Last year marked an inflection point for video viewership. More than ever, people around the world — from the U.K. to the U.S. to Japan to Canada — relied on streaming platforms as their primary way to watch video. While we may be eager to put much of 2020 in the rear view, some trends are here to stay, and we must be ready.
Not sure where to start? Much can be learned from how brands have transformed their approach to video in response to shifts in viewership. To help, here are five ways advertisers are adapting to drive results.
1. Reach consumers where they are: streaming
People are watching record amounts of digital video. According to Comscore, YouTube reaches 95% of Canadians across all audiences, making it the #1 ad supported video platform.1 And the screen where viewership is growing the fastest? The TV screen. Over 13 million Canadians streamed YouTube on their TV screens in December 2020.2
Forward-looking brands are making the most of reaching these engaged audiences on the big screen. For example, when COVID-19 forced the closure of car dealerships across Canada, Kia recognized the scale and impact they could achieve via connected TV on YouTube, seeing a 16% increase in digital leads and a 15% increase in market share.
2. Embrace the move to e-commerce and online shopping
In response to dramatic changes to shopping behaviour, brands have made quick pivots to e-commerce to reach and engage potential customers across the purchase journey. And around the world, online video is proving to be a powerful performance driver. New research shows that over 60% of YouTube viewers say they bought a brand as a result of seeing an ad on YouTube.3 More and more advertisers are seeing results from videos with action-oriented formats, collectively driving nearly 1 billion conversions in a year.4
When confronted with closing stores, L’Oréal USA’s Kiehl’s repurposed existing video creative, coupled it with timely messaging, and ran a TrueView for action campaign, hitting conversion goals and delivering a campaign average that was 4X more efficient than other tactics. Gucci drove 45,000 visits to its site with a smart combination of ad sequencing and action formats, including TrueView for shopping, that connected viewers directly to relevant items, bringing customers closer to purchase.
3. Combine creative fundamentals with innovative formats
Now that audiences are streaming more than ever, advertisers are asking questions on how to make sure their creative resonates on streaming platforms like YouTube. We see ads that focus on fundamentals like the ABCD's and are created with YouTube in mind perform best.
While brands didn’t necessarily have to make coronavirus-themed ads to drive results, most recognized the need for agility and adapted creative to be relevant to people’s needs and mindsets. Whether by sequencing stories based on engagement, personalizing at scale with Director Mix, or experimenting with helpful creative that responds to intent, brands that drove impact used innovative creative approaches and relevant ad formats to respond and get closer to customers.
For example, when Bank of Montreal (BMO) launched its new, millennial-focused credit card, BMO eclipse Visa Infinite, the team used Director Mix to create 108 personalized video ads, starring Priyanka, winner of Canada’s Drag Race. These more personal and relevant ads helped them reach millennials and resulted in 142% PoP growth in sales for the card.5
4. Double down on brand building
Too often, longer term brand-building investments are cut first during a crisis, when they’re critical to business growth. In a Google-commissioned study by Nielsen and YouGov analyzing sales and brand lift data across 20 CPG brands, we found that advertising yielded an 84% greater ROI when accounting for the long-term impact of brand lift metrics on sales.6 In other words, for every dollar of short-term return on ad spend, changes in brand equity yield an additional $0.84. On YouTube in Canada, measured Brand Health metrics were an average of 1.9X higher for YouTube compared to Linear TV per $1 million spend.7
Brand-building investments are too often cut first during a crisis, when they’re critical to business growth.
Online video is proving to be a powerful medium for brand building, capable of reaching a wide audience while also focusing on specific products and ROI-targeted conversions.
That’s why to promote new releases from Jaguar and Land Rover, DentsuX recommended a strategic combination of online video for both reach and action, and paid search to achieve broad emotional reach at scale. “With the introduction of TrueView for Reach in conjunction with TrueView for Action, we were able to drive more impact and reach in market in the absence of TV, realizing a dramatic increase in web traffic particularly with new engaged users and higher overall conversions,'' said Karena Phidd, Group Account Director at DenstuX.
5. Evolve your measurement to drive results
Whether your objective is short-term sales or brand building, measurement has never been more critical. One size does not fit all, especially in a year of change and uncertainty that has impacted every market differently. But marketers are getting better at evaluating what's working and quicker at optimizing on the fly. Maintaining a healthy appetite for test-and-learn experiments is key.
PepsiCo embraced a new global approach to measurement, reinventing how they use marketing mix modeling (MMM), and doing more with Nielsen Total Ads Ratings studies to get a clearer view of video results and identify media buy inefficiencies. In Pakistan, Nestlé used MMMs to challenge head-on some long-held assumptions in the region, uncovering a 67% incremental increase in sales per dollar on YouTube over TV. Not only does the brand now have a better understanding of what campaign tactics work, the team has pivoted to a truly data-centric approach, instead of relying on past experiences, to drive media decisions.