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Adam Stewart, Google’s VP of consumer goods, explains how leading brands are tapping into people’s passions and engagement to create better, more personally relevant video campaigns.

Viewers today have full control over what they choose to watch. Sure, many of them still tune into live TV for major moments (like certain long-awaited HBO premieres). But more and more, we’re seeing that people prefer to stream content that’s tailored to their interests at a time that works for them.

That’s why, if marketers want to reach potential customers, they need to rethink the traditional concept of primetime. It’s no longer a single daypart on a single screen. It’s the minutes and hours people are choosing to tune into content they’re most passionate about, whatever and wherever that might be. During these moments of personal primetime, viewers are engaged and ready to hear from brands that show up with relevant ads.

Here’s how four brands are considering their audience’s passions, interests, and engagement when developing their media strategy.

Make popular moments personal

As a marketer, you’re probably already on top of current trends and cultural moments that could be relevant to your brand. But when you’re developing an online video campaign, take that a step further and find ways to tie into high-interest moments on YouTube.

Take the World Cup and Halloween. For Johnson & Johnson, those two moments have more in common than you’d think: They’re times when lots of YouTube viewers are watching face-painting tutorials. This insight inspired the brand to create customized videos for Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes.

To reach as many people as possible, Neutrogena used YouTube Director Mix, which allowed them to take one base video and customize it for a specific audience and context by swapping out elements like text, image, and sound. For example, a World Cup fan might have seen this version of the Neutrogena ad:

Whereas someone browsing for Halloween face-painting inspiration might have seen this one:

The Neutrogena team also extended this concept to broader trends and moments, like swimsuit shopping, awards shows, and seasonal travel, creating 21 customized videos. Partnering with Nielsen Catalina Solutions to measure return on ad spend, Neutrogena saw a sales lift of 14% for households exposed to the campaign.

Show up at every stage of the customer journey, from inspiration to purchase

When people head to YouTube to look up a recipe or watch a recap from a late-night TV show, they’re also paying attention to new brands. In fact, over 90% of YouTube viewers say they discover new brands or products on YouTube,1 and over 40% of global shoppers say they’ve purchased products they discovered on YouTube.2

This is true even for high-consideration purchases, like designer handbags. LVMH, the French luxury goods company behind brands like Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, saw that people weren’t just looking for inspiration; they also wanted help deciding what to buy. This insight led the company to put in place a two-pronged approach to its video marketing.

The first part of the approach is all about providing viewers with inspiration. For example, during Paris Fashion Week, the brand partnered with top YouTube creator Emma Chamberlain and supermodel Karlie Kloss to document their experiences exclusively on YouTube. The video generated over 1 million views.

The second part of the approach makes it easier for video viewers to become customers. Louis Vuitton doubled down with an always-on YouTube TrueView for Action campaign — video ads with clickable elements that allow viewers to make purchases. The campaign has driven an 11X return on ad spend.

Tap into the power of YouTube creators across both organic and paid ads

Want to capture the hearts and minds of YouTube viewers? Think like creators — or, better yet, work with them. That’s what Hershey’s did for the launch of its new Hot Cocoa Kisses product, partnering with FameBit by YouTube, a platform that connects brands with creators.

The campaign had two elements to it, one organic and one paid. For the organic part, Hershey’s handed over creative control to top YouTube bakers, who seamlessly incorporated the product into their own videos. For example, Laurie Shannon, the woman behind The Icing Artist channel, made a cake incorporating the kisses, while Rosanna Pansino created a taste challenge of holiday-themed Kisses. For the paid part, Hershey’s featured the same YouTube creators in a set of six- and 15-second cutdown ads to extend the reach of their campaign to viewers across YouTube, complemented by display ads across Google platforms.

The branded organic content generated a 22% lift in purchase intent, while the cutdown ads saw a 12% lift in purchase intent and a 551% increase in searches. The combined strategy was one of the key marketing drivers for more than $9 million in retail sales.

Sequence to build a brand story over time

With viewers in control of what they choose to watch, explore customization options for your video campaign beyond a single ad experience or piece of creative. In a recent Frito-Lay campaign for Doritos Blaze, the brand told a funny, elaborate story that built over time through a series of TrueView and six-second bumper ads on YouTube.

Here’s where customization came in: The way a viewer interacted with one ad determined which ad they’d see later on. For example, someone who watched the introductory 15-second ad was later served up a six-second ad that naturally followed from the first one and reinforced the message. Someone who had chosen to skip the longer ad was instead served a six-second ad that reintroduced the product.

The campaign led to a 19.3% lift in favorability, helping Blaze become the top selling new single SKU launch for Doritos in the past five years.