Consumer #VideoMarketing Challenges – Don’t leave the consumer feeling ‘You’ve Been Framed!’, how to drive intrigue and reach.

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So, the power of video – the wonders of video content, both on and offline.  A 15” second video can deliver a message quickly and succinctly a message which would take considerably longer to explain and demonstrate with words or diagrams, but how to optimise this space. Undoubtedly video is on everyone’s lips.  Brands are pushing TV Ads online and trying to drive the same ATL (Above the Line) approach to a digital audience who are highly sensitive to their viewing and digital consumption.

This post is going to take the form of 3 directions:

  • Consumer choice approach to Video Content, pre-roll
  • Opportunity with video content as engagement activity
  • If you build it they will come, (only if you are Jesus!)

This isn’t a new discussion point, so I’ll not dwell on all faculties of video.  Back in the day when digital planners were using video content there was a firm belief that video in particular pre-roll could be used because you had the consumers attention, they wanted to watch the content that was behind your pre-roll, therefor they were a lot more engaged with the content as there was an end in sight.  However with the huge growth in video content and 60-70% video content being consumed online, being short form content, the approach that we stood by 4-5 years ago now is becoming increasingly more frustrating to the consumer.

Pre-Roll Giving The Consumer Choice

YouTube have addressed the issue of irritating the consumer, as they are the driving force behind short form video with the availability of skippables and true view.  The thinking behind this was that advertisers now have 5 seconds to capture the attention of the consumer and if they fail to do that then the user has the option to skip the video. This should be the preferred method of pre-roll execution on short form video but it is still feared by brands who lack faith in their content (which is why brands need to ensure that video is optimised for the specific space and deemed as quality and/or entertaining content for the consumer).  Video holds considerable strength in engaging the consumer emotionally, TV advertising has been doing it for years but consumers expect a very different approach for digital.

What’s crucial is that the consumer feels that they are in control.  They are more likely to give a ‘brand’ opportunity if they feel that they can skip an Ad if it is not interesting to them. Brands which use pre-roll aggressively will continue to drive a wedge between digital video marketing and the consumer.

Opportunity with Video as an Engagement Activity

The second part of this post is about optimising video for the space, video content is generally expensive or time rich to produce and because of this the temptation is to push the same piece of content everywhere, TV and Digital, this can reinforce the brand but is it optimising and maximising the use of each space?

One of the latest editions for YouTube are the YouTube annotations, they are not available to all brands but have the potential to deliver a significantly stronger relationship with the consumer, than mirroring ATL content on your YouTube channel.  The YouTube annotation is an effective tool for creating videos that are engaging, interactive, informative and entertaining. Annotations can help advertisers to hold a dialogue with their viewers, call upon viewers to take action and get significantly higher levels of engagement.



The benefits are that annotations allow advertisers to create interactive videos and keep audiences engaged.  They can be linked to advertiser’s own websites off YouTube including Facebook and Twitter pages and can also provide dynamic content overlaid on a YouTube video.

The key features are the ability to add background information, create branching (chose your own adventure) stories or Add links to any YouTube video, channel or search results page – at any point in your video. The asset owner has control over creating and editing an unlimited number of annotations. This can all be done from the YouTube CMS, which can be combined with 3rd party click tracking.

Here is a video of the newest annotation styles:

If you build it they will come, (only if you are Jesus!)

Content is definitely key and good content will be found, however to accelerate the reach and performance paid media will support driving the content to the users to share. Using YouTube promoted videos for a concentrated period, video seeding partners and Facebook promoted posts will drive your content to audiences who are relevant for your brand and most likely to share the content.

YouTube Promoted video – Specific Targeting available for YouTube search, content type and the view will be recorded on the channel.  The Ad appears top right hand side of the page, it can be managed through Adwords and is paid for on a cost / click.

Video Seeding Network – Networks which are integrated with social media to drive organic sharing and push content to relevant users to share.

Facebook Page Post – Ads paid for on a cost / click or a cost / engagement which ensure that they appear in the news feeds of your followers and allow you to reach connections of your brand channel followers.

Twitter Promoted Tweet – Promoted tweet paid for on a cost  / engagement targeted to users relevant for your content.

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Google Gives Android Developers Improved Analytics To Track Users’ Acquisition And Engagement Data

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Why Should Marketing be like Comedy?

The title above refers to two huge passions of mine, at first look, these two don’t appear to overlap that much, however and I am speaking openly about emotional triggers here, there are more similarities than there might be apparent at first glance.

