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Hands-on: Six tips for successful video campaigns for advertisers

Timo Braam
Senior Programmatic Product Manager | Digital Marketing & Video Advertising

Video campaigns are now considered an integral part of a modern marketing mix. They offer companies the opportunity to reach their target groups in a creative and interactive way. The success of a video campaign depends on a variety of factors, ranging from creative design and technological implementation to precise targeting. What factors should advertisers definitely consider?

Insight #1: TV-Werbespots immer für Online anpassen

Eine allgemeingültige Struktur für ein Werbevideo? Die gibt es leider nicht. Denn Tatsache ist: Für jeden Kanal, über den ein Video ausgespielt werden soll, gelten eigene Gesetze. Gute Instream- oder Outstream-Videos, also Videos innerhalb oder außerhalb von anderen Video-Inhalten, sind ganz anders strukturiert als Bewegtbild-Werbung, die man aus dem Fernsehen kennt. Bei Letzterer wird Spannung im Allgemeinen langsam aufgebaut. Nach dem Höhepunkt geht die Spannungskurve wieder nach unten, am Ende wird noch mal die Marke genannt, fertig. 

Digitale Video-Werbung funktioniert aber ganz anders. Daher gilt: Ein TV-Werbespot muss für Online angepasst werden.

Insight #2: "Think big!"

As a rule of thumb, we have five seconds to grab users' attention. If we don't get their attention in that time, the opportunity is gone. That's why the motto to start with is "Think big!". 

Our tip for advertisers: surprise them! For example, the way the food producer Heinz did. In a commercial, it had superstar Ed Sheeran ponder what an advertisement for Heinz ketchup could look like. In the clip, Sheeran appears right at the beginning and his idea is immediately implemented on film. At the end, he asks: "Do you want to do it?" This way, Heinz immediately arouses curiosity and creates awareness for his product. And this is how he gets his audience to stick with him and his video.

Insight #3: You snooze, you lose ...

The question of the best time to present the brand being advertised can be answered definitively: as early as possible! The trick is to do this subtly and not too clumsily. This can be done via the audio track, for example, or via a sound logo. For outstream videos, it can also make sense to place the brand in the video permanently. Users who concentrate on other content on the website will then still notice the brand. Placing the brand in the subtitles can also make sense for this reason. Speaking of which, it generally makes sense to add subtitles to videos that run without "sound on."

Insight #4: Outstream or instream?

Outstream videos are less popular than instream videos. However, they do offer a number of advantages. For example, they have a higher reach, as they are not limited to certain video platforms but can be displayed in different contexts. In contrast to instream videos, outstream videos also offer high reach in specific environments. This makes it possible to address narrower target groups with high frequency. In addition, instream videos are generally more expensive than outstream videos.

However, instream videos have the advantage that users have to watch the video before they can consume the actual content. As a result, advertisers receive a high level of attention for the advertising message.

Nonetheless, the question of "instream or outstream?" cannot be answered in general terms; the decision always depends on the campaign and the customer.

Insight #5: The question of quality

This also applies to the question of the quality of a video. The obvious assumption that "the more expensive the production, the more promising the advertising" is not always true. For some campaigns and customers, a video shot on a smartphone may be enough—if it fits the campaign and target group convincingly. This is because users are familiar with simple, authentic videos from YouTube, for example. Social media platforms like these have changed consumers' viewing habits.

For others, a high-end production is recommended. In the end, what is important is that the user feels they are being spoken to. The channel and target group must fit.

Insight #6: Measuring success with and without VTR

The question of how to measure a campaign's success remains. The view through rate (VTR) is often cited as the best metric. It measures the percentage of users who have viewed a video ad up to a certain point or in full in relation to the total number of impressions. That sounds good at first. However, advertisers should always ask themselves the following questions: Was the VTR determined properly?

In some places, the VTR is increased by simply continuing to run videos in the non-viewable area after the user has simply scrolled over the video. However, the videos should actually stop. It is important for BCN: It is not credible to name an all-encompassing and comparable metric benchmark. And if the VTR for certain video networks or marketers is unusually high, you should at least take a critical look at it first.

Advertisers who want to achieve a high VTR in a legitimate way should make sure that their content is good. It sounds simple, but it pays off: The better the content, the higher the VTR, and the more likely it is that the campaign will be successful.