Making Video Ad Campaigns Work for Your Startup #LearnAtAccel

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Video Ad Campaigns


by Ankit Agarwal & Kiran Hota

By the end of 2017, there were an estimated 330 million smartphone users in India — and this number is predicted to grow exponentially in the next few years. In comparison, only about 190 million households have a single TV. As a startup, what does this mean for your business?

Our #LearnAtAccel workshop on ‘Making Videos Work’ sought to answer that question. We invited experts from the fields of brand advertising, marketing solutions, and founders that have successfully built engagement communities and platforms to study the evolving democratization of video content in the 21st century. We discussed some of the most critical questions that would need to be addressed by any marketer thinking of leveraging video to reach consumers:

  • What video marketing strategy is best for my startup? What type of videos works best for a specific business objective?
  • What is the best way for a startup to talk about their business proposition through video?
  • Which distribution strategy works for different verticals and for different funnel objectives?
  • What is the best way to include digital video campaigns in the media mix?
  • What are micro-moments and how can I leverage them to better market my brand?
  • How can I capture my audience’s attention in the 3 seconds before they decide to skip an ad?

Online Video to Power Your Marketing

Bhaskar Ramesh, Head of YouTube and Brand Advertising at Google, showed us some interesting statistics about the power of online video today, taking the example of the viral video Despacito from the past summer. If you enjoyed listening to the tune, you can thank YouTube’s reach algorithms for just how quickly that video was able to garner interest. The video quickly rose to the top of the charts, gaining 1 billion views in just 96 days. Now, it is the only video to have hit 5 billion views (and counting).

This is the power of video content. Low-budget but high-interest viral videos are being churned out by the minute, reaching a potential of 250 million users in India, on the daily.

Answering some of the most-asked questions, by any video marketer —

# 1 — How can a startup utilize digital platform’s potential to create engaging content for your audience?

The key here is:

Video Ad Campaigns

1. Effectively understand your audience

“Digital allows us to know the user deeper and better.” — Bhaskar, Head of YouTube and Brand Advertising at Google

Don’t limit yourself to the traditional target audience spiel that you would have used for a TV ad. For example, “Woman, aged 25+, annual income Rs. 20 lakhs, and interested in beauty” is the likely demographic traits TV executives will read to you. But this is a very broad category, as Bhaskar explains.

With most digital platforms, the marketer can get as specific as they would like to because of the rich data the website collects. Along with the previously mentioned characteristics, you can also target your audience based on language, region, micro-moment, their most recent internet searches, their exact interests, whether they are a cat person or a dog person… The list is endless.

Digital video platforms allow content creators to observe consumer behavior and develops patterns to help companies reach out to their potential customers with the right message at the right time.

Video Ad Campaigns

2. Connect with your audience

“Identity is the starting point, intent is the truth” — Shubha Pai — India Lead, YouTube for Action

It is crucial to connect with your users when they are most receptive to your message. As audience members are eagerly visiting online video platforms to watch the content that they want to, the platform creates a unique juncture in time and interest for you to actively make contact with your potential customer. Remember, these users are attention-starved, demanding, and impatient — but curious.

Key here is to start with demographics, then identify their interests and behavior and then connect to people making purchase decision relevant to your brand (using Intent and Actions).

3. Engage with them

Once you’ve made an operational connection with your user, there are four ways to engage with them.

  • Provide extreme entertainment
  • Deliver great education
  • Create utility
  • Participate with intention

Online content platforms are currently the only space where two-way engagement (through like, comment, share and subscribe features) is possible between the watcher and the watched (in contrast to TV). Therefore, it’s important for your video content to make the user feel like they are part of a community where equal participation is expected from those on and in front of the screen.

But before expecting that, it is important to remember that the users are there on these platforms not to see your ad but to consume content, so finding the right mix and grabbing their attention is very important through fun/ educative content.

