2018 has been one hell of a year for us digital marketers already, hasn’t it? New features rolling out, a new UI driving all of us crazy, and GDPR having us:
a) Trying to figure out what the hell it is
b) Fielding questions from our clients and Zuckerberg who made us explain to our older relatives that Facebook isn’t “selling your data” and “no, NSA is not spying on you.”
2018 has been a pretty pivotal year for me as a digital marketer. I’ve been working in this industry for over 7 years and always understood the importance of upper-funnel tactics. But it wasn’t until this year that I went “all-in” on the upper funnel. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful audience targeting tactics that are now available on the GDN, maybe it’s because I’m maturing as a digital marketer, or maybe it’s because I’ve finally taken my “search marketer” hat off and put my “marketer” hat on – but something finally clicked.
Not unlike Google, I’ve been investing a lot of time in upper-funnel tactics, particularly YouTube. I’ve spent the better half of this year learning about YouTube, testing targeting tactics and ad types, building YouTube strategies, and even hosting a #ppcchat about YouTube. Through all of my knowledge gathering, I’ve found a couple of features/updates I’m most excited about, so I wanted to share my learnings.
YouTube TV advertising
I work very closely with our programmatic team at Point It and have heard them talking about buying Connected TV inventory on Hulu for some time now. I’ve been jealous at how cool that is, and guess what, IT’S OUR TURN! I could truly not be more excited about this.
YouTube TV is everywhere! YouTube TV is the jersey sponsor for LAFC, it is the first ever presenting sponsor for the NBA Finals and it’s available to over 85 percent of US households in nearly 100 TV markets.
Advertisers will be able to select the device type they want to target with their creative, allowing “TV” to be an option. Additionally, there will be a new segment named “light TV viewers” that reaches folks who consume their video online and might be harder to target using traditional media buys.
Custom Intent Audiences
I talked about utilizing Custom Intent Audiences in your GDN campaigns. Now, you can utilize these audiences in your YouTube advertising efforts. This tactic is incredibly valuable, because when users are on YouTube, they intentionally focus on what they’re watching, instead of browsing the web and by chance seeing a display banner on the sidebar of a site.
For example, an airline could reach people on YouTube who recently searched on Google for “flights to Hawaii.” (This example was used during the announcement at SMX West earlier this year).
So, you can now target by intent in display — and use video, an incredibly powerful medium. As Bryant Garvin so simply put it during my YouTube #ppcchat, “Search captures people; video moves people.”
YouTube Reach Planner
Whenever you’re pitching a new campaign type or other expansion ideas to a client or stakeholder, one of the first questions that follow your pitch is: “What do I get out of this?” For years, we’ve used the keyword planner and display planner, both invaluable assets to help us come up with ballpark reach numbers, even if, sometimes, we have to take it with a grain of salt. Now, finally, YouTube stepped in with the new Reach Planner tool.
This tool is still in beta, so you have to ask your Google rep for access to it, but this is going to be huge when building out proposals, media plans, and other pitch decks for new or existing clients. Marketing Land provides some details on the capabilities:
“Currently in beta, Reach Planner in AdWords is designed to help media planners and advertisers forecast the reach and frequency of video campaigns on YouTube and the video partners on the Google Display Network.
Reach Planner provides unique reach data for all devices, core audiences and video formats for more than 50 countries. The tool also includes product mix recommendations intended to show which YouTube ad formats will work best together based on inputs of a marketing objective, budget and ad preferences or assets available.”
Brand safety is top of mind
If you’re at all active in the YouTube community, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of YouTubers talking about how upset they are that YouTube is demonetizing many of their videos. While I definitely want to encourage creators to create content that is engaging and thought-provoking, take one wrong turn down the tunnel of YouTube videos, and you can end up in a very unsettling place.
Last year, many advertisers pulled their investment from YouTube, because they wanted to avoid being associated with controversial videos that were showing ads on them. To address brand safety, YouTube implemented a series of requirements:
- All videos eligible to be monetized must have a minimum of:
- 10,000 views
- Be on a channel with 1,000 subscribers or more
- Be on a channel that has 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months
- The team that vets Google Preferred channels will be increased to 10,000 people across the organization
- Google will be releasing a new system that will allow advertisers to have better control over what video content their ads are showing on.
Among the many new features that Google has announced in YouTube recently, I picked these four, as these releases really made my upper-funnel mentality kick in. These changes have given me hope in YouTube advertising and got me excited about trying, testing, and pitching it to clients.
Digital video ad spend keeps rising, with the latest video advertising study showing that marketers spend more than half of their ad budgets on video. On average, marketers allocate over 59% of digital and mobile spend to video advertising.
But according to another recent study by the CMO Council and ViralGains, marketers still struggle with closing the loop between video campaigns and revenue. That study shows that most marketers (56%) measure video campaign success in clicks, not sales. Just 27% of the senior marketing leaders surveyed in this study track results from ad campaigns all the way to the bottom line — direct sales.
Most marketers (56%) track video campaign success with click-through rate. And while marketers do think that social shares are more important than impressions and 31% actually track post-view engagement, only 27% measure contribution to the bottom line.
Success metrics disconnect
In all fairness, connecting video ad campaigns to revenue traditionally didn’t make sense: video format was only used at the awareness stage. But this is changing. Google claims that nearly 50 percent of internet users look for video that is related to a product or service before visiting a store, and according to Forbes, 65% of all business executives visit a website after viewing a vendor’s video (stats cited by the CMO Council).
All that means that more than half of all shoppers — both B2C and B2B — consume branded video content before buying — and when it comes to measuring advertising effectiveness, most marketers are left in the dark.
The disconnect between the metrics marketers see as critical and the metrics they actually track becomes apparent when you look at the graphic below. When asked to name the top professional success metric, marketers put sales at the top of the list. Yet for digital video ads, click-through rate remains the number one metric.
Just like the marketers in the IAB study, those surveyed for the CMO Council study also feel enthusiastic about doubling down on video spend. 96% of marketers say they will increase video ad spend in 2018.
Are we measuring the right things?
In response to the increased demand for video ads, most, if not all, major ad networks bet on video advertising (most recently, LinkedIn Video Ads). While it’s true that the primary success metrics often depend on how easy it is to get performance data from the native platform, sophisticated marketers rely on third-party data analytics solutions to measure the real value of ad campaigns and track results from clicks to incremental revenue.
As video budgets soar in the upcoming years, the need for closed-loop reporting will grow as marketers will need to prove the ROI of what’s poised to become the biggest and strategic part of their marketing investments.