Contributed by Byron Munson, Regional Director, APAC, Videology, Inc.

Byron Munson

Video is now consumed by millions of consumers around the globe each day. Whether tuning in to their favourite television programming on the computer, or watching original video content on their Smartphones, consumers engage with video content for entertainment, knowledge and social connections.

This engagement and emotional appeal is what makes video advertising such a powerful medium for brands. More and more television-centric advertisers are starting to incorporate video into their media mix. Often, brand advertisers venture into video by using the same planning and buying tactics to engage consumers that they use successfully in television. For instance, a brand would select the sites on which to advertise based on how relevant that site’s content is to its targeted consumers. This is actually a good place to start, as the likelihood of a consumer watching a video advertisement to completion is highly correlated to the quality and relevancy of the site on which it runs. In fact, this type of contextual based planning by site is a great way to achieve mass reach and build awareness for a brand.

However, the real power of video advertising can be unleashed by overlaying data on top of content. There are many definitions in the market for data. The data I’m referring to is any consumer information either collected by advertisers (1st party data), or aggregated online or offline by third parties (3rd party data), that allows more insight into an online ad impression. This data can help add colour to the consumers visiting the site, in an anonymous way, illuminating their demographics and lifestage, or even their interests and buying intentions. In other words, data can turn an anonymized viewer of Site A into a “woman under 35 years-old with kids.” Wouldn’t that be a helpful bit of knowledge for children’s vitamin brand, for instance?

The ability to apply data to media is a relatively new capability and it’s still in its infancy in SEA. In the past, data itself and the systems to house it used to be reminiscent of The Matrix, with binary 1s and 0s requiring huge mainframe machines and complex technical set-ups to process. As a result, data and databases tended to mainly be the domain of big financial services or insurance companies. Technological innovation at the enterprise level is one key factor in making data more accessible to advertisers. The other major change that has enabled the rise of data is the role that technology now plays in consumers’ lives. Thanks to the rise of the internet, the increase in social media, and the use of mobile devices amongst other things, consumers can now access information, express their opinions and make purchases near instantaneously. Every time this happens, they are creating valuable marketing data on themselves.

To give a real world example, think about your average day. Personally, I wake up and watch the news whilst I’m getting ready for work, then continue reading the news on my tablet or phone on my way to work. Once there, I pop into the café and use my credit card to buy my favourite magazine and some breakfast. During a morning break, I log on to my social network to arrange to meet some friends after work at the pub. Then, I check my email, do a quick spot of internet browsing, purchase my mum’s birthday present over lunch, and so on… From this example, you can see how much information I as a consumer have generated about myself by lunchtime — my interests, email address, the retailers I regularly buy from, etc.

From a marketer’s perspective, this data becomes invaluable in helping to identify and target messages to those consumers most likely to be interested in their product or service, which we know creates greater engagement and better performance across a variety of campaign objectives. Advertisers interested in applying data to their video campaigns can use it to help achieve a variety of objectives throughout the entire planning and buying process:

  Define Consumers — data providers are increasingly offering tools to brands to better understand their existing customer base, i.e. who is visiting your site, who is buying a product. Leveraging these insights can help refine the audience targeted for the campaign and better ensure the relevancy of the messaging.

  Target Consumers — Putting these insights into practice, advertisers can create a video advertising plan targeting these core consumers. Depending on the brand and marketing goals, this might include narrowing a campaign’s reach, or simply changing the creative based on a viewer’s profile. For instance, a toothpaste brand might emphasize fluoride protection when speaking to mums, but focus on the whitening effect when speaking to a young, male audience.

Advertisers can adjust their targeting strategy to attain different media mix objectives, as well. For instance, a shampoo brand that is a large TV advertiser might choose to reinforce their message to mums who are exposed to their campaign on both TV and online. Conversely, they may use online video to gain incremental reach from those mums who are not watching daytime TV. Or finally, they may refine a TV plan to achieve the same audience reach with a more cost effective CPM through a different media mix.

 Measure Success — By adopting the audience targeting approach described above, an advertiser can test what types of data, targeting and media strategies work best to achieve their goals. With the application of data, actual CPM pricing may increase, but targeted CPM — in other words, the cost to reach those consumers within a brand’s target audience — may actually decrease as there are fewer wasted impressions due to the greater accuracy of the targeting. And data targeting has been shown to increase performance metrics such as awareness, site traffic or other online actions, and even offline sales — all drivers of ROI.

Advertisers outside of SEA have been using audience data to better understand consumers and target audiences to great success. Seeing these results in other regions, global marketers and media agencies in particular are eager to begin applying data to campaigns within this region. Fortunately, several data providers are beginning to expand into SEA. As these and other data providers grow their reach across the SEA marketplace there becomes a very real opportunity to employ 3rd and 1st party data targeting to campaigns.

While there is no one-size-fits-all application of data, when used correctly it can add immense value to digital video advertising campaigns by delivering the right audiences at the right time for brand advertisers. Of course, great advertising will always go hand in hand with premium content and fabulous creative. But just as great art benefits from symmetry and scale, so too does video advertising benefit from data and math. And now SEA marketers have the opportunity to tap into this valuable new tool set.

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