One of my favourite comedians is: Michael McIntyre

And for those reading this who don’t know him, check him out and this should give you a better steer on where I am coming from. Michael is comedian who has exploded into the UK public domain in the last 5 years, sell out tours, #LOL is common at one of his performances and why is this? Well, Michael is an excellent story teller and his comedy is amplified – firstly, through relating his performance to every day life events and secondly, through leading the audience through a set of events that are linked which make up a story.  The stories that he uses can branch out into many different directions, all of which can have comical interludes, but it is with ease that he moves between stories.

The exceptional part of this journey, that he takes the audience on is that he sets the scene brilliantly and then moves the audience through the story and the further through the story he gets, the more the audience becomes engaged.  And, once they are engaged they become much more involved with the content and interested.  Coupled with how he refers to situations that are relevant to each and every audience member in some shape or form the outcome is funny everyday situations that link to each other, which the audience is completely engaged with.  If he didn’t have these stories and moved to the punchline too quickly the outcome would not be the same, as it is the time he takes leading the audience through the story, which makes them more engaged – almost to the point where the audience can recount the story back to him, without even realising that they have remembered it.  Which in-turn makes it easier for them to reiterate the stories to friends and people they want to relay the events to.

How does this relate to marketing?

Well unlike a sell out show for a comedian, where everyone there shouldn’t have any other distractions, firstly you have to get the attention of the consumer. This is where the media push comes into play.  This is like any advertisement for a ‘show’ the same way a comedian gets noticed a few strong ‘hooks’ to get the audience to notice you. The interesting part happens once you have got them to notice you.

So you have grabbed a consumers attention with a ‘hook’ that resonates with them! The key then becomes not what you say, but what you don’t say and the way you deliver it.  A marketing ‘campaign’ is just that, if it contains a single message, then it is very difficult for the audience to become engaged with it.  A ‘campaign’ is about leading a consumer through a story which makes sense and helps them to become engaged with what you are saying. There are shorter examples, an exception to this is where a story is told within a single Ad itself:

When marketeers are looking at content and activity calendars, the foundation of the campaign should be ‘the story’ that the brand/product is looking to tell to the consumer throughout the campaign. And, then linking each elements of the story together so that they make sense to the consumer.  The brand can go through ‘comical interludes’ for example Facebook Apps, Twitter Competitions a piece of Experiential Marketing, but it is the story, the foundation, which needs to be solid to ensure the consumer can become more engaged.

How can Digital help?

With the vast amount of press that privacy settings in the digital space is getting these days, consumers are instantly fearful that an irresponsible brand is going to use their data to capture them and bombard them with intrusive messages, this could happen. But, there is a much more effective way to use this data.

Data points on consumers, whether they be cookies, social CRM, CRM, profile level data, conversational and listening data, could be used to better understand where the consumer is currently in ‘the story’. Then they can be directed to the next chapter or event, that could be interesting to them.  If we are listening to a story and we miss part of the story, even with a TV series, it is very difficult to get back into that story.  Digital gives us that advantage to marketeers and used responsibly, it should work to develop the consumers understanding of a brand or a campaign and allow them to pick up the story where they left off. The data can also help the brand to understand what ‘to say’ and what ‘to hold back’ to build the excitement in the campaign.

Depth is extremely important to the relationship, between the brand and the consumer.  How can a marketeer make this about more than selling a product, any brand has the ability to get a consumers attention it is holding the attention, which is where the skill is.

Good marketing, like good comedy …. is about delivery.

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Is Scaling Content User Focused?

Is Scaling Content User Focused? 

Scaling down content for tablets is a route which has been explored by many brands but is this quicker route to market, focused around the consumer?

Or is this a ‘brand’ centric approach. Developers designing for mobile devices have the edge in this space, as all content is designed for the platform.  Established brands already have the content, however the opportunity is around understanding the platform and taking the time to make your content relevant.  That will take longer than porting existing content but it will deliver a more relevant product for that space.

What are the consumer needs?

Mobile gaming has paved the way for this, proving that designing the game around the platform and not attempting to squeeze existing content onto a new platform has seen success and challenges in this space. The user experience is different and therefore the product should be designed around how the consumers need to consume on that platform.

Brands have existing content and the easy way to prove to portray that the company is operating in that space is to directly transfer onto the latest devices, however this has been largely unsuccessful and as a route to market, it is short term box ticking and not the route to long term success based on user centered design.

Does User Experience Feature Far Enough up the Chain?

Having not had the opportunity to use the ‘Surface‘ yet, so I must caveat my response.  But what I have read has mixed reviews.  On the ‘Surface’ (no pun intended) the modular screen looks extremely user friendly, but whether it is actually centered around the user is a question that many brands are asking and maybe more should be.


