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Why Our Videos are Viewed +441% Longer

When the CMO of the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, takes the stage around the world it’s a good idea for we in the industry to listen. Last year Marc Pritchard called for the industry to clean up fraudulent ad impressions and boost brand safety. This helped P&G save $200 million in waste and the industry is shifting its practices rapidly.

Because of this success, Pritchard recently boarded the company jet again for a trip to dmexco where he exposed the latest problem: P&G ads are viewed for only 1.7 seconds on average, and only 20% are viewed longer than two seconds. He said that he wants to “work with Facebook and Google” to create new ad formats.

I beg to differ. P&G and its peers don’t need new ad formats, they need better ads. Ironically, the solution is right under their nose, as our video ads for CPG clients are viewed an average of 7.5 seconds, and many people watch much longer. The solution is actually pretty simple, and comes from something I learned as a P&G marketer years ago…

Our Consumers Have Spoken

Attempts to force this old approach into new channels can have toxic results. For example, look at the recent disaster for the Dove brand in which a black woman “transformed” into a white woman. It caused global outrage and put Dove on the defensive. Many of us in the marketing world looked up to Dove’s commitment to supporting women. I personally lavished pages of praise in my book years ago. How could this brand team destroy so much brand equity so quickly? Well, they cut an original 30 second video down to three seconds and lost the “story.”

Back when I worked at P&G we often used the phrase “Consumer is Boss.” It was a clarifying expression that ended many discussions with better decisions. Fighting to cut the typical, tell & sell video commercial approach into digital media is a losing proposition. People simply have zero tolerance for unwanted, valueless messages. We marketers need to take responsibility and fix the issue by fixing our creative approach.


Create Ideas, Not Ads

Imagine if we started every new advertising creative brief with the question: “What is something of real interest to our consumers where our brand can play a role?” This is the kind of mentality that leads to game changing results.

Our team at Ahalogy got pulled into the video ad business through the back door of influencer marketing just a few years ago. We were pulled in to execute small elements of bigger product launches or promotional campaigns. Several brand and agency clients were so delighted with the creative output that they started using it for other paid media and saw amazing results. We were early in influencer video, and it too, performed spectacularly.

Here’s just a few examples:

KILZ paint at Walmart
Finlandia Vodka

Authentic Voices Work Best

Not only are these great ideas that educate and entertain, but part of the magic comes from the fact that they are created by individual influencers. They come across as authentic and genuine — a person like you — whether you follow their social accounts or not. Because they are passionate about the topic, influencers create novel ideas and applications of our products. And they are almost always faster and cheaper to work with compared to the typical video development process.

One by one, brand managers are waking up to realize that this kind of useful content from authentic influencers can work as the main focus of a marketing strategy. Last week one of our clients — a large, global CPG company with multiple brands — mused that “we might move entirely to influencer creative next year.”

DSW recently shared how it moved its paid social media to influencer content. We recently worked with another leading retailer to have influencers re-create website content that it had previously developed. This existing content performed 40% better when reproduced by authentic influencers.

We Can Do So Much Better than Two Seconds

Sadly, most major marketers are going to keep trying to make a two-second video impression work somehow. Facebook is feeding the phenomenon by publishing research to show that “52% of the value of video ads came from two second views.” In other words, you “might” have gotten something for your money.

But the much bigger story is that when people (chose to) watch for longer than two seconds, sales performance is 60% higher. Another study by IPG found that is a 97% improvement in conversions when people watch an ad for 4 seconds. Hear that Brand Managers? You can boost the sales that come from your campaigns without spending a dollar more — just create ads people actually want to view. And just think if people choose to watch for 7.5 seconds or more on average, like we’re seeing with our clients…

At this point I’ve seen every form of ROI study prove that idea-based content from authentic voices not only pays out, but significantly beats brand benefit messages — that’s household panel studies, MMM, brand lift studies, side-by-side creative testing, and even direct ecommerce sales. The future is here — are you ready to pay attention?

The reason most top brands are losing share is that they continue to ignore their consumers’ shifting needs — both in product and marketing. Quite frankly, marketing is a lot more fun when it’s about bringing exciting new ideas to your consumers and helping them discover how your products can bring them new experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about this new approach, Ahalogy is hosting a video webinar on Wednesday, October 25 at noon EST. I hope to see you there!