When a multi-billion dollar company is built on the capability of connecting people on the internet with the content they want, you tend to listen to the ideas and tips that they offer. One of our favorite series of articles on the internet is the Think With Google site. Here Google aficionados discuss how the best create material for the web, regardless of format type. Given our noted bias towards video, we took note of their experimentation with video advertising models online and relished in their results.
Lesson #1: Experimentation leads to innovation
Keeping pace with rapid changes in consumer behavior demands questioning what we know and experimenting to find out what works. But don’t get hung up on the difference between experimentation and testing. Testing is more tactical; for example, a brand might run an A/B test to determine what media to invest more heavily in or which message is resonating with an audience. Experimentation, on the other hand, requires a brand to go beyond testing and try out new ways of doing things. We’ve found that experimenting drives new ways of thinking by asking bigger and deeper questions about formats, platforms, and audiences.
Tip: Start with what your agency believes is a universal truth and get experimenting. Explore the unknown and test your own hypotheses; seek to disprove it; look at it from another angle. Pursue the answers that everyone wants to know but hasn’t tackled yet.
Lesson #2: Digital video is easy if you’re resourceful
Creating successful online videos doesn’t have to mean new shoots, big budgets, and a creative overhaul. If you’re resourceful, creating digital content can be easy.
One way we found to get new content up cheaply and quickly: Don’t start from scratch. Repurpose and recut your existing assets to put together options that could play well on digital video platforms. When we ran our Unskippable Labs experiments with Mondelez International, Mountain Dew, and L’Oréal Paris, we made small tweaks to existing creative to develop different, online-optimized versions. Production costs were low and recutting the creative took less than a day.
Tip: The low time and money investment in this scrappy approach to production mean the risks are also lower, so you’re free to produce a bunch of different versions that can be repurposed for different geographies and platforms.
Lesson #3: Don’t be afraid to break the rules
There’s no rulebook for online video. In fact, it’s often the brands that break the rules that see the most success. When Mountain Dew saw an opportunity to reinvent the pre-roll ad, the company took it. The result was digital video ads that viewers actually wanted to watch.
The brands that find new and authentic ways to tell stories are the brands that get noticed by the industry and by consumers. Take the Cannes YouTube Ads Leaderboard, for instance, which features the most popular global ads released in the year leading up to Cannes 2016. Leaderboard-topping agencies like BBDO and 72andSunny created ads that leave impressions by breaking free of what’s been done—and their ads drive results. Nine out of the 10 videos on the Cannes Leaderboard were also successful TV ads, proving that toggling between platforms is possible.
Tip: Try something new. Shuffle around pieces of content you’ve already produced. Get weird. Sell in something nontraditional. See what sticks and iterate from there.
There are a multitude of subject matter experts regarding video marketing strategy, video production, and other facets of the use of online video for business means. Make sure you discuss with your Digital Media Producer the content needs for your business, so that they can optimize their marketing plan to fit it.