We were fortunate enough to create and produce the first ever video uploaded to the channel. The concept of the video is a prank on a local Toronto recreational league hockey team that makes it appear as though the change room was flooded and the players’ clothing was ruined. The players are then directed to the bar staff and upon their arrival see a surprise visit from Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
The video which was posted to the brand’s Facebook page yesterday is also complimenting a Mike’s Hard Lemonade Facebook contest called “Win Your Team’s Registration Fees” in which a team is able to win up to $5000 for the 2014/15 season (http://ow.ly/k4LJ8). The YouTube video is running overlay ads promoting the contest with a click through link back to Mike’s Hard Facebook page.
It’s been a good year for digital marketing, from having a record setting month of March for online video to the increased use of QR codes and mobile marketing. The future is bright in our fast paced industry!
With 2013 just around the corner, it’s worth predicting opportunities and challenges ahead. Here’s what we think will dominate the digital marketing sphere in 2013:
As video continues to grow in online ad spending and production, advertisers are beginning to seek out more for their dollar. The demand is shifting away from total number of video views, to different level of engagement and brands want to know that their video is actually impacting viewers. This can refer to watching an ad, starting the ad, clicking on the ad, finishing the ad within three distinct genres of online video ads: in-stream video ads (like pre-roll or post-roll), in-banner video ads, and branded video content.
Overall engagement levels are on the rise, as brands figure out the best distribution methods and locations for their material. As an example, recently Longo’s market has opened up a new location in Leaside. The grocery store chain approached VMG with wanting to not only create a video series to showcase the new store but to also encourage people from the area to visit the location and increase awareness. VMG came up with a series of 3 videos and a targeted acquisition campaign. Each of the videos is targeting viewers who live within a 7km radius of the store. Once the ad is seen, a clickable ad-overlay is displayed at the bottom of the video saying “Longo’s Gift Card Draw” where users are encouraged to click on the ad. Once clicked, users are directed to Longo’s Facebook page where they can enter the contest and/or redeem a coupon for the Leaside location.
The average click through rate of an ad is 0.05%; however, this campaign has experienced a 10% click through with over 5 500 views, making the video an engagement success.
Increase in native advertising:
As we discussed in an earlier blog, native advertising refers to brand content such as videos, photos and articles that are mixed in directly into the content of a website. Although “interruptive ads” are not going anywhere just yet, 2013 is bound to show an increase of sponsored stories and promoted integrated content for a customized user experience.
Advanced social media metrics:
When social media was first adopted, success was measured as volume of friends, followers, and ‘Likes’ but gear up for more in 2013. Companies will want more detailed metrics and analytics as they no longer feel satisfied with simple statistics and with the current software available, it will be easy to provide deep analytics and tracking. On top of advanced software, this should also open up room for human analysis of the information for successful campaigns.
Further Integration of Traditional and Digital:
We began seeing this shift in early 2011 with brands morphing campaigns for traditional and digital spheres. Take one of the many examples - the Gillette Library of styles How To Series that we at VMG produced. This series complimented a TV ad campaign that featured Andre 3000, Adrian Brody and Gael Garcia Bernal, presenting a successful case study. Similarly, it is not only companies who are blending the two realms. Events such as “Social Media Day” where people who have conversed with each other online come together for networking and in person interactions are becoming more popular.
Dramatic shift of smartphone and tablet users
With predictions such as by having more smartphones on the planet than humans by the end of 2012, this year will mark another year of increased smartphone and tablet adoption, as well as increased viewership of online videos. It is also said that smartphones are also predicted to account for around 90% of all mobile phones by 2013 and almost a quarter of internet users will own tablets by end of 2012. The concept of “social, local, mobile” (SoLoMo) has come true in how consumers want content. Things such as location based marketing, combined with innovations such as Google Wallet will transform the way consumers buy while improving campaigns visibility and response rates.
