to be boring:

Insight #1: When in doubt, steal.
If you are not interesting brand, you should tap into other interesting content. The band called Der Tourist originally did the song in the ad and Friedrich Liechtenstein sang it as well. It was ok viral hit, with over million views. Not overplayed like Gangnam style, but well known enough to build the momentum around.

Insight #2: Interesting is controversial.
Geil meant originally horny in German, but has recently in slang started to mean cool. The whole video and lyrics are filled with sexual innuendo and double entendre (read here the full translation). When you are competing with all the content circulating in Internet, you have to spark the interest immediately. Ad version is actually weirder than the original video. Usually brands start diluting interesting memes and doing politically correct versions of them. That is the recipe for disaster. If you want to be random, you have to be truly random.

Insight #3: Show the product.
I love ads, which put product blatantly to the center but in relevant way. The amount of Edeka products is mind-boggling in the ad. Friedrich is smoking Edeka sausages and bathing in milk and pouring muesli on himself, for god´s sake. If the main premise is right, you can add the product layer easily to your content. Even testing that the house brand toilet paper is plush enough:
Supergeil

Insight #4: Context is the king.
Weird is normal in Internet. That is why the original song was a minor hit. Weird in context of supermarket advertising is abnormal in Internet. That is the reason why Edeka ad has become viral hit. People have the assumption about how retail advertising is. When something like this comes and fights totally the assumption, it is refreshing, surprising and works like hell.

Awesome job from Jung v. Matt.

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: