Everyone loves a good buffet, there’s something about the freedom of choice that appeals to the inner kid in all of us.
Why on earth am I talking about buffets? Well it happens to be the metaphor which Nine’s Nathan Powell used in opening the IAB’s Video Ad-vantage event to describe the variety of choice which exists in digital video.
We’re conditioned to think choice is good. But sometimes too much choice can cause confusion, or worse, paralysis. Ever fired up Spotify and struggled to decide what to listen to? It’s not uncommon.
This was the point made by Westpac’s Head of Media, Toby Dewar, on a panel at the event: “I love buffets. But I also like a set menu and the ability to make things easier. I think that’s the tension point, the choices and the options and measurement against what is an 8% share of the market takes up too much time as it relates to the audience.”
Digital video is growing rapidly - it accounted for about 8% of Australian advertising spend last year (about $1.4bn according to IAB reporting), up from about $80m in 2012. Of course everyone wants a piece of that pie, but the lack of consistency across the market could be playing against us.
I asked Toby what he wanted to see, and replied: “I throw it back at you to help me distil that back down to media planning principles and some consistency on measurement. I think at the moment the different measurement, definitions and sizes have to be fixed.
“So help guide me through the buffet as to what the choices are. The analogy is to walk the buffet together to make the right choices. We can do it as clients but the media platforms need to help us do it too.”
It’s completely understandable - marketers are keen to better understand where digital video fits into their media mix. They know they need it, but what does it look like, how many formats should they be across, and what are the metrics they should measure? These are all very worthy questions.
Research presented at the event by Sam Walters of Kantar showed that tailoring digital video for the platform and formats delivers a much higher return on investment than not. That’s supported by research from Analytic Partners, and others. Importantly, creativity also makes a difference.
During the event we were also shown examples of some ads which have performed incredibly well across digital platforms.
One was a typically bold piece from Johnson & Johnson brand Carefree, where they solicited a number of older women to help advocate for their feminine hygiene range. As brand manager Amy Darling told the audience it was a brave move for many reasons, not least because they traded their usual TV activity for a digital video approach. And: “We needed something to really shift consumer perceptions and drive our brand sales.”
They needed business outcomes. And they got them. Amy explained: “The results showed it received really strong ad recall across both YouTube and Facebook - 14.5 points from Facebook and 28% uplift on YouTube. It had a 14% consideration uplift and from a Quantium sales perspective it lifted 28% among heavy buyers (those who buy it regularly) and an 18% incremental uplift. We were very happy.”
Toby also had some strong examples of digital video working for Westpac, who have put an incredibly strong focus on brand advertising.
Their much-heralded ‘Help. It’s what Australians do’ campaign from last year was epic, and that led the team to initially focus on “big epic moments, cinema, large format outdoor and key TV programs” according to Toby.
But when it came to digital video it became an “accidental hero”. He explained at the IAB event: “When we evolved to video, and particularly social, what we saw was the same levels of enjoyment,and a contribution to building consideration.
“What we learned from that is it can deliver epic moments, and by that I mean, small scale mobile and so forth, does deliver incremental reach and impact, particularly against that younger demographic.”
Clearly there are already a lot of good news stories out there around digital video across a range of environments. It’s not to say there is no place for linear TV, it is still an incredibly important part of the mix.
But the panel of marketers at the IAB event were all agreed there is a big opportunity with digital formats to find those audiences they are struggling to find in those other channels, and reinforce the bigger brand campaigns effectively.
The challenge for us all as media vendors is to help create a range of formats and metrics which are easier for marketers, and agencies, to understand, format, and of course, buy.
One of the key first steps to a better understanding of the value of each platform is reach deduplication - how many people did all of my ads reach, and how many of those were my desired audience. Reducing waste is a key aim of any good media campaign.
Tools such as Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) are a good start in this area, giving marketers the ability to deduplicate those audiences across publishers and platforms and gauge things like age and gender. In other countries, advertisers are making use of Total Ad Ratings (TAR), a solution that combines and dedupes both online and offline audiences.
Without a product like TAR Australian advertisers are only able to understand part of the story. Local marketers are focused on cross-digital and TV-video ad measurement, asking the industry and measurement bodies to provide this data so they can fully understand which channels are driving what. DAR is a great first step, let’s work together to give the marketers what they want and introduce a TAR type solution in the Australian market.
With so many formats and choices available it’s inevitable marketers aren’t always going to get the most bang for their buck, and it’s up to us as an industry to make this all easier to buy.
The buffet is well and truly open, let’s all make sure our guests are eating only the best of it.