Increase of online video consumptions and potential decrease in email
It is predicted that as the Facebook generation and Gen Y start to enter the workforce, the use of traditional communication tools such as e-mail will reduce. The use of e-mail declined last year for every age group but 55-64 and 65+. It is also said that video as a communication tool will become dominant and will be supported by social networks. Similarly, mobile networks will handle video calls.
However, the most important prediction to note is one that is forecasted to take place in a couple of years: Cisco states that 85% of all internet traffic in 2015 will be video.
The (Further) Empowered Consumer
Today’s consumers are empowered more than ever before. They seek and accept advice from peers, family, friends and even strangers while bringing attitudes and expectations, ultimately to decide who has earned their trust. With the increase of social networks and more brands jumping on the social channels to interact with consumers and gain trust, expect to see an improvement in consumer experiences. Consumers want transparency and if they don’t receive it, they will not only move on to a competitor but also spread the word. Businesses must develop trusted relationships to win over empowered consumers if they want to succeed. If a brand can listen, learn, anticipate, adapt, and execute, they will earn the consumer’s trust.
The growth, cost effectiveness and adoption of social media is something that cannot be ignored. This is a fast paced and ever changing industry and it’s those companies who embrace these changes that will succeed as they respond to where their customers are by providing them with content, investing more into the consumer and improving the customized experience.
Congratulations to our very own Reid Campbell who was named one of Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 under 30 yesterday! Last night was the 1st annual event recognizing and celebrating all of the winners. The top 30 were gathered together for the first time in the same room, at the CityLine Studios, which stimulated a very engaging, high powered social night.
“It was an extremely energizing and exciting night. What an incredible experience to be among the ranks of all of these talented and successful individuals.” says Reid as he spoke of last night’s event.
One of the biggest industry discussions has been around native vs interruptive advertising and which approach is more effective.
When a brand starts developing a campaign, which should get the larger chunk of the budget? What will influence a purchasing decision better? What will get the message out more effectively?
Let’s start out with the basics: the definitions.
Native Advertising (also known as “integrated advertising”):
Native ads place brand content such as videos, photos and articles directly into the content of the publisher’s website, matching it up with the website instead of fitting ads into boxes separated from and around the content. Some of the examples include but are not limited to: Facebook Sponsored Stories; Twitter’s Promoted Tweets; promoted videos on YouTube; promoted articles like TrendHunter Sponsored Posts and BuzzFeed’s Featured Partner content; Yelp Sponsored Listings and promoted playlists on Spotify. Interruptive Advertising:
In a nutshell, a more traditional approach of ad placement through which the ad is separated more obviously from the website content. Examples include but are not limited to: Pre-roll and mid-roll video ads, video banners, boxes, buttons, pop-ups, as well as traditional TV and print commercials.
Is this the end of Interruptive Advertising?
Bloggers and social media critics have been quick to praise the shift towards native advertising while looking down on interruptive ads but we’re not so fast to follow. Although the general trend is leaning towards native advertising, interruptive ads are not going anywhere just yet.
Without a doubt in this day and age, aggressively pursuing consumers’ attention can be perceived as an invasion and cause annoyance as well as repulsion to the brand. If you don’t get the social sphere, your brand will be frowned upon by the digital savvy and smart consumers of today. It is true that people generally respond much better in a natural setting. You could argue that the most effective advertising has always been native to the environment. For example, on the radio, a native ad can be considered a live DJ recommendation or other earned media in traditional forums. From just a pure user interaction, this adds more to the experience rather than the interruption. Speaking from experience, the best click through rate is received from Facebook ads that target friends of friends and note the recommendation of their peers rather than direct brand advertising.
Leading the path with native advertising is video. Video is the most promising asset for scalable native advertising. Brands and agencies are doubling down on video production, beyond traditional 15-30 second ads. The commitment of branded content production and native video advertising pours yet more fuel on the fire in whichever direction you look.
