Even with the lean-back nature of online video, it can be a great channel for branding a product or service in the minds of relevant video viewers. But, marketers typically have both branding and direct response goals. Online video can achieve both – compelling viewers to lean-forward and engage.
In today’s digital video landscape we have a few ancillary products that can help measure how consumers are engaging with an advertisement. Traditionally, we have completion rates and clicks.
The inverse relationship of those two actions often makes it difficult to deduce what a consumer meant when s/he clicked vs. finished watching. For example, if a viewer watched the entire video ad but did not click on it, did it mean s/he was interested or not? Was the intention of finishing the video ad just to get to the online content?
Furthermore, if a viewer clicks on the video ad prior to watching it to completion, but does not convert with the brand beyond that action, what is the marketer supposed to deduce from that? The two actions of completion and clicks are not great at measuring a viewer’s true intent.
Companion Banners And Interactive Video
To help bring clarity and drive a measureable engagement path, pre-roll ads should be paired with either companion banners or integrated with an interactive layer. Doing so will go a long way in helping marketers understand how viewers respond to campaigns and help differentiate performance metrics in order to accurately measure against branding and direct response goals.
Companion banners that appear with pre-roll video ads came along as a solution to move the viewer’s click off the video. The rationale is to have viewers finish the video and then take action via the banner to visit the brand site, learn more and perform a transaction.
It’s important to set clear branding and direct-response goals for a campaign because the construction and utilization of assets need to align with those goals. For example, when a brand creates the pre-roll ad, it should be produced so that the :15/:30-second video spot interests and compels the viewer with a strong branding message. The companion to that video ad should complement the message with a strong call-to-action for direct response, providing the viewer with clear direction on how to engage with the brand – whether it is a click to purchase, sign up, download a coupon, etc.
The Interactive Video Option
A different tactic that can help bring clarity to how viewers engage with video ads is interactive video. Video interaction products, such as those provided by Innovid, can help a marketer combine branding and direct-response objectives, and still keep metrics distinct.
Interactive video is a great way to measure awareness and engagement directly within the pre-roll. Awareness is a new metric that allows a marketer to see if a viewer is moving the mouse over the video. This simple act creates a grey zone that allows a video ads to move from a lean-back to a lean-forward media channel. The awareness metric is telling a marketer that a viewer is interested in the brand and that there are specific elements on the screen that are attracting attention and prompting action. The awareness metric bridges the chasm between viewing and clicking.
In summary, as marketers are shifting dollars to digital video, we need to understand that the environment is not a simple process of stapling display and video ads to one another. The environment and experience of the viewer is unique. You are moving the consumer from a lean-back medium to lean-forward by guiding them via pre-roll, companion ads and interactive layers to engage with the brand message and then take an action.
A video campaign can only be as successful as the strategy around the execution; and clear, cohesive objectives for each metric are necessary from the beginning.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.