Recently read about Brightroll using Magnetic’s platform for re-targeting online video advertising, and ran across this quote:
“The amazing power of online video creates a visceral response from users, given how engaging the ads can be. Imagine serving a stylistic video of a BMW racing through the streets of New York to a user who is in purchase mode for a luxury car – and we know this because the user’s key word searches show the exact intent. This is the branding opportunity we are delivering,” said Josh Shatkin-Margolis, CEO of Magnetic. “By combining this opportunity with search, the highest converting source of data, we’ve made it easy for advertisers to create a perfect synergy of ad creative, media, and data.”
At first glance, this all seems about right, but when you dig into it a bit more, there are some problems with the model that is developing for online video. Here’s three thoughts about this approach, and some alternatives:
Quote #1: “online video creates a visceral response from users”
Response: Video on your computer monitor is not nearly as “visceral” as your home entertainment system. With HD flat screens the norm now, and sizes growing beyond 60″ and even 72″ rapidly, your desktop does not stand a chance. We are importing movie theatre experiences into our living rooms at a rapid rate, and the lowly 27″ computer screen is going to pale in “visceral” terms. But this is not a problem. Why? Because people are not looking for or expecting “visceral” experiences online…they are looking for information and looking to connect with other people. Creating high quality, useful video content and then leveraging social media to distribute it – or better yet, to allow your audience to share and comment – proves better than spending precious production dollars on “visceral.”
Quote #2: “we know this because the user’s key word searches show the exact intent”
Response: Consumers are searching for information and rich content not keywords. We’ve compiled a database of over 70,000 searches and found that what people are looking for is never exactly what you think. They are not searching for camera ads when they type “how to photograph babies.” What they need is a credible expert teaching them, not your neighbor next door shooting homemade video in his garage. Unless he is a photography guru. People want information from people they can trust. They’ll look to their network (thank you social media), and then they look to Google. So, just placing your ads based on keywords is not really getting you at a deep level of intent. You have to study the intent first and create content based on it.
Quote #3: “easy for advertisers to create a perfect synergy of ad creative, media, and data”
Response: Making it easier for consumers to find great content should be every marketers goal online. We used to say it all the time in the early days of the web: Content is King! Somewhere along the way, we forgot what content was. Either that, or the people defining what content is changed. Now, content is whatever drives advertising revenue – more specifically, it is whatever is getting the clicks that I will get paid for. Or in the case of the quotes above, it is about targeting a keyword and delivering a contextual ad beside the content that the “user” is actually searching for. Keyword context is a topic in and of itself. The bigger issue here is that we are lifting print advertising strategies and porting them to the web. Lay my ad beside great content, and voila! Awareness, Trial, Conversion and Loyalty ensue.
So, what to do? Be the content.
How? Three quick ideas:
Understand Your Strengths. If you are a brand marketer, then you have subject matter expertise in your product category. In fact, there’s a problem if you don’t. Brands spend millions of dollars on R&D and research on their categories. This accumulated knowledge is great fodder for content, and it will put you in a new position with your consumers. One of thought leader and not just advertiser. But to do this right, you need to know the boundaries of your brand. Where do you have permission with your consumers? What will they listen to you about? The only way to find this out is to begin to wade in.
Learn What They Are Searching For. The first step of wading in is to listen. The best place to listen is in search. How are they searching your category? It is the rare brand that is searched for by name. Most brands are found online because of related, often complex and indirect, search strings. Digging into this data is the only way to really learn what interests your current and potential audience. Seeing how and where they are searching will give you crystal clear guidance in developing your library of video content.
Land In The Center Of The Page. Once you’ve created this content-rich, HD-quality video content, you’ll need to distribute it. That’s what the video sharing sites are for, right? Wrong. Well, kinda wrong. Video sharing sites are great. Many (like YouTube) deliver a lot of traffic (if you know how to optimize for their quirky search world), but often the smaller sites (i.e. everyone else) don’t deliver the audience. To get to the audience, you have to build a distribution network of publisher sites that will license your videos (for free) and run them as content (for free) on their sites. Then when your audience is searching, they will find this content regardless of where they tend to look. And you will be in the center of the page where content lives, not banished to the rim of the page with the ads.
Becoming content savvy is critical for marketers in the current media landscape. It takes some work, but it delivers great results. Let us know your success (or horror) stories. How are you winning with online video content?