Why it’s time for search engine marketers to become video marketers

David Rodnitzky July 2018 Video

Performance marketers who write off video are missing opportunities to reach and convert a highly qualified audience, 3Q Digital’s David Rodnitzky argues.

Conversion-focused marketers, or “performance” marketers, love predictability, data, and measurability. As a result, we instinctively reject video advertising because — let’s face it — video is the realm of those Madison Avenue creative types who measure success not by ROI but by the number of Gold Lions they win at Cannes.

Not anymore. In fact, performance marketers who continue to write off video marketing are likely making a career-limiting decision. That’s because digital video, when done right, is just as effective as the most bottom-of-the-funnel search engine marketing campaign.

Billions of opportunities to connect with customers

Ultimately, as marketers our job is to understand and anticipate the needs of consumers and find ways to assist them in any given moment, wherever they’re spending their time.

If you’re ignoring online video, you’re literally missing billions of opportunities to engage with people.

Today it’s clear consumers are spending a ridiculous amount of time with digital video. To illustrate, according to Deloitte, U.S. internet users spend, on average, 15 hours each week with digital video.

So just from a perspective of scale, if you’re ignoring online video, you’re literally missing billions of opportunities to engage with people.

The new world of video marketing

Of course, scale on its own doesn’t mean much to our ilk. So let’s also look at the facts to support the value of digital video, specifically for direct-response goals. We’ll focus on YouTube, the world’s second-most-used search engine behind Google.

Though YouTube is also an entertainment destination, viewers don’t go there just to randomly scroll through the most popular videos of the day. For example, 70% of millennials say they’ve used YouTube to learn how to do something new or learn more about something they’re interested in.1 That sounds an awful lot like search intent to me.

This consumer behavior hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Googles and Facebooks of the world, which is why they’ve been creating video advertising tools specifically designed to help marketers harness it.

For example, marketers can now create custom intent audiences to reach YouTube viewers who have already carried out a specific Google search. It’s a great way to close the loop, since, according to the Pew Research Center, YouTube is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

And YouTube is constantly launching new formats, like TrueView for action, which lets you buy and optimize media for actions viewers can take on ads, such as signing up for a service or purchasing a product.

At 3Q, we’re already helping our clients put these new tools to work. For example, a recent campaign we ran for CuriosityStream, an over-the-top video content site, combined TrueView for action ads with Customer Match and improved the click-through rate by 240%, generated 89% more sign-ups, and reduced cost per acquisition by 12%2 (compared to standard TrueView with manual bidding). Those are numbers worth paying attention to.

Direct-response video metrics that make sense

I hope the need to incorporate digital video marketing into your plan as a performance marketer is clear by now. But if you’re new to video, there’s likely one big question still on your mind: How do I measure ROI?

It’s a good question, because it’s not going to be the same as for search. That means performance marketers will need to adopt new measurement practices for video — like forgetting about last-click attribution.

In search engine marketing, we all understand that clicks are the primary measure of a potential customer’s intent to know, go, do, or buy. However, an ad doesn’t have to be clicked on for it to be effective, and this is particularly true for video advertising.

For example, someone may see your ad for a pair of shoes while watching videos on YouTube, and decide to make a purchase later that day. These are called view-through conversions, and accurately accounting for them is important when calculating the ROI of your video campaigns.

And here’s another important thing to consider for measuring digital video:  just as you distinguish between a click on a text ad’s headline or extension and a click where someone “likes” something on social, it’s important to carry out a similar exercise when comparing different video destinations. That means ensuring all media providers are using the Media Rating Council definition of ad viewability, because it does make a difference, even for performance ads.

Time to stop making excuses

I know some marketers will still be nervous about venturing into the world of directional metrics and qualitative creative. If that’s you, my recommendation is to take a deep breath and get over your fears. There is simply too much traffic on digital video — and too much intent, in YouTube’s case — to ignore.

If your ultimate goal is to grow your business, then you have to be able to anticipate and capture consumer intent everywhere. Ignoring these people because the data isn’t measurable to the fourth decimal point, or because the ads can’t be created in one minute on a laptop, is no longer a valid excuse. It’s time to take advantage of the video opportunity before your competitors beat you to it.

To find out more about what performance marketers could get out of video, watch our Q&A with David Rodnitzky.

Brand marketers: Just sitting on your video performance metrics won’t get you far