A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to host a panel of five leading ad industry experts to discuss the future of online video advertising at our annual SmartVideo Summit. As we looked at video’s evolving role in a data-centric world, three things stood out:
1. Video Is a Brand and Performance Medium
Historically, marketers have viewed video as a one-to-many branding tactic. However, there has been quite a bit of accelerated change in the past year. We kicked off the panel by discussing this evolution and how video plays in both brand and performance roles.
John Wallace, chief growth officer at MarketShare, said, “Every form of media plays both roles [brand and performance marketing] to one degree or another; you can’t completely separate the two.” Other panelists agreed that while there might be separate brand and performance teams, each side reaps benefits of the other.
Ralph Robertson, chief revenue officer at VisualIQ, chimed in saying, “Across all mediums, we’re seeing a convergence across DR (direct response) and brand-based media. It all comes down to the KPIs folks are trying to measure against. If you’re on the brand side of the house, then you don’t really want to get measured on DR-specific metrics, but you still want to understand how your brand is driving final conversion events, both online and offline.”
2. Data Enables Relevant Communication
Many affectionately call 2015 the year of data, as marketers are beginning to aggregate, activate and utilize data throughout their marketing mix. Across the board, panelists agreed that that the primary purpose of data is to drive better relevance in connection with each customer.
Andrew Winton of Sky said, “If you know as much about the customer as you can, then you can make the advert hit the spot in terms of what you’re trying to get to that customer. We’ve spent a lot of time building segments in our DMP to drive that relevancy to the customer.”
Cox Communications’ Mark Lawson added that while relevancy impacts both prospective and existing customers, the most significant impact is on the existing customer base. By communicating with relevant messages that highlight the products and services a customer doesn’t currently have and reinforcing the value of products they do have, brands can drive significant additional revenue from existing customers.
Pat Rubin of Dentsu Aegis Network said that relevance can help increase the lifetime value of every customer, but doing so requires a lot of preparation for both the marketer and the agency. The two must align on media, creative, strategy, technology and budget in order to execute in a way that benefits the brand and the customer. “The end goal is also providing value back to the customer so that every interaction they have with a brand throughout their journey is providing a value exchange back to them,” he said.
3. Measurement and Attribution Are Changing
Last but not least, we talked about how attribution is moving beyond the click. Agencies and marketers are now aligning business strategies with measurement plans to more accurately determine the effectiveness of their strategies. In doing so, Pat Rubin noted, advertising shifts from a cost center to a revenue center, and there is a heavy reliance on technology to measure and quantify the impact of online and offline results.
John Wallace commented that attribution companies are always answering two questions:
“How fast-acting or long-lasting is the media?”
“How much does it move the needle?”
Most brands are looking at creating a more sophisticated form of measurement to understand how media performs across multiple channels and to better understand the customer journey. Using those results, marketers can then optimize programs and reallocate budgets to more effective channels.