4. Measure your inputs and outputs

Lastly, online video platforms allow you to measure quite literally everything. Of course, it enables the content creator to analyze basic statistics like reach, number of impressions, and so forth, but it also features a great number of additional factors that other mediums may not be able to. This not only lets you track and compare, but also permits you to tweak ad campaigns as and when necessary to meet your goals and objectives.

Broadly, video marketing metrics can be measured in 3 buckets — volume metrics, engagement metrics, and distribution metrics — to exactly see which part of video marketing worked/ did not work for you.

# 2 — Another popular question, we get asked often is — how to use video in combination with TV ads?

Statistics have shown that primetime on video content platforms in India mimics that of TV’s, which tells us one truth: multi-screening is part and parcel of today’s multimedia consumption. Given that consumer’s attention is being pulled in so many different directions, their ability to build brand-associated memories is not as robust as it once was. Therefore, it is fundamental for startups to strategize their video content in order to maintain a healthy balance between consumer curiosity and negativity.

Giriraj Iyer, Brand Measurement Lead at Google, suggests deciding on business objectives to devise a compelling video content campaign and Brand Lift Surveys to measure impact on using key metrics, such as awareness (Ad Recall, Brand Awareness), consideration (Interest, Consideration, Favorability), and Action (purchase intent/ conversions).

Most importantly, it is critical to focus on:

  • Setting media reach goals based on business objective
  • Setting research-led frequency goals
  • Making a decision between multi-screening versus digital only campaigns depending on reach and frequency objective
  • Pairing upper-funnel goals with upper-funnel customers (and so on throughout the funnel)

# 3 — Take on personalized videos?

In the past, with TV ads, you had a sole opportunity to target your ideal customer with one — usually generic — video. Now that the world has gone digital, this is no longer the case. That is where personalized video marketing comes in.

Consider the two following scenarios.

Video Ad Campaigns

While Case 1 is the type of email a customer would have been likely to receive in the past, Case 2 is today’s digital reality. This is essentially what personalized video marketing is about — it takes the building blocks for intimate customer-firm relationships and transports them to a more visual plane. Because when you have the opportunity to establish a more intimate relationship with your customers, you should take it and run with it. This is exactly what Kubric.io helps you do, at scale.

“Essentially, emails became more one-on-one, more personal. Now, just place this concept with visuals; What we can do with video personalization is make it one-on-one again. It is not limited to just calling out names — but also calls out the needs that the consumer has.” — Kausambi, Founder of Kubric.io

One of Accel’s portfolio companies, Myntra experimented with personalized videos to reach its users. After breaking down 20 million users based on gender, category affinity, brand affinity, and location (which lead to a total of 180 market segment variations), relevant personalized videos were auto-generated.

A personalized video ad for Bangalore Male Audience (for apparel category)
Video Ad Campaigns

Myntra was able to capture their customer’s attention all within 6 seconds. Not only did this result in a ~20% reduction in cost per result, but it induced a 50% higher video completion rate, ~25% increase in CTR, 15% increase in view rate and a 40% to 50% increase in engagement. Thus, personalized videos can address the needs of both a wide and deep audience, evidently culminating in better sales at lower costs.

Video Ad Campaigns

# 4 — How to Build Your Brand Story Through Videos?

Haani Mirza, Creative Lead at Ignition Labs, discusses, “The biggest, most radical change since we have started making films and videos (apart from our transition from black and white to color) is that videos are no longer only created for huge screens at the center of large halls.” Media, especially video, has minimized itself to a more intimate, personal, and reactive position in our lives because of the smartphone. Hence, video content should be developed with smartphone parameters in mind.

These parameters can be extremely basic, such as positioning your logo near the skip button to develop a consumer’s brand recall, or more complex, like redefining the traditional story arc and re-pacing scripts, for example. As video marketing is largely based on visual and auditory cues, it is important to follow certain guidelines that can easily be transitioned to a different platform, from cinema hall to TV screen to smartphone. Paying attention to these guidelines can help one communicate their business proposition better to the demanding consumer who expects immediate gratification.