Whether you like to admit it or not, interruptive marketing practices have been recognized as beneficial for advertisers with ads increasing consumers’ brand recall, recognition, and awareness. It also appears as though people are still responsive to the interruptive ads such as prerolls. For example, findings by a researcher Daisley actually contrast an earlier case study of YouTube ads from February 2011 (that states 70% of users skip the ads prior the video). In this study, the advertiser was the sportsbrand ‘GoPro’ who served a series of ads of 30, 90 and 120 seconds to showcase their sports cameras. They reported that only 35% of users chose to skip their pre-roll ads, certainly a lot lower than the 70% being claimed by Youtube as the user average.
By this point, people are more used to this form of advertising and are comfortable with the fact that they can access good content from brands by choosing to watch the ads. Previously, the skipping option was also a novelty to users because this was not previously a regular offering and the clicking could be purely to see the effect, rather than it being a reflection of disinterest in the brand. Furthermore, there are studies stating that interruptive ads have an impact on the consumers’ actual purchase behavior – and in particular on their willingness to pay for the advertised product depending on the control he or she have upon it (eg. Being presented an option to skip a preroll will appear the ad less repulsive and the user will be more likely to engage).
When do you draw the line with native advertising?
Native advertising can also appear too intrusive to the consumer when lines are crossed. When market researchers are literally wiring consumers up and tracking where their eyeballs go, the searches and the conversations, it may be tough to balance. Consumers are more used to intrusive advertising but when native ads blend in a little too well, it makes them uncomfortable:
Most consumers also say they don’t think advertisers should be allowed to target ads based on browsing behavior — 67% of those polled in a December 2010 USA Today/Gallup poll.
There is still a huge sentiment against online behaviour advertising with the words “tracking” not being very well received. Although interruptive advertising still targets consumers based on the available data, it follows an approach that consumers are more used to rather than blending in fully. When does it become too much? How well can you blend in an ad before all trust is lost?
There is no easy answer but basically, it all comes down to content. You need to be a great story teller and have a great story to tell whether through a sponsored Facebook post or a preroll video on YouTube.
Digital has made it easier to reach the right consumers and consumers respond much better to relevant advertising. You just need to be consistent with it.
Brand building is defined as “building the perceptions of your target audience.” Consistency and repetition are a sure way to create a focused brand image and ingrain your message into the minds of those you are trying to reach. This means sending out this message throughout various channels: native and interruptive, traditional and nontraditional.
Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. is a family owned business started by Tommy, Joe and Gus Longo in 1956. Today, they are a leading grocery chain with several stores in greater Toronto and a distinct emphasis on quality and freshness. During the summer season, 75% of the stores’ produce is local product.
A Toronto video marketing agency, VMG Cinematic has been behind the Longo’s video series – Longo’s Taste Ontario – that spotlights the Canadian grocery chain’s focus on freshness and using local resources. The latest video was released last week promoting the in-season, local sourced strawberries from Simcoe, Ontario.
The video takes place at Strawberry Tyme Farms featuring John Cooper, a third generation strawberry farmer and Tim Gibson, Longo’s produce manager.
“There’s really three reasons to support local Ontario strawberries; it’s good for the local community, local produce is fresh healthy and it’s good for you, and people are demanding it,” states John Cooper in confidence.
“The goal with ‘Longo’s Taste Ontario’ was to share with their consumer what the grocery chain has been doing since the very beginning,” explains Reid Campbell, account director at VMG Cinematic.
“With people caring more about where their food comes from and the road it takes before it gets to their plate, this was a great opportunity to showcase their operations – and what better what to do this than through video?”
The video resides on Longo’s web homepage as well as their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube channel that has currently over 14, 500 views. The series also loops in the digital in store displays in all of Longo’s locations.
Earlier in May, the YouTube video chart was released:
Since December, views on YouTube have dropped 28%, and March views are only slightly above what they were a year ago.
However, this trend is an intended shift by the Google-owned channel.
After a $100 million investment in content channels, the focus has shifted from a video search engine filled with “snack size content” like skateboarding dogs and LOLcats to enticing, full fledged, engaging videos.
And this also not by fluke is more appealing to advertisers.