Earlier this week, Jacob Nielsen, a usability expert, penned a detailed post where he effectively panned nearly every aspect of Microsoft Windows 8 (s msft) from a usability perspective. And by panned, I mean completely ripped it apart. Nielson’s commentary was part of a study where 12 experienced Microsoft Windows users were observed while using the new Windows 8 operating system. And perhaps that’s part of the issue here as Windows 8 isn’t quite like any prior version of Windows at all.

Windows 8 Start ScreenI’m certainly not trying to defend Nielsen’s study, nor the experiences of the dozen participants. In fact, I’ve struggled with the new operating system on a Surface RT review unit and I have 15 years of hands-on I.T. experience in Fortune 100 companies that relied heavily on Windows. Plus I have some previous with experience Windows Phone, which has used a similar interface to that of Windows 8…

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Reasoning vs. Seasoning – What is YOUR consumer taste?

Do you think you can tell consumers when to buy?

There is definitely an expectation, that a brand can fall victim to.  It’s not ignorance, it’s mere excitement, about a new product they are excited about, that they expect consumers to be too. So some brands still think, look at this, it’s new, buy it!

But, who is the brand to tell someone when to buy something? without proving what they market, unless they give them a different reason to purchase it, discount etc. Many different studies have been carried out on the decision process, sales funnel, there are no simple answers.  Unless the reason is highly compelling, consumers will buy when they want to buy.

I as a consumer and an almost prolific, impulsive consumer at that, even surprise myself as I evaluate what makes me buy, what are my triggers, what is my motivation? Brands need to facilitate an action (purchase, sign up, etc.) through all of their touch-points and spend  the rest of the time immersing consumers in content that appeals to their target audience.

What do consumers want?

Consumers are always looking to buy, but they just don’t know what it is that they want to buy yet.  As a marketeer, you live your life on the proviso that consumers are always looking to buy and if you have a product, positioned correctly, approach -informed by data, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t buy your product. But, can you tell them when to buy it? no. Unless you have some compelling reason to buy, it will always struggle to work successfully. Timing of the messaging could help, but facilitating purchase throughout the consideration phase and choice is still under valued / tested by brands.

Consumers are different, the consideration phase is complex which is why a simple buy message is archaic.  But immersion is key for the consumer to understand why they should buy it. The consumer should be so immersed in your product that there is no other choice than to buy, fully informed, educated and ready, in their time, to take the next step.

Brands should not exploit knowledge

Knowledge is key. Not the sort of knowledge where you tag a consumer, who visited a site once and then you bombard them with every inch of internet space, trying to make them buy your product because they have shown an interest once, horrendous, intrusive, bollocks. I don’t want to make you buy my product, I want you to want to buy my product and ideally I want you to be proud to buy my product.  So, am I a fantasist? No I am not, I am  the sort of chap who wants to find the best in marketing, the guy who thinks the technology that digital gives us is an advantage to the consumer and not to the brand. (Well and the brand as well, but we’ll come on to that)

As a consumer, myself personally, I am always looking to buy.  Whether it’s the industry I am in, or the mood I am in that day, I spend some time of each day indulging myself in what I want to buy.  If I have no new ideas that day, then I simply haven’t been approached or immersed enough to want to purchase anything. Is there a pattern to what I do? No.  Would I ever buy for the price that someone wants me to, or the place that someone wants me to, never.

What’s the challenge to using data?

Every brand out there, which is not a fledgling, has the same thing, data. But many don’t care about learning about their customers and this is the ignorance that gets under my skin.  Customer data is what brands should build products and promotion around, this sounds niche, but it is very broad. Understanding your customers is the hardest thing that you will ever undertake, but until you do that, then the amount you as a brand are losing, is vast. Your customers identify themselves as liking something about your brand; by buying from you, they have opened a door to you.  A brand shouldn’t exploit this, but see it as an opportunity to understand more about needs and motivation.

Help consumers buy

So the brands reasoning thinks ‘I have a great product, why wouldn’t everyone want to buy it from me’. As a brand, what elements should you put into that consideration phase, the communication with the consumer to sell that product, to adjust it to the taste of your consumer.

Consumers will buy from you and they want to buy from you, data should be used to understand how you can make it appealing to your consumer and cement the ingredients to the cycles of your campaign. There is still a lot of focus on telling people to buy and ultimately it’s education on both sides that drives the understanding removing the barriers to purchase.

Your current customers are your most important means to build your business. Brands that understand the motivation of their current consumers and have a solid inbound marketing strategy are at a significant advantage to those who do not take the time to understand their most important assets.

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