Many consumers are drawn to their favourite brands when they begin a new shopping journey. Our Decoding Decisions research shows that it can be challenging for brands that are new, second choice, or less familiar to the customer to capture market share. However, brands can go a long way by including the right information in their advertising.
For Swappie, a Finnish mobile refurbisher and online reseller that expanded to seven countries in 2020, being a newcomer is all about offering reassurance. “Building trust is a crucial element of entering a market, especially in our industry,” says Janne Aartolahti, Swappie’s head of growth marketing. “That’s why storytelling has proven to be key for us. We needed to show consumers that we operate safely and securely, not just say it.”
Keen to go beyond text-based ad formats to tell their full brand story with new audiences, Swappie turned to video. But how did they manage to drive consideration with a channel not typically used for mid-funnel activation?
Painting the full picture
Our Decoding Decisions research reveals that making use of cognitive biases can help brands win customers in the mid-funnel stage — or the “messy middle” — of the purchasing journey. For Swappie, this meant they needed to provide consumers with the information needed to gain trust.
“Consumers can be skeptical, especially with new brands,” says Jiri Heinonen, Swappie’s co-founder and expansion strategy lead. For the mobile reseller, this meant that many of their website visitors would leave without taking action.
“There is so much information you can put in a video. We wanted to use that space to really show consumers what we stand for.”
As those drop-offs were more likely to occur when site visitors didn’t have any prior knowledge about the brand, Swappie decided to shift its advertising budget to YouTube. “There is just so much information you can put in a video,” Heinonen says. “We wanted to use that space to really show consumers what we stand for, so that they come to our website knowing what to expect and are more likely to make a purchase.”
Testing, testing, testing
The range of opportunities video offers can have its challenges. “As videos have more variables than static ads, for example, it can be difficult to pinpoint why a person converted or dropped out of the funnel,” says Aartolahti.
To solve this, the team focused on testing. With limited resources and huge growth targets to achieve, they needed the testing process to be as efficient as possible.
With that in mind, Swappie turned to Maximise Lift, a YouTube bid optimisation service. Using machine learning signals and insights gained from a Brand Lift study, it focuses on showing ads to the people who are most likely to consider the brand or product. As this works in a continuous loop, it affords businesses a unique opportunity to test many different styles of messaging to see what works.
“This means we can take more risks,” says Aartolahti. “Sometimes, ideas you think will work really well fall completely flat, while something that seems silly at first ends up being very effective. But you won’t know unless you try, and chances are results will be better than when you’re playing it safe.”
By shifting to automated solutions, Swappie spends 10X less time setting up creative tests and analysing results.
The Maximise Lift ads helped Swappie lift +30M users from awareness to brand consideration, at a 17% lower average cost per user acquisition than their other YouTube ad campaigns. Through this, they proved that YouTube — a channel typically celebrated for its top-funnel brand-building capabilities — can also be used to reach potential customers in the mid-funnel stage of the purchasing journey.
The case for efficiency
One of the main benefits of automation is that it helps teams be more efficient, though it can feel like an investment at first. “Setting up effective machine learning solutions takes time,” says Aartolahti. “It doesn’t pay off immediately, so you need to be patient and realistic about results and avoid the mistake of pausing campaigns before they come into effect.”
By shifting to automated solutions, Swappie spends 10X less time setting up creative tests and analysing results. Hours they can now spend on strategy and value adding activities.
“There used to be a real trade off between time spent on idea generation versus execution and testing,” Heinonen says. “Now, we can spend the majority of our resources to come up with triggers for growth and out-of-the-box creative ideas that we know we can test quickly.”
3 ways to drive brand consideration with YouTube ad campaigns
- Video is an effective storytelling tool, so use it to show new customers what your brand stands for
- It’s impossible to know which creatives will work well in advance, so use automated solutions such as the YouTube Brand Lift study to efficiently test different approaches
- Use time saved to build on your learnings and continuously test new ideas for growth