The average American is exposed to more than 500 brand messages every day-- by some counts as many as 3,600 total marketing messages. Brand messages proliferate, sneaking their way into every corner of our day to day media lives. Every time we stand in the supermarket checkout line, sit in the stands at a pro football game or take an airline somewhere, we are exposed to more and more marketing messages.
Even the dowdy New York Times Digital has 14 ads on the home page!
Cutting through the clutter is the number one challenge for marketers, and this is one reason why online video can be so compelling. As video grows online, the best campaigns share heightened interactivity and strategic targeting.
Let's review some of the most recent innovative interactive video campaigns to see just how they captivated viewers.
Mark Naples is Managing Partner for WIT Strategy. WIT Strategy is a strategic communications consultancy that serves clients who do business on the web in the US, Europe, and Latin America. WIT Strategy helps these organizations identify and leverage marketplace opportunities, developing and executing strategies that enable them to meet their sales and marketing and/or corporate public affairs objectives in the most cost-effective manner. Formerly the Vice President of Marketing, Investor Relations, and Privacy Officer for 24/7 Real Media (NASDAQ:TFSM), Mark's experience in media, marketing and public affairs with firms such as Ogilvy & Mather and Kearns & West has ranged from lobbying for the "Baby Bells" as part of the Telecom Reform Act of 1994 to the summer 1996 re-launch of AOL.com.
No matter which means of leveraging video through interactive is chosen, it is the interactivity and targeting that makes certain campaigns stand out. Pre-roll is all well and good. But, if you compare the gorgeous creative from one of my favorite broadcast campaigns, from Levi’s, with the "When She's Hot" campaign from Old Spice, you’ll see that there is no comparison.
The secret to leveraging interactivity is enticement, and while the enticement doesn’t necessarily have to be salacious, in this case, it works because of where and how the ad was targeted. The Levi's ad doesn’t work for the same reasons, despite how gorgeous and clever the campaign is.
Results: Online video is not just about repurposing broadcast assets. The results of the Old Spice campaign simply blew away most online video when it received news coverage because of how it engaged users (Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and iMedia), not to mention that it was forwarded more than 10 million times.
Does it count that the creative is hot? Of course-- but so was the creative in the Levi’s ad, for women. It just didn’t give users the chance to interact.
Here’s an example from Rovion that demonstrates how important simple targeting is to the success of a campaign.
Do you know who the little guy going through his karate routine is? I didn’t either. But, the fact that he is a national champion in his discipline, and that the creative was focused just on a site that sells karate equipment lead to amazing results.
Results: Viral forwards lead to a 40 percent increase in site traffic and a 4.6 percent conversion rate. Think that’s cool? I’m not talking about subscription conversations-- I’m talking about merchandise sales on the site during this campaign, which is an impressive figure.
This campaign from Zugura was really gorgeous, perhaps even better looking than its broadcast counterpart:
Results: As you navigate around its multiple panels and sections, realize that the average visitor spent well over a minute in each of the site’s five main sections.
Nearly three percent of the visitors to the site downloaded the commercial to their PSP, and nearly two percent of the visitors to the site downloaded the interview video to their PSP.
These figures are almost too good to believe.
Online video enables brand marketers to engage consumers in ways they cannot anywhere else, be this on the web, through mobile devices, through interactive television, or in the fast-growing segment of gaming.
This creative from Eyeblaster, Digital Edge, and AKQA for Project Gotham Racing is a great example of how and why to engage with gamers:
Gamers consumer more web pages and spend more time online than any other segment. And gamers aren’t just teenage boys. More than 40 percent of web users visit a gaming site each month and gamers spend an average of 48 hours online every month-- more than twice the national norm, and they consumer 55 percent more pages online than the average web users.
So, disregard gamers at your own risk while your competition engages them with their brands through their devices and online.
Results: 41 percent of users expanded the banner. To "see more," almost nine percent talked smack by keying their friends' email addresses into the box and selecting an appropriate taunt to send along within the banner. Pretty clever stuff that drove strong results.
For entertainment marketers, particularly television marketers, online video can also drive tune-in, and this mini-site for Lifetime's made-for-TV movie "Human Trafficking" is a good example:
Results: On average, viewers watched 91 percent of the Human Trafficking video by Carat & Klipmart, with an average view time of 24.46 seconds. The average for theatrical ad units is 71 percent or 21.45 seconds. The average user’s overall interaction rate was 40.48 percent, spending 68.14 seconds interacting with the ad unit.
The challenge of marketing spirits online is that you have to make sure your audience composition is overwhelmingly of drinking age, and in the case of this Tanqueray site -- as with so many similar sites -- that requires visitors to share their birth years before logging in:
Results: But once consumers did log in, wow!
They watched 88 percent of initial creative in this Klipmart campaign, on average (that’s 27.15 seconds) and the average brand interaction time was more than one minute.
It helps that this was a site-specific, very targeted campaign of course. In fact, this was probably as good an example as I saw all year of blending strategic targeting with interactivity.
This campaign was executed by Eyeblaster for the agency Netthink in Spain:
Almost every time I open this creative, someone sitting nearby has to look over because it’s so grabbing.
Results: That’s one reason why consumers watched more than a full minute of this creative, on average. And almost one in five played three-fourths of the entire reel-- that’s strong!
What can we glean from these campaigns?
How do the creative professionals who design the best campaigns start their efforts? I think it’s safe to say that they think about the user first, and then they think about how their targeted user might be most likely to interact with the brand. Then, they tailor the interactivity to that user, and target their buy to most efficiently reach as many of them as possible.
If you think about it, it worked for these campaigns because of the nature of the creative:
- Viral for film trailers (Human Trafficking)
- Taunting for Gamers (Project Gotham Racing)
- Mixing and watching for wanna-be lotharios (Old Spice)
- Homage for Iverson (Reebok’s Answer)
- Making a drink for a lush like me (Tanqueray)
And, just in terms of pure targeting, it worked extremely well for Rovion’s campaign for Century Fitness.
If you’re thinking of developing an interactive video campaign, you could do a whole lot worse than relying on what worked for these campaigns, even though they represent multiple kinds of media buys, and some didn't wind up buying very much media at all.