Video Ad Campaigns

(Image credits: https://www.clickherepublishing.com)

Rentomojo, one of the Accels portfolio companies in Smart Ownership and Rental space has been focussing on video marketing and has leveraged online videos effectively to build a brand.

While some of the creatives focus on brand awareness and engagement, there are others that focus on addressing users concerns while talking about Rentomojo USPs.

Many of the videos have garnered 10Mn + views (with great engagement metric) and brand search has seen an uptake with every video launch.

Video Ad Campaigns
Rentomojo Brand Search Trend

Video creatives by Rentomojo —

Brand awareness video — EMI ne diya dhoka ~ 10 Mn Views— (FEB ’18)
Brand awareness video — Pehli Naukri ~ 2.5 Mn Views — (APR ‘18)
USP led video creative ~ 4 Mn views — (APR ‘18)
Video creative (for new category launch — Mobile Rentals)

Some key pointers to keep in mind here are -

  • Tick off the above-mentioned basics, then develop your brand’s story keeping a digital-first mindset
  • Build urgency within your potential customer: they need direction, so always give them a CTA
  • Ensure your firm or creative agency follows the basic video ad hygiene and practices digital alignment

# 5 — How to build video virality on social?

Video Ad Campaigns
Video Virality on Social — The Delicate Balance

Sometimes we push out videos on social media expecting them to be instant hits, shared across platforms and earning impression numbers off the charts. However, no matter how great your video content is, this may not always be the case. Srini and Naveen of CureJoy, revealed to the Accel Family what leads to video virality on social media pages. Ultimately, it is about the fine equilibrium between experimenting and understanding your audience.

Some of the lessons learned from CureJoy to improve video engagement -

  • Choosing the right distribution channel for your videos
  • Building a community through creating content specially engineered for its members
  • Recognizing the nuances of scrolling behavior — pay attention to a video’s screenshots and opening screens, the difference between auto-play and click-to-play users, titles, and the speed and efficiency of your video uploads
  • Repurposing video content to suit your community’s and brand’s needs
  • Maintaining a healthy ratio between shared posts and original content
  • Seeding your video content to a small part of your community to test for likability and shareability
  • Nixing a video if it doesn’t work; don’t be afraid to get back to the drawing board and redo your video in order to meet your goals on the social media

# 6 — What is the best way to use Video to Energise Your Website?

Videos can empower your overall content strategy, including your website. Because storytelling has gone visual on digital platforms, your video content can help you connect more deeply with your website’s visitors, increasing engagement rates and the time spent per user on your website. Thereby, helping you improve your landing page conversion rates and boosting your SEO strategy.

Bluestone, who has also experimented with adding videos on their page saw average session duration for people visiting product page from the listing page increase by 12%

Video Ad Campaigns
A/B testing done by Bluestone

By adding videos on the site, Bluestone saw an overall conversion rate improve by 10%

Example of product video used by Bluestone on their site —

In order to facilitate this more effectively, Vinayak Ravi, Head of Marketing at Freshworks, divides their audience into three categories based on their needs and goals and has adopted Hero-Help-Hub model

Video Ad Campaigns
(Image source — Freshworks)
Example of a #HERO video

Your video content strategy should therefore truly be to divide and conquer. By developing videos to match these use cases, and making them easy to find and follow, you can uplift your brand’s digital potential. After leveraging the power of video on the Freshworks website, they saw an improvement in page engagement (Avg. time spent on page up from 1:25 to 2:25), scroll rates, and SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings (42% increase in traffic).

To conclude, India is now inarguably a video-first market. With the right combination of intent, attention, and impact, video marketing can be shaped, molded, and wielded to meet your business objectives as a startup. It can be a flexible option for those with relatively low budgets and a creative way to target all leads within the digital marketing sales funnel — from generating consumer awareness to directing measurable actions.

With Inputs from Ajay Sethi.

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