Amplify your marketing mix with digital video content

Brands have recognised the power of digital video to engage with their audiences and are placing an increasing share of their campaign budgets there, says TO THE NEW’s Dhruvank Vaidya

e4m by Dhruvank Vaidya
Updated: Jul 21, 2014 1:45 PM
Amplify your marketing mix with digital video content

In the UK, Vevo recently announced a seven-figure, 12-month branded content and sponsorship deal with Toyota. This is one more step in big TV advertising money moving to digital video. While this trend is very strong in western markets, brands in India are also taking notice and exploring ways to weave a digital video component into their communication strategies. Brands have recognised the power of digital video to engage with their audiences and are placing an increasing share of their campaign budgets there.

Digital video has several things going for it. Youth, that elusive demographic on TV, spends a lot of time on digital video platforms. As many as 77 per cent of YouTube viewers are under 34 years of age.The digital video content economics allow a lot of special interest content to thrive, thereby allowing advertisers to more sharply target their content. Watch time on mobile devices is doubling every year. With 200 million plus smartphones and growing, this trend is only going to continue in the coming years.

Another big advantage of digital video is its easy shareability. Sharing on social platforms like WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter magnify reach and engagement with content. In India, platforms like YouTube have attained a reach similar to some of the larger TV channels. All this makes digital video an essential part of any campaign. But what about content?

If films and TV are about stars and superstars, digital is about ‘Webstars’
These are talented individuals who are creating self-videos or videos with their friends, and drawing a large number of viewers. YouTube already has big Webstars like Bethany Mota, Shane Dawson, Michelle Phan and Superwoman Lily Singh. Near to home, we have the amazing comic talent of TVF, AIB, Logical Retards and more. Fashion bloggers like Aanam, Guilty Bytes and The Creative Bent are already making waves.

Digital video democratises a talent’s access to its audience. Any talented individual can shoot a video with his smartphone, edit and upload it on YouTube and build an audience. And brands are also reaching out to this audience through these creators; be it make-up tips or highlighting features of a car, they get the message out there for you. The content is consumed over multiple screens, apps and platforms; can be shared, commented upon or liked, etc. – all parameters of true engagement for the brand. A continuous flow of content ensures that this TG is kept engaged and a community is built for the brand.

Another advantage is content creation flexibility and controlled budgets. This allows brands to integrate deeply with content and at times create entire web shows for themselves. A case in point is the recent web reality show, ‘Beauty and the Blogger’. Fashion brand American Swan used it to launch its swimwear collection. The format was a strong blend of web video and social sharing, where the winner was determined equally by herability to shine in the reality show as well as the ability to drive views to her videos. Social media allows viewers to get more deeply engaged with their favorite shows and more and more innovative content formats will emerge that leverage this behaviour.

All this makes for compelling reading, and some of the macro numbers are also well known. But, when actual budgets are being allocated, it still boils down to metrics and ROI. The IAB Online Video Study by Nielsen tried to address just this. As part of its study, it compared a TV-only campaign with the one where 15 per cent of the TV budget is allocated to digital. The campaign that included a digital video component scored high on reach and recall parameters. Specifically, 4 per cent incremental reach (from 58 per cent to 62 per cent), 16 per cent duplicated reach (TV + Digital) and lower cost per reach point.

While executing a TV+Digital campaign, the sequence of exposure also matters. Prior exposure to an ad online enhances the impact of the TV exposure of that ad. When the campaign was first run on the web (on short format content) followed by TV, it resulted in 17 per cent gain in general ad recall, while brand recall went up by 32 per cent and message recall by 50 per cent. To maximise impact, brands should ideally launch the campaign on video sharing platforms like YouTube, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. The YouTube channel should also have a lot of surround content that builds on the core brand message. Technology is also now available which lets one embed call to action links (download app, sign up for test drive etc.) on the videos. Thus, a digital video campaign can work at multiple levels for the brand.

Digital video is no longer the patchy, grainy stuff of the past. It is high quality, high impact, has strong ROI and is here to stay.

The author heads the finance and business development functions at TO THE NEW Ventures. He has extensive experience in Media and Consulting and more recently, as an entrepreneur. He has held executive positions at Star, NDTV Imagine, Turner, Deloitte and Accenture.

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