Food For Thought
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Who knew that Sorted Food have more YouTube subscribers than David Beckham, Gok Wan and Heston Blumenthal combined?
After last Thursday’s Content Conversations event from Outbrain a room full of brand marketers did. They also emerged from the two-hour session with a host of other insights and actionable advice on how to make branded video work for them.
A video is worth 1,000 words
Session chair Alex Blyth kicked off the session, held at Outbrain’s Oxford Street offices in London, by pointing to the January 2014 Cisco study which predicted that by 2017 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video.
He went on to argue that the potential of video should not be measured solely by the quantity of traffic it generates; the quality of the interactions is also key. According to Adobe’s State of Online Advertising consumer research in 2013, 67% of consumers think “a video is worth 1,000 words”. He confessed that for a professional writer like him this is a worrying trend.
For brands however it is a significant opportunity. Yet video needs to be done well. It needs to be used for the right purposes with a compelling angle, produced well, and then distributed successfully. Finally, video marketing must be measured to improve campaigns and justify ongoing investment.
Using video content examples from Philips
So, four panellists gave talks of five to ten minutes each tackling those issues in turn. Olivia Rzepczynski, Global Business Director at Ogilvy & Mather gave a couple of examples of how her team on the Philips Lifestyle Entertainment & Domestic Appliances business uses video content to good effect.
The first showed how Philips is using video to win back the passionate music fans who were deserting it for new brand Beatz. With its “You Need to Hear This Now” campaign Philips had demonstrated its involvement in, and passion for, music, and how its products allow consumers to experience that music.
The second was a campaign that ran in Italy where 60% of all divorces are attributed to problems women experience with their mothers-in-law. This campaign, “Mothers-in-law Anonymous” used humorous videos to show women how judicious use of Philips domestic appliances could stave off the worst of the problems that arise in these relationships.
Quality content on a budget
Next up was Ben Sinden, Content Director at Videojug Networks who offered invaluable hands-on advice to marketers on how to achieve high quality content without spending six-figure sums.
He argued for non-viral formats such as branded entertainment, ad funded video, or retail crossovers. He gave examples of how brands can piggyback onto existing events to gain views of their content. He suggested how by planning filming schedules, thinking carefully about settings and other practical considerations it is possible to keep costs down.
He also revealed that while most brands would aim for well-known celebrities such as David Beckham, Gok Wan and Heston Blumenthal, when it comes to video the key factor to consider is subscriber numbers. No matter how famous a person, if few people go to them for online video content they are unlikely to generate views of branded content.
While those celebrities have subscriber bases in the tens of thousands, lesser known celebrities such as KSI, Tanya Burr or Sorted Food have millions of subscribers and so may be a better bet for a branded video campaign.
Viral – the enemy of video content
Olly Smith, commercial director at Unruly Media made the audience think with his revelation that 25% of all shares from online video come within the first three days. Whilst the common perception of a successful video campaign is one that starts small and goes viral reaching millions, he argued that the reverse is in fact the case: to succeed a video needs to be seen by a large number of people early on.
Furthermore, distribution budgets should be spread thinly across a wide media base. 40% of views might be on YouTube, but the remaining 60% – the majority – are across a highly fragmented universe. To get take-up videos need to reach consumers across as much of that universe as possible.
He cautioned against the tactic he sees too many brands deploy: spending heavily on production and then only hosting it on their own media, or investing tentatively in media with a view to ramping up investment once success is proven. When it comes to branded online video, he argued, you need to go big and go early.
Time spent with a brand
The introductory talks were rounded off by Steve Doyle, Commercial Director at InSkin Media and Chair of IAB’s video marketing council, who argued against over-reliance on the number of views as the key metric.
He believes it is far more important to understand what happens to a viewer after seeing the content. To have one person who feels positively about a brand having seen content is far more valuable than to have 100 viewers who instantly forget it. The focus should be on the quality of the engagement.
Questions and answers
The session was then opened up to questions from the audience. These ranged from the challenges involved in taking videos across platforms (important given that 40% of views are from a mobile device), to the optimum frequency for videos (avoid trying television-style serialisation; instead put it all out there at once), and the potential for video infographics to convey detailed information in an engaging way.
At the end of a packed two-hour session, attendees emerged onto Oxford Street thinking about ways to use this fast-emerging medium to build their brands, how to get in touch with Sorted Food’s agent, and of course the next Content Conversation which takes place 9-11am on 27th March and will see experts sharing their views on what brands need to do to ensure they maximise the potential of mobile.
Undoubtedly, there is room for further discussion on many aspects of this debate and the conversation is set to continue through the Guardian’s Live Q&A on 5 March from 14.00 GMT.