How Your Brand Can Execute With Video

Video trends for your 2018 roadmap, including branded content for influencer marketing

I. Setting the Stage

Video is so hot right now. Everyone’s either building a video platform, has some new content strategy to reach Millennials and, gasp, Gen Z. Live is everywhere while Facebook and Apple Music are getting into original content. Even Disney wants to own its own destiny by pulling their content out of Netflix, investing in BAMTech to build out their latest streaming service.

After spending many years building every aspect of video platforms, and helping customers of all types across live and VOD figure out how to make money and an impact, we’ve learned some important things about video.

  1. Making any money is hard.
  2. Video’s benefit is for reach and lead gen.

II. Making Money with Video Is Hard

Making money from your own streaming service is pretty much not going to happen. Even at the biggest levels, it’s hard to squeak out a profit:

  • YouTube is break-even at internet advertising scale with the smartest engineers on the planet.
  • Netflix has 100M monthly subscribers and has to borrow money to buy and create more original content.
  • The small players don’t have a chance unless they carve out a small niche like financial news or overseas soccer. But even then, your revenue numbers are small.
  • Only a few YouTube celebs are making millions of dollars every year, but they’re still at the whim of the platform they run on.
  • CDNs, like Akamai, at massive internet scale still aren’t lining their coffers with massive amounts of gold coins.

If you’re looking at your company’s video strategy and even considering building out your own video platform, you are wasting time and money. It ain’t gonna happen if video isn’t your business, and even then, it’s an uphill battle. HBO wasted over a year and millions of dollars trying to do it themselves before BAMTech came in at the 11 o’clock hour and saved them in time for the Apple launch.

III. Video is for Lead Gen

Take a page from Amazon’s playbook. They bundle free shipping, their music service, video service, and book/gaming service into the $10/month Amazon Prime subscription. In Germany, this is the single biggest competitor.

Their strategy is to keep throwing more things under that $10/month to make it more valuable, all the while driving traffic to their eCommerce site. Because Amazon makes all its revenue from people ordering things. Amazon’s lead gen is a video service with entertainment content. People subscribe, watch movies and decide to buy something from Amazon instead of going to the store because, you guessed it, free shipping is also included.

Facebook just launched their Watch platform for brands to create their own video shows and get them in front of billions of people. You already know where this is headed — ad targeting. Which is how Facebook makes money. But Facebook is keeping 45% of all revenue through their video service, which seems like a non-starter to us. No freakin’ way you keep half my money. (Technically, we know why, it’s the CDN cost for delivering the video all over the world).

Now that you know why to use video in your overall business strategy (read: not to make money), the next step is understanding how to execute on it (read: get new customers).

IV. Roadmap for Video Advertising

Television is still taking the lion’s share of ad dollars when it comes to video advertising.

In addition, based on our analysis of Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report, we’re showing that mobile and internet is catching up to TV.

With that knowledge, there are still only three main ways to advertise with video, whether you go the traditional TV route or the more programmatic digital route. There are three methods and the best way is to do them in order. Your roadmap is as follows:

  1. Branded content
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. In-video ads

1. Branded content. This is starting to become a big deal. When an ad no longer looks like an ad, is it still an ad? Anything that drives someone to buy your product or service could likely be considered one, and the lines are even blurring on Instagram with celebrity endorsements.

According to eMarketer, more than 62% of the world’s internet users will view digital video in 2017, up from 60.8% in 2016. That’s 2 out of every 3 people that you can put your stuff in front of.

But make no mistake, video is becoming the only way to communicate in the modern world.

Here’s an example of an interactive Nike commercial that the team at The Mission produced:

Note: this specific example isn’t interactive because Vimeo’s video platform isn’t enabled for it. You can click along with the interactive Nike commercial here. Thus, even interactive stuff can be put in non-interactive places and across different social channels. So, once you produce the video content, expect to use it all over the place to get the most value possible.

Check out The Mission’s Studio to learn more.

