Video in digital marketing has exploded in both ubiquity and popularity among consumers around the world over the past few years. What was once considered a novelty online now makes up nearly 80% of all global web traffic and content consumption, according to a recent Cisco study. In the US, that figure is even higher at over 85% – roughly 15x higher than it was just three years ago. Even more notably, over 75% of digital video plays are now viewed on mobile devices according to eMarketer. While the recent rate of growth in online video may be surprising, it’s not hard to see why consumers respond better to video in digital advertising: these ads allows brands to engage consumers with dynamic content, educate them on how to use their products, and tell their brand story in a short period of time. This is especially true on mobile devices, which now account for over 52% of total global web traffic. Given the recent changes in digital media consumption and positive customer engagement with video, it’s clear that video advertising should be a part of any digital marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll highlight four main areas that we believe brands and advertisers should focus on in order to develop their video advertising strategy: basic video fundamentals, self-service display media ads, paid search campaigns, and managed video ads.
Before discussing how brands and sellers can leverage video in their paid search or display strategies, we should take a step back and discuss digital video fundamentals. According to AdRoll, consumers are 3x more likely to engage with your brand if the brand name or logo appears within the first 10 seconds of the video. They’re also more likely to remain engaged with your video if there is on-screen text that helps drive the video’s message home without sound, which is especially important for mobile devices (when’s the last time you took your smartphone off of silent mode?). In order to minimize the number of consumers that skip or abandon your video early, these videos should make a strong impact in the first 3-4 seconds. You can also persuade shoppers to continue watching with the early introduction of a clear, concise Call to Action (CTA) that demonstrates how customers should engage with your ad, i.e. ‘visit our website for more information.’ Finally, these videos should be between 15 – 90 seconds long, but ideally no more than 60 seconds, as only half of customers watch beyond the one-minute mark.
Once your videos are optimized and ready for digital distribution, a good place to start is by adding these assets to your product detail pages and any other brand store (or similar) locations that various eCommerce retailers allow. Research from HubSpot has shown that 88% of shoppers feel more informed about a product if there is video available, and adding these videos to your product detail pages can increase conversion by as much as 80%. You can ensure a seamless and consistent customer experience by utilizing the same video content for both advertising and education on eCommerce retail placements (such as detail pages and brand stores). Since many retailers allow you to upload videos self-service and free of charge, this should be a natural first place to begin.
After ensuring that your video assets are included on product detail pages and in brand stores, we recommend that you first begin testing video ad units in self-service display media campaigns. These campaigns allow advertisers to launch display media campaigns for relatively low investments and give an enormous amount of control over the creative, targeting, and optimization processes. Amazon’s display media program, known as Amazon DSP (Demand-side Platform), currently allows advertisers to feature videos in just one standard display ad unit with durations between 5-120 seconds (Amazon’s recommended duration is 30 seconds), plus an OTT (Over the Top) ad unit that accommodates either 15 or 30-second videos (see Amazon’s guidelines). We recommend beginning with display ad videos due to their low initial investment, access to real-time reporting and visibility into performance, and the ability to optimize and improve campaigns self-service, any time you like.
Another option for leveraging video in your digital marketing strategy is within paid search platforms. One example is Amazon’s relatively new beta program, Sponsored Brand Video ads. These ad units are similar to a standard Sponsored Brand campaign on desktop (formerly known as Headline Search ads) and include a featured item(s) and a link to a landing page, but also contain a video placement within the ad. For the mobile version, these ads do not contain a headline or multiple featured items, but rather feature the video in a large format and a single featured item directly below the video, which links to a designated landing page. These videos can run between 6 – 90 seconds and are auto-roll format, meaning they begin playing as soon as the ad is in the customer’s viewable screen, even without a customer clicking on or engaging with the video. In our experience, Pacvue clients have been able to drive as high as a 3x improvement in CTR and a 77% increase in ROAS simply by incorporating video into their Sponsored Brand units, with no other changes to targeting or CPC bids.
A third and final option for using video in digital marketing is via managed display campaigns, usually in partnership with a provider or an agency like Pacvue. These campaigns require a minimum annual spend of $35,000 and grant advertisers access to ad inventory that is not available via self-service DSP campaigns. These campaigns can feature video in numerous formats and aspect ratios, and are a good choice for larger marketing campaigns since they have the ability to appear in high-profile places like the Kindle tablet or Fire TV (see Amazon’s guidelines). However, advertisers don’t necessarily need to have huge budgets to run these campaigns, or even hit the annual minimum threshold – by working with a partner like Pacvue, advertisers who aren’t ready to spend at least $35,000 can bypass this requirement and still gain access to premium placements for a smaller investment. Plus, partnering with an experienced agency to manage these campaigns can save a considerable amount of time and energy in the long run, since crafting media strategies, setting up campaigns, and performing routine optimizations can be time-intensive process.
Whether you’re looking to launch a new product, increase conversion rates, or boost your sales online, the data makes it clear that video should be considered an essential part of your digital merchandising and marketing strategy. Not only do customers respond favorably to video, but retailers continue to reinforce and encourage this trend by investing more heavily in their video capabilities. The simple addition of video to your marketing strategy can have a meaningful impact on your brand’s performance online, and it can be accomplished relatively easily through the tactics outlined above.
If you’re unsure about how to get started or best leverage video online, partners like Pacvue have the technology and experience necessary to help you plan and execute video advertising campaigns quickly and efficiently. Whether it’s paid search or display, self-service or with the help of an external partner, we’re confident that incorporating video in your digital marketing strategy will help you improve engagement with your customers and continue to grow your business online.