After a difficult end to Q1, 2020’s second quarter is projected to be even tougher. Goldman Sachs forecasts a 34 percent contraction to U.S. gross domestic product.
That said, opportunities still exist in the evolving economy, especially for e-commerce. The key to tackling these challenges is to become even more customer-focused. Think about their new needs and use cases, and consider where they are — online. Consumers are spending more time on social networks; video consumption continues to increase.
Even with more conservative spending habits, e-commerce spending is expected to skyrocket with people staying home. And video marketing for these companies can still be cost-effective if done correctly.
In conditions like these, performance video is a smart approach. Social media video advertising gets attention, and performance analytics make sure marketers see a solid return on their investment.
What Is Performance Video?
Like other performance marketing categories, performance video pairs traditional growth tactics with modern analytics. Video company TubeScience defines these ads as “user-centric videos designed to engage a diverse set of personas.”
Let’s look at that definition in two parts, starting with diverse personas. Marketers can customize performance videos using demographic settings like geography, age, and household income. That’s a clear advantage over mass media tactics, like television and print ads.
The most popular type of digital ads, programmatic display ads, can be aimed at specific audiences. But performance videos go a step further: They’re cast with actors and actresses who reflect and engage their audiences. To connect, ads need to feature people who look and sound like their viewers.
What about user-centricity? Performance videos, done well, focus on particular problems, challenges, or use cases that different groups of the audience have. This shows the value of the product or service through the customer’s selling points, not the brand’s. Performance videos also pop up on social media according to algorithms that match a user’s past behaviors.
Most digital ads aren’t as sophisticated as performance videos. Some allow retargeting, but that won’t allow as much growth as more engaging, prospecting content. There is one thing performance videos have in common with other marketing tactics, though: A little strategic optimization goes a long way.
Getting More from Performance Video Marketing
Performance videos are customizable. That makes them powerful, but it also puts the burden on marketers to craft them well.
To help your performance video ads connect, be sure to:
1. Make them mobile-friendly.
Most social media users access these sites on their phone, either some or all of the time. If a performance video ad doesn’t display properly, can’t be read, or doesn’t make sense with the sound off, it won’t be a hit.
When Betabrand, a women’s apparel brand, developed performance videos for Facebook, it made a few key moves to make sure its ads displayed well on mobile devices.
Using overlaid text, Betabrand’s ads got the message across, even on mute. Because mobile viewers are often on the move, it used strong upfront branding to frontload the content. Together, the tweaks led to a 2.9-fold incremental return on ad spend.
2. Plan for action.
The “performance” part of performance video requires marketers to think through the action they want the user to take after watching the clip. Is it signing up for an email campaign? Purchasing a certain product? Merely clicking through to the website?
On YouTube, travel company Kayak put together performance ads that invite users to “search now.” Because every user’s dream destination is somewhere different, Kayak knew it wouldn’t succeed by asking viewers to book a certain trip.
Despite showing different locations and types of travelers, each Kayak ad ends with the same call to action. That combination of customized content and consistent messaging helped the booking platform cut its cost per incremental travel inquiry by 80 percent.
3. Tweak ads efficiently.
One of the advantages of performance video is that it doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel with each ad. Look for ways to save money on production while reaching a wide range of different consumers.
For a recent campaign, Clinique built a series of ads based on successful print ads. The ads were designed as YouTube bumpers, so they’re short and sweet, at just six seconds each.
Each of Clinique’s ads shows a pair of lips and a stick of lip balm. The ads mix and match women of different skin colors, ages, and cosmetics choices. Those tweaks helped Clinique reach a diverse audience of women. What they didn’t do was force a re-shoot for every ad variant. More than you might think can be accomplished in editing and post-production.
The economy is constantly changing, but you can still make every marketing dollar count and focus on growth. Be sure to meet consumers where they are — at home, on their computers, streaming video and scrolling through social media — with performance video.
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