Restrictions on daily life and activities this year, from gatherings to dining, exercising, shopping, and travel have changed how we pursue our interests. In many cases, consumers have been forced to migrate to online channels to go about their lives.
When it comes to online video specifically, more time spent at home has resulted in more people turning to the big screen to explore their passions and viewership of YouTube on TV screens has become a staple of everyday life.
More than 7 million Australians now watch YouTube on their TV screens. The 65% YoY growth has prompted the launch of YouTube Select, which allows advertisers to use Google owned data to feature on premium channels and videos across YouTube, and meet Australian viewers right where they are consuming their content.
YouTube and connected TV advertising provide incremental reach with demographics that don’t engage with traditional TV, and it’s inevitable that more brands are going to need to complement traditional TV ads with online video. As digital adoption accelerates, online video is becoming an even more invaluable tool for brands.
Why should advertisers pay attention to online video?
People aren’t just watching online videos in short bursts. The volume of watch time of YouTube content on TV screens which is greater than 30 minutes has increased more than 90% in a 12-month period in the US. Online video is the new way to watch live events and sport. Between mid-March and late May, there was a 215% increase globally in average daily YouTube uploads with ‘self-care’ in the title, compared to the first two months of the year.
People have also visited YouTube from the living room, with watch time of videos related to well-being, including yoga, fitness, and meditation increasing more than 180% from July 2019 to July 2020. As New Year approaches, it’s the perfect opportunity for advertisers to tap into the ‘New Year, New Me’ mindset and reach new audiences who are seeking out self-improvement inspiration and resources online.
Unlike Google Shopping, which has quickly become saturated with a flurry of new entrants, the growth in YouTube watch time has also increased advertising placements across this platform. The cost of YouTube advertising therefore hasn’t appeared to be directly impacted by the rise in competition for online advertising this year.
According to Mark Ritson, marketers should also be aware that, ‘[Online video] has the ability to do both bottom-of-funnel targeted activation and performance marketing … and also has the ability to be a top-of-funnel standard, broadcast, emotional, brand building media.’
What objectives can marketers achieve through YouTube advertising?
Online video is also proving to be a powerful medium for brand building because it can reach a wide audience, focus on specific products, and drive ROI-targeted conversions.
YouTube offers a variety of campaign objectives and is no longer just an awareness channel. Advertisers can adopt a true full-funnel approach. Whether your goal is to maximise reach and increase awareness, build consideration and interest, or drive online action and sales, there are a range of formats, audiences, and bidding strategies available. TrueView for Shopping has also improved the outcomes for eCommerce by incorporating product feeds.
The results are only as good as the information you feed into Google. Using strong customer lists and data is just as important as ensuring that your tracking is set up correctly so that your campaigns can optimise efficiently.
How can marketers engage their audience effectively with video?
When you start launching new campaigns, you can also start targeting your most intent-driven, low funnel audiences with the likes of remarketing lists and custom-intent audiences. Once Google has had the opportunity to learn and optimise for these qualified customers, you can start to work backwards and broaden your targeting, apply the learnings to a wider audience, and scale up spend.
Creative also drives audience engagement and campaign performance. Recent work by Nielsen Catalina suggests that as much as 47% of the effect of an ad comes from the creative itself.
Attention spans are declining and the digital environment is saturated, so an emerging digital story arc for online video has been suggested by Google. It starts on a high, leads into the big reveal quickly, maintains connection, and then directs users to the offer or resolution smoothly.
Ideally online video should be 6-15 seconds long, optimised for mobile, and cover all of the ABCD’s of effective YouTube creative:
- Attract attention from the start. Front-load your story arc and focus attention immediately.
- Brand naturally and with purpose. Integrate our brand seamlessly in the first 5 seconds (just in case your viewer skips).
- Connect with the viewer through emotion and storytelling. Keep up the pace and use brand-aligned emotions to drive ad recall.
- Direct the viewer with what you want them to do next. Clear calls to action help to drive brand lift.
Online video: an effective customer engagement tool?
‘We know that engaged audiences are using YouTube to learn, discover ideas, to shape how they experience the real world in a whole bunch of new ways.’Rhys Williams, Google Australia Director
In a difficult market, brands need to accommodate for changing consumer expectations and passions. Customers have spent the year discovering new hobbies and interests, from their own living room. Agile brands will adapt to the channel migration and use online video to meet their customers where they are consuming content and exploring their passions.