Your 3 Step Guide to an Always On Performance Video Strategy

Sara Hamdan, Ilma Ramcevic May 2019

Always On

When it comes to consumer spending, a typical marketing plan may favor peak moments in MENA such as Ramadan, Back to School or End of Year campaigns. It’s easy to assume these are the main seasons when people shop. The reality, however, is that while there are key periods when purchase behavior might increase, consumers are actually making purchase decisions throughout the year. Whether it’s a new laptop or car for work, birthday gifts or clothes to keep up with those ever evolving trends, shopping happens in every category during the year.

Most brands treat their Google search campaigns as ‘always on’. Most likely your search and display campaigns today run throughout the year, as well as social media campaigns. So why do we treat online video differently? Yes, it has historically been used to drive awareness with advertisers setting their KPIs on views and reach, but can online video performance KPIs be treated as another 'always on' channel?

Performance Video Marketing

At the lower end of the funnel, consumers are doing their research with the intention of making purchases. YouTube has a strong role to play when it comes to driving intent, leads and purchases throughout the year.  YouTube for Action is a suite of formats designed to ultimately drive the performance KPIs you care about most: generating leads, driving sales and recording strong ROI.

There are three different formats within the YouTube for Action umbrella:

  1. TrueView for Action: Using video to drive leads and action
  2. TrueView for Shopping: Using video to drive product views (specific to advertisers  who have e-commerce capabilities)
  3. Universal App Campaigns for Video: Using video to drive app installs  

If viewers are always in the mindset of researching and ready to buy throughout the year, a dedicated strategy must be in place for performance video marketing to complement other ‘always on’ channels. So how is this accomplished? We break it down into three main steps.

3 Steps to an Always On Performance Video Strategy

How can a brand succeed in adopting an ‘always on’ strategy on YouTube to meet consumers where they are? It’s important to move away from a tactical approach that focuses on a certain season or moment and think about the long term action they want to consistently reach. 

YouTube is the ideal complement to your Search campaigns; our research has shown when advertisers run YouTube on top of their Search campaigns, they see 8% higher Search conversion volume, 3% higher Search conversion rates and 4% lower search CPAs compared to  advertisers who run Search ads alone.

Before you begin, set the right objectives. When utilizing YouTube for upper funnel branding activities, you likely had different KPIs in mind: optimizing for reach, awareness and views. However, if you’re looking at YouTube to drive consideration and action, we should have a different set of KPIs. With this mindset in place, we can focus on these 3 main areas for a winning performance video strategy:

1. Creative Assets: Developing a creative strategy that speaks directly to your target audience, tailored for the digital world - and with a clear call to action - is key. Numbers don’t lie: Nielsen research shows that 49% of value in sales contributions is down to clever creative strategy. It boils down to the five seconds that can lead a viewer to click on the skip button or the action button instead.

Creative performance video is relatively new and different to how we think of branding assets. On top of typical guidelines of using the first five seconds wisely and connecting with the right audience authentically, we need to have an added, clear call to action to encourage viewers to complete the desired action. Our next piece will delve into the details of creative assets customized specifically for performance video, with the ‘always on’ mindset.

2. Media and Measurement: After developing an action-oriented creative strategy, the focus is on reaching the right audience at the right time with a solid media strategy. This includes identifying KPIs, refining the targeting method and budget distribution.  Additionally, our YouTube for Action formats will allow you to use performance bidding strategies optimized for driving conversions.

It’s important to keep in mind the differences in the way we evaluate performance from video, since this is a platform where people come to watch videos. It may be that viewers complete the action you are looking for (i.e. clicking on a ‘Shop Now’ button) after they complete a video, or instead they end up seeing your Search ads or go directly to your website.

Stay tuned for a follow up piece that focuses on the fine details of media and measurement when it comes to performance video on YouTube.  

3. Website user experience: Did you know that a staggering 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad user experience? This is part of why it is essential to give attention to a website’s user experience when building a video-based marketing strategy. The truth is that even the best campaign can’t lead to improved performance unless your customers can actually execute transactions easily and quickly on your website.

From Test My Site to research on how mobile masters can drive conversions to case studies, Google has published a host of useful resources. One takeaway is key, though: optimizing sites for speed and apps for easier discovery via deep linking pays back multiples on the amount of effort you put in initially. The next installment will focus on user experience as it relates specifically to video marketing.

So with consumers making purchase decisions throughout the year, it is important for brands to meet their needs with an ‘always on’ approach to performance video that complements the same strategy they adopt across channels. For inspiration, take a look at Samsung's success in this case study with their 'always on,' full funnel campaign around the launch of the Note9. Samsung was one of the first advertisers in MENA to roll out an 'always on' campaign that yielded outstanding results, with increased search queries, standout conversion rates and growth in purchase intent. To that end, we have three pieces coming up on each of the steps as a detailed guide to help you formulate your own winning ‘always on’ strategy on YouTube, too. Stay tuned!