Kellogg's shows how digital video marketing is bringing brands back to basics

Credit: Digiday

3 years ago, Kellogg’s spent almost zero dollars on YouTube. But based on the outcomes from two highly successful YouTube campaigns, the brand has made an almost wholesale shift in their digital marketing strategy towards video, Marketing Dive reported this week.

In the first campaign, Kellogg’s used YouTube Director Mix, a custom video ads generator, to scale sequenced video ads for Rice Krispies Treats, which outperformed their generic banner ads by 2X. The campaign also generated lift in ad recall (29%), purchase consideration (15%), and sales (4%).

Even more telling was the results from the Pringles Super Bowl ad campaign. The campaign generated over 60 million impressions, and 1 in 5 consumers aware of the campaign actually implemented the “flavor stacking” idea proposed in the ads. Think about that for a second — 20% of the people that saw their ad did what the ad told them to do.

Kellogg’s transition to video is actually an archetypical example of how big brands are successfully shifting digital spend.

Online digital video growth is accelerating

We’re seeing this shift in focus toward video content across the web, something made abundantly clear at this year’s Newfronts. In fact, OMD agency executive Ben Winkler stated that every publisher there “could credibly claim to be an alternative or complement to TV.”

For the first time ever, digital media is on track to overtake TV. GroupM just released a study last week that shows online media taking the lead by just 1% at a 38% share in 2018. This push is due in large part to growth in e-commerce, which now represents 10% of the $2.4 trillion retail market.

...and there are increasingly diverse options

Yet, it’s not just the overall volume of video that is increasing. We’re seeing increasing growth and diversity in channels, apps, and formats.

Conde Nast just announced that it will soon release three major OTT channels — Wired, Bon Appetit, and GQ — on Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire. They’re also ramping up video content efforts with dozens of shows on various other platforms like Google, Snapchat, and YouTube.

New video consumption apps are being released as well, in direct competition with Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube. Disney announced they are releasing a short-programming video streaming app to directly target young adults and teens.

Innovative formats are also adding to the diversity of digital video marketing. Group9’s science focused channel Seeker recently announced a partnership with the Science Channel to collaborate and produce content for their advertisers. A campaign they recently ran with Enterprise Rent-A-Car involved a 3 part digital video series run across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, & Twitter, a dedicated content hub on Seeker’s website, repackaged versions of the series run on the Science Channel and Discovery Channel, interactive video ads run across Discovery’s connected TV devices, and an experiential event happening later this summer.

Surprise — online video starts to look a lot more like TV

These new opportunities in video marketing are blossoming at the same time as the May 25th GDPR compliance deadline approaches. A new report from Forrester covered by MarTech Today notes that “Forrester expects that behavioral targeting will decline and there will be a return to the kind of advertising that buys audiences based on content, the way a marketer might buy ads on a TV series to reach that kind of viewer.”

There’s strong evidence that contextual targeting based on content is effective. In a study commissioned by Zefr, IPG’s Magna found that out of content, demographic, and channel targeting, content targeting outperformed. Ads that were delivered via content targeting were less likely to be skipped, had a 34% higher completion rate, and were found to be 33% less intrusive. There was just one caveat — the content had to be well-aligned with the brands’ overall messaging.

This means the evolution of digital media buying might start to look a lot like analog TV, where context and and content trumps.

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Platform changes and monetization trends

Credit: Google

Major platform changes come this week for publishers as Google News and Apple News begin to favor more video over written content. Both platforms are pushing streamlined high-quality news via video, so publications with more video will likely be rewarded.

A new digital media platform for Google News is set to be unveiled this week, which will combine the elements of YouTube and their digital magazine app Newsstand, to produce faster loading and more interactive news (powered by the Google AMP standard, of course).

In an effort to push more video content and compete with the traffic generated on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as a result of their focus on video marketing, Apple is now paying publications to unveil shows on Apple News first. This practice launched first with a new documentary series from Buzzfeed, which was released on Apple News a week prior to publication on other platforms.

