Driving Revenue from Social Campaigns
We were delighted to be afforded the opportunity to speak at an International Sports Chamber of Commerce event in Lausanne earlier this month - ‘Social Content For Commercial Return.’ The attendance was predominantly rights holders and our segment specifically focused on generating revenue from digital video content.
Given we have recently delivered a presentation on the topic, we decided to share the wealth and publish the main takeaways from our segment in a blog post!
To be clear, we’re talking specifically about generating revenue from video campaigns and not monetising video assets, although is an area we also focus on and will write separately about soon.
Firstly, to set some context, the reason this is even a relevant conversation in the current climate is because the growth in digital video ad spend is growing exponentially. The US market alone will see annual double-digit growth in online video ad spending up to 2021, culminating in about $22 billion dollars and 17% of total digital ad spend.
One of the drivers of this growth is the scale and data that the social platforms can provide, as well as the fact that TV advertising is not the behemoth that it used to be. People can consume premium content on a multitude of other online platforms now, so you are no longer guaranteed the scale and eyeballs of yesteryear on television.
To be clear, we are not writing the obituary for TV. It is still a massively important channel and can be as effective as any other platform, as part of the right strategy. However, cord-cutters and cord-nevers are on the rise and advertisers appreciate the measurement capabilities (albeit questionable at times) of digital platforms.
With the current convergence to digital video and branded content, many advertisers are still finding their feet in terms of how to build a strategy around it. People often want to know exactly how long a video should be for social or what aspect ratio it should take.
When thinking about driving commercial return from video campaigns, the truth is that there is no silver bullet. Somewhat ironically, we think about our digital video campaigns in quite traditional terms, breaking them down into three segments:
Quite simply, your content is only as good as the audience it is front of. All too often, we see slick videos being produced and sitting on a dormant YouTube channel with 200 views. Our approach, specifically when talking about direct response, is to take a data driven approach.
Getting scale (views / reach) is the easy part these days. If you know your way around the backend of an ads platform, it is very easy to get reach, impressions and views (although 3 second views are not the quality we seek). However, what is more interesting is the audience that has taken an active interest in your brand or your product. Who has visited your website or watched >25% of your video or, even better, actually converted? This data starts to become powerful.
Scale is important to discover these learnings in the first instance so our approach is to engage audiences, analyse these datasets and reach users who have shown intent or are more likely to convert.
We apply a simple sales funnel to our social campaigns based on our learnings. This is a simplified version of our approach but when we target people purely by their demographic or interest, you get strong scale but it’s a wide audience.
Once you start to build a profile of people who have engaged with your content or watched a significant amount of your video, this group have shown a reasonable interest so slightly lower scale but some more intent.
Finally, we retarget users who have been to your website / product page and build lookalike audiences of those who have converted. This is a much smaller audience than what we started out with but they have already showed strong intent in some manner and are much more likely to convert.
The key in all of this is having the relevant pixels down across the entire journey as this enables all of the above and ensures all campaigns are measurable.
Much of the commentary in the industry, especially from the the tech platforms themselves, is that video is all about short form now. Build for 15 seconds, build for vertical and convey your message as quickly as possible.
The truth is we do see success from this approach but we also see strong results from longer videos. If you actually think of the psychology behind the logic, watching a slightly longer video can tell a more complete story and, once you have grabbed the users attention, they should still be likely to click through. Completion rates can be low on longer videos though, so tread carefully.
We believe in premium content and establishing a meaningful connection with your fanbase. We often do this through original production but that doesn't always need to be the case.
The real benefit of video, particularly in the sports arena, is that you can transport people to a stadium and illicit an emotional response. In a campaign for the IRFU (nominated for best conversion strategy at the DMAs), we simply focused on 30 second clips of key tries from previous fixtures, developed a creative concept and targeted relevant audiences. Leveraging your existing assets in creative ways can also be effective.
POST COPY / MESSAGE
Something I learned in my Twitter days is that a small tweak in copy in a social campaign can have a massive impact on performance. Working on the mobile team, it was interesting to see sophisticated mobile gaming companies test ‘download’ versus ‘install’ and ‘play’ as their call-to-action message. The results could often change dramatically.
We see the same patterns in our campaigns, as we look to test different variations of copy within each target audience.
Purely from rom our analysis, we have seen the trends emerge:
Use of urgency copy can lead to 5x more conversions
Copy Leading with a quote can have a 10% increase in watch time.
Copy that asks a question can have a 16% higher CTR
Copy that uses emoji can have up to a 18% lower CPA
To surmise, we don’t believe there is a one-size fits all approach for a digital campaign campaign to drive commercial return. However, when you produce quality content, deliver it to the right audience with the right message, there is massive opportunity to drive significant revenue for your business or brand.