Cristos Goodrow, YouTube’s director of engineering, specified that the goal is for users to watch more and click less. Over the years, YouTube has gathered data about which videos were getting views, to serve up recommendations and get users to click on another video. The site would track the length of views up to 30 seconds, primarily to make sure each click led to an actual view. Now it’s tracking across longer timeframes to see if viewers watched two or three minutes of content.
It appears to be working. While views have dropped of late, the amount of minutes users spend watching YouTube has grown over the past year by 57% to more than 61 billion minutes in March 2012, according to ComScore. The average length of a video view has grown a full minute to four minutes in the past year. The consumer is ready for longer content.
So what’s the motive?
Well, like any organization, YouTube has a business to run and there’s corporate motive at play. Longer viewing means more opportunity to show viewers ads, either through strings of videos that play automatically with ads in between or longer videos with TV-like breaks. And engaged viewers are also thought to be in a more receptive mind-set for brand advertising.
This move also helps take YouTube videos outside the desktop computer. YouTube is in the process of trying to get its channel guide standardized on all apps and devices that carry YouTube, such as tablets, smart TVs and set-tops such as TiVo. It is also available as an app on 350 million non-PC devices, including iPhones, Xboxes and Samsung smart TVs.
To put it simply, YouTube has invested in restructuring its video measurement metrics to help advertisers connect with the right consumers. Those consumers who are more willing to spend watching a 15 minute engaging video rather than a 30 second viral clip. It’s much more effective when the right eyes in the right frame of mind land on your video rather than by a “clicking accident”. Targeted views and engagement are everything.
It’s not just about a single video but rather your channel and engagement strategy as a whole. The goal is to drive engagement and connecting viewers with the best content by starting out with targeted views and continuing with targeted engagement.
A recent scroll through our video library brought to light a notable trend spawned by an underexploited market. It’s an all-too-often overlooked market right here in our very own country.
According to the *IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada) in 2010 out of the $2.23 billion in online advertising revenue (2011 stats were estimated at $2.6 billion), approximately $428 million or 19% were from French websites (2011 stats were estimated at $500 million, 17% increase) with a predicted continued steady growth for 2012. The article also goes on to state that 2010 was the year that online ad revenue officially beat out newspaper ad revenue, therefore bumped up to place second and looking to be number one in the coming years. So basically, if you aren’t creating marketing content for online use yet, that’s your first problem. However, if you are…start transcribing! These stats give an idea into how large of a market French-Canada really is when considering online advertising revenue. The chart below sourced from IAB, shows the French proportion of ad revenue in display advertising vehicles (ie. Banners etc.)
French Canada, mostly of course located in Quebec are some of the top rated Internet users and growing each year. What does this mean? There’s a huge market, not being spoken to in their own language! How can this be? As companies and brands begin to merge their marketing efforts online and get more comfortable using this as an ongoing platform its not that shocking that areas become overlooked or forgotten altogether. A critical mistake being made by many companies and brands worldwide is forgetting to translate their videos and other online content. If I haven’t convinced you yet, here are some more Quebec stats that might get you to say “sacré bleu”.
• 43% of Quebecers have a Facebook account;
• Of those, 49% access it at least once every day;
• Only 3% of Quebecers have a Twitter account, but this number is expected to significantly increase in the next few years;
• 15% of Quebecers follow a company on Facebook and 6% on Twitter. **source: http://www.adeointernetmarketing.com/news/social-media,-a-growing-movement-in-quebec-59.aspx
Just a few examples pulled from our own library of companies tapping into French-Canada and beyond.
I have been hanging out with a lot of kids lately. It’s my age, it seems. The tables have turned and there are no longer get-togethers with friends and family in which small offspring are not involved. I have been watching them, in their new lives, as my parents and their parents before must have also, with fascination. Marveling at how different the realities of their childhood will be from my own. A case in point, my parents didn’t own a computer until my later years of elementary school and Duck Hunt was the biggest, most technologically advanced thing to happen in my living room!
Children of the current generation are already on Facebook just days, sometimes minutes (serious social media dedication on their parents’ part) after birth. They comb through playlists searching episodes of Dora the Explorer from their strollers in the grocery store. They sit tucked in bed curled up with an iPad alphabet game instead of a book. This is reality and, understandably, new parents are wondering: is this ok?
