Irfon Watkins, CEO at online video company Coull and chairman of the IAB Video Council discusses how brands can maximise the effectiveness of video campaigns.
Our emotions play an incredibly important role when it comes to our decision making processes; particularly when those decisions involve purchases. At one point or another, as consumers we have all made a purchase that was driven by the emotion attached to the product and/or the brand. As brands, agencies and marketers, we try to tap into this emotion, and drive an action – whether it be sales or awareness led.
If we were to define brand engagement it would be, “The culmination of what your consumers think, feel and do in relation to your brand,” or to put it simpler, “how plugged in” they are to our marketing messages. Brand engagement is the attachment they have to your brand (both consciously and unconsciously) and the action they take based on that perception.
Since we became a digitally charged society, it’s become ever more important (and thusly, more challenging) to connect and resonate with our existing and potential customers and depending on the product and/or market, there will inevitably be different driving motivating factors, such as a sense of fun and style, or reliability and roots etc. Traditional advertising and marketing campaigns, such as television, billboards and radio will always have their place, however unlike the internet, they don’t provide the means for consumers to ‘plug in’ instantaneously.
With something as intangible as a thought or a feeling we need to qualify it by marrying it with an action – and this is where many stumble. There is a widely held perception that measuring how digital activity contributes to customer engagement is difficult, but with the amount of tools at a marketer’s disposal today, it is now easier to measure an online campaign than ever before (such as web analytics, social reputation software or reports from individual services). At Coull we have been measuring the effectiveness of such activity for several years and the benefits of doing so are obvious brands understand how to enrich their messaging.
Rich media is one such way that technology providers using to drive consumer and brand engagement online. The beauty of an online campaign is that it gives you the unique opportunity to view interaction levels as the campaign un-folds in real-time. This in turn gives marketers the ability to address any changes that can be implemented to drive brand engagement whilst the campaign is still ongoing.
For FMCG in particular, where cost is lower and competition fierce, having the brand / campaign resonate with the target audience is absolutely crucial. Digital marketing agencies have been trying to find ways of increasing FMCG involvement in a variety of ways, some examples being social media initiatives and new online advertising formats that employ rich media Flash experience or interactive videos.
There remains the idea that brands can ‘exploit’ a medium, we’ve all seen the articles and heard the phrases brandied about. But exploitation is a dirty word, and brands, agencies and marketers alike should be thinking about engagement, interaction and awareness. Brand engagement is not always about waving the brand or product in the consumers faces, with the expectation that if they see it often enough they will act and think in the way we want them too.
We (Coull) have managed interactive video campaigns for brands such as Boots and Renault – both of whom showed above average levels of user engagement. With the Boots campaign, over 30% of users interacted with the products in the video advert, and it also drove five times the average play rate than similar, non-interactive videos.
Forrester estimates that US online video advertising alone will be worth in excess of $7.1 billion USD by 2012 which represents a 72% increase whilst interactive marketing as a whole (of which online video is a huge component) will more than triple to reach $61 billion by 2012. Forrester also predicts that budgets for interactive marketing will grow from 8 per cent of all ad spend to a very significant 18 per cent.
These figures are very encouraging, and we can only presume that we will see similar growth in the UK. Consumers remain advertising sensitive, and whilst “traditional” online advertising (such as banners, skyscrapers etc.,) will always have their place, interactive marketing, particularly video, will continue to have a more important role to play in how well our brands resonate with our consumers.
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