2. Influencer Marketing. Once you have your branded video, interactive or otherwise, you need a place to put it. One of the most successful is through influencer marketing. Otherwise known as the new celebrity sponsorship. Instead of TV, we’re talking Kardashians on Instagram or MKBHD on YouTube:

A bunch of hungry teens or techies looking for an entertaining way to find new, cool stuff to get excited about. There are even stats to back that up, showing that 72% of an influencer’s audience loves how honest, funny, and open they are. Transparency and trust go a long way in this new world we live in.

In terms of ROI on influencer marketing, engagement is most important (i.e., interactivity) as well as driving traffic to move people or organizations through the customer journey.

But what if the content your selling needs to be for a smarter audience, with a larger household income over $100,000 USD. Where do you go for that? Medium, of course! That’s why we’re here.

Once you’ve got the audience and the writers, the story around the branded content video is just an extension of the campaign itself. So it’s not that hard to write. You’ve already done that through the video script. Know what I’m sayin?

3. In-video ads. This one is the most familiar to most people because when you watch YouTube or even the latest episode of Game of Thrones, there is a video ad that plays before the main content you want to watch. This is called pre-roll advertising.

Mid-roll and post-roll ads also exist and most video platforms worth their salt have a mid-roll ad editor that lets you put VAST URLs at any time along the video using the VMAP spec.

Learn more about video ad specs like VAST, VMAP, and VPAID over at Clearcode.

As you might imagine the world of DMPs and DSPs can get pretty acronymn heavy fairly quickly. It’s one of the reasons we created our own Marketing Cheat Sheet for using Fortune 500 tools to acquire new customers. Even the supply chain is messy:

If you remember one thing, it’s this. Make sure you’re leveraging your first party data, onboarding it and consolidating with other 3rd party data, segmenting target audiences into your favorite DMP (Adobe Audience Manager or Salesforce), then activating it in a DSP like MediaMath.

Don’t spam people, add them to a supressed segment instead, and use that money to put an ad in front of people who’ve never been exposed to it before.

The Winterberry Group report on the State of Consumer Data Onboarding, November 2016

The Chief Brand Officer for P&G, which is the world’s largest spender of advertising dollars, went on stage at the beginning of 2017 and talked about the problems with the industry. In short:

P&G’s Action Plan in 2017

  1. Viewability standards: human eyes actually see the ad
  2. 3rd party measurement: self-reporting metrics problem
  3. Transparent agency contracts: no arbitrage of media buying (see also the IAB’s programmatic fee transparency calculator)
  4. Prevent ad fraud: IVT and bots (ANA: 20% to 20% of digital media is subject to bot fraud); must get tag certified.

They’re going to vote with their dollars if suppliers don’t comply.

V. A Note on New International Privacy Laws

Watch out for privacy laws, like GDPR, which goes into effect in May 2018. For example, if a customer in Europe calls and says you need to erase Personally Identifiable Information (PII) within 72 hours, what are you going to do?

Luckily, most providers like Liveramp and Conversant / Epsilon should be handling that on your behalf when it comes to your marketing database, but that doesn’t cover anywhere else that data resides inside your internal IT departments, in excel files, across different cloud or on premise operations. The fine for not complying? It’s a lot.

4% of gross revenue or 20 million Pound Sterling fine.

Imagine the likes of McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Microsoft. Not even tech companies can abide by it because it has other clauses that says “you need to explain to the customer the algorithm you’re using with my data”. How is a customer service rep going to know where their data is across the entire organization, explain it to people, and get it removed in a few days if the customer wants.

It’s not possible. So expect to see a bunch of big companies being made examples of in the back half of next year. Don’t be one of them.

VI. Wrapping Up

We’ve shown that video is the main method to reach people across all walks of life, cultures, and beliefs. But the first step in that strategy is getting that video created. Whether you rely on user-generated content from your users/customers, your ad agency, or your brother-in-law’s whiz kid with a camera and an audience, the fact remains. Use video to advertise your wares to increase sales.

We’re happy to help advise on the right video platform, distribution channel, DMP + DSP combo, or help you create a compelling video.

Either way, get in touch, we’d be happy to make a new friend and help get you those super fans.

Sean Everett


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