Video changes for Twitter and Snapchat

Twitter announced that over 30 new entertainment, news, and sports shows will be debuted on the platform. This premium content will draw from a bevy of media companies (NBCU, Live Nation, Hearst, Viacom, etc) as well as influencer driven original scripted content series.

Snapchat announced that it is changing the licensing fee structure for Discover. In 2016, Snap had rolled out an upfront flat-fee licensing agreement for those who wanted to publish with Discover in lieu of ad share agreements with  advertisers. However, last week Snapchat announced it will revert to the more traditional ad share agreements. This is part of an effort to standardize the ad fee arrangements with brands and improve revenue.

Ongoing evolution in publisher monetization

Big news for Instagram: ecommerce on the platform is finally being tested with select brands. This comes over a year after they announced a booking and payments option to give businesses the ability to handle transactions on-platform.

Digiday reports that Vice has made a decision to purchase Villain, an events production company to augment it’s branded content offerings. Vice president Josh Cogswell said “Demand [from advertisers] for experiential offerings is very, very high, and we’re proud to have a reputation in the industry as a team that can activate unique and immersive expressions for brands interested in reaching young audiences”.  

Vice isn’t the only publication looking to experiential marketing to increase revenue. Tastemade is now testing the viability of brick-and-mortar cafes. “We’re certainly excited about the marketing value of the cafes, but also we do think it’s a potential exciting revenue line,” said CEO Larry Fitzgibbon.

Another publisher using non-digital revenue efforts to expand is New York Mag. They’re taking viral headlines and turning them into marketable clothing with its new brand, The Cut Shop — early bestsellers have a decidedly urbane New Yorker focus with headlines like “I Survived Union Pool” and “What Do Jared And Ivanka Do All Day?”

Meanwhile, The Local, a European digital publication, has developed a membership program (which will include forthcoming private Facebook groups) to give expats a sense of belonging, designed to increase both brand loyalty and revenue.

Surprising Stat of the Week

Start saving now: Bloomberg has announced that it will now have a subscription paywall at $35 per month, albeit with a 10 free articles per month limit.

What All These Changes Mean

We know we talk (1) about (2) this (3) a lot  — but there’s more evidence every week that publishers are quickly developing their own unique monetization mix that is much more independent of fickle algorithms and platform whims. This is good news in the long run for quality content creators, the content ecosystem, and the technology players helping drive more authentic engagement and value.

 Branded Content Benchmarks for May 2018

We’ve just released the monthly update to our Branded Content Benchmarks, which aggregates branded content performance from across our entire network. (Check it out if you haven’t yet.) This data reflects the performance in the first 30 days in a content item’s life after being published.

Continuing last month’s theme of breaking down benchmark data beyond the movement of a few top level metrics across categories, this month we thought we’d take a look at some device level benchmarks. As you might expect, performance changes quite significantly when a user is reading a content item on their phone, desktop, or tablet.

Average Engaged Time:

  • Desktop: 1:18
  • Mobile: 0:52
  • Tablet: 0:56

Average Scroll Depth:

  • Desktop: 58%
  • Mobile: 52%
  • Tablet: 57%

% of total Page Views:

  • Desktop: 36%
  • Mobile: 51%
  • Tablet: 13%

The fact that these benchmarks align prove that industry expectations around content consumption are largely correct. People view the most content from their phones, but spend the least time with that content. Desktop users tend to spend the most time with their content, but there are fewer readers than mobile. As you’re planning future campaigns, make sure you keep these metrics in mind so you can align your traffic mix with your campaign goals.

5 more browser tabs to open

  1. Oath is starting to leverage its email data assets and moves into shopper marketing
  2. Grey Goose goes digital for a celebrity-heavy branded content series starring Jamie Foxx
  3. Brand safety concerns are pushing more advertisers into new locations like family-friendly gaming
  4. The IAB’s Branded Content Committee (Disclosure: we’re both IAB members and contributing committee members) released a new Branded Content Creation and Distribution Guide
  5. Kylie Jenner’s Instagram posts are worth 1 million dollars each

Curated and published by Adam Orshan, Amber Brooks, and Matt Levin in New York City.

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