Brands are embracing multi-format video as a key marketing strategy, whether they’re exploring how personal relevance influences viewing habits across formats or thinking like creators and experimenting with short- and long-form content.
With creators uploading both Shorts and long-form seeing better watch time and subscriber growth compared to those only uploading long-form,1 brands are turning to the platform to bring their campaigns to life across different formats and environments.
While multi-format success often means matching your creative asset with the right screen and content type, it’s also critically important to use video formats that are geared toward your marketing goals. Here, we’ll break down what this means in practice by looking at two case studies about brands that combined multiple video formats with cutting-edge creative to drive powerful results.
Nissan orchestrates success through music
Nissan wanted to build awareness and excitement for its all-new, all-electric vehicle, Ariya, in a thrilling way. Knowing that music offers a deeply personal, yet universal, experience, the brand dreamed up unique ways to leverage the art form. Since YouTube offers a breadth of ways for music fans to tap into their passions, the marketing team tapped into the platform tocreative to reach engaged audiences.
To fully demonstrate Ariya’s duality — that of a serene, Japanese-inspired cabin combined with the thrilling torque of an electric vehicle — Nissan opted to experiment with YouTube’s popular lo-fi trend, consisting of music videos with chill hip-hop beats and stripped-back production.
Inspired by a popular creator called Lofi Girl, Nissan created its own four-hour lo-fi video, complete with a 15-track playlist and whimsical animation. While creating hours-long video content might be considered risky, Nissan felt confident that YouTube viewers would be receptive.
Allyson Witherspoon, Nissan’s global CMO, explains: “In launching the all-electric Ariya, we looked to build awareness and consideration in ways that could match the vehicle in being exceptionally creative, unique, and trend-leading. That’s where YouTube came in. It gave us the creative canvas to innovate and authentically connect with our audience.”
With the right creative, right trend, and right platform, even the longest-form content can engage audiences across screens.
Nissan ran its lo-fi video across screens using skippable in-stream ads to drive efficient reach, along with a roadblock on Lofi Girl’s channel to increase the video’s share of voice. The team also used a diverse mix of music lineups to surround the campaign with related content, engage new audiences, and meet passionate music lovers already primed for listening across screens.
In its first month, the video drew over 7 million views and thousands of positive comments. It earned an impressive average watch time of 15 minutes across all devices, and 19 minutes on connected TV (CTV) specifically. The campaign’s impact proves that with the right creative, the right trend, and the right platform, even the longest-form content can engage audiences across screens.
Les Mills keeps things short and vertical to boost sign ups
International fitness brand Les Mills had the goal of increasing sign ups for its Les Mills+ at-home fitness app. To achieve it, the brand sought to make exercise — an intimidating concept for many consumers — feel more accessible. This made short, made-for-mobile video the ideal format. And, with YouTube Shorts averaging over 50 billion daily views (as of January 2023),2 Les Mills put Shorts at the centre of its plan.
For ad creative, the brand repurposed short-form, vertical video content previously developed for social media. Next, the Les Mills team ran a mix of vertical and horizontal Video action campaigns to encourage lower-funnel audiences to sign up for the Les Mills+ app. This approach ensured that viewers would receive the most suitable aspect ratio, regardless of device.
Incorporating vertical video has enabled us to reach incremental audiences and drive more people to work out with us.
Ultimately, the campaign exceeded expectations by generating a 52% increase in click-through rate, while reducing cost; Les Mills saw a 10% decrease in cost per acquisition and a 16% decrease in cost per impression. And, while people tuned in on a variety of devices, 24% of impressions were generated from views on mobile phones, supporting the team’s strategy to build with mobile in mind.
Michael Fitzpatrick, marketing manager at Les Mills, explains: “Incorporating vertical video has enabled us to reach incremental audiences during their different watch states and, ultimately, drive more people to work out with us on Les Mills+.” His team’s successful approach shows that using multiple formats helps marketers meet customers where they’re consuming content and drive the results they seek.