In chatting with friends and in researching more scholarly debates, schools of thought on the subject of social media and kids are as varying as Twitter handles. Some believe that children should be shielded from social media, and media overall, for as long as possible. They argue that social networks fail to really educate kids about the real world, substituting video games for books, cyber chats for community or human interaction and promoting mindless consumerism over serious learning.
Others feel that media-savvy kids are genuinely unavoidable and necessary. They feel that it is a modern parent’s responsibility to allow their children to be on social networks, because children should learn about the world and technology – and media and the worldwide web are highly effective and realistic ways of doing so.
Of course in any debate there are many sides. I do appreciate them all and not being a parent myself, I have yet to come to any truly definitive social media child rearing intentions. However, having invested a career in marketing and social media communication, I appreciate and recognize the fact that it is only going to play more of a role, not less, in the future of our society. This being the case, perhaps efforts to keep children from it might be fruitless?
I was most surprised by the concerns about “reality” (and social media’s detachment from it) that came up in some of the perspectives I uncovered on this topic. I recognize that video games and TV are not reality, and that children should be taught the difference. But online social interactions with other individuals, be they Facebook comments, YouTube responses, or general emails, are very much real. Rather than shy away from social media, for fear of it not being a meaningful interaction, shouldn’t children be encouraged to recognize that what they put out into cyberspace is in fact received by other people in the real world? Most importantly, they should be taught that there can be both positive and negative repercussions when interacting via online forms of communication, which can mirror those of speaking face to face.
Like any other lessons in life, the next generation will need to be taught the values and risks of social interaction online. How to be safe. How to communicate, yet at the same time harbor discretion for personal protection and privacy. How to embrace it, as an enjoyable and positive element of their social development, a forum for creativity and expression. Most importantly, we should help our children understand that they can all hurt, anger, influence and inspire with the messages they send and persona they project online.
At times kids can surprise us, in their ability to digest information and entertainment with an exceptional level of candid maturity. They have the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy, right from wrong. This is made evident through one of my subscribed YouTube shows, “Kids React to Online Videos”. Their responses are not only hilarious, but also showcase how easily they recognize non-sensical entertainment for just what it is.
Undoubtably there are media dangers: teens posting unmonitored material, lost cognitive skills through video game comas, and it is true that these are unique to our generation as parents. However, risks in child rearing are not new. My grandmother, in the mid-fifties, used to let her children out for the day into the once suburban woodlands of Mississauga and just hoped that they would show up for dinner. That must have been a bit concerning too!
In summary, a child can be safeguarded for only so long. After all, documentation of their formative years no longer live in dusty basement albums, but rather on their parents’ Macs or, more likely, Mum or Dad or even Grandma’s social media page. What hope do they really have of avoidance? So for now, I aspire to offer my future children opportunity, confidence and wisdom in all aspects of their life. With some diligence, if such principals are applied to a strong and dedicated Social Media upbringing, perhaps my kids might just blog and tweet for the better!
Microsoft posted a new video recently that perhaps all advertisers could learn a lesson from, which is, to learn from others’ mistakes.
This video was unfortunately released publicly on their YouTube channel and served to the lions of the online world to rip apart. I think it was their intention to present this as an advertising platform for agencies and media buyers, however, they may have overlooked the very important opinionated end user, especially when it comes to the very in-your-face advertising that is displayed here.
The take away point here is to understand the importance of creating a positive and unobtrusive online branding presence. Similar to what was talked about in the previous post, viewers want to be entertained, engaged in someway without really knowing they are being advertised to and if that’s not the case, well, at least offer some kind of incentive! We love free stuff! And we will click on anything to get it…most of the time.
Not to be too harsh on Microsoft Advertising, because I can see where they were going with this, trying to intertwine advertising on XBox with the user and their personal social media pages, however, I have to agree with this comment made by one of the video viewers: “Oh man… I thought interactive ads meant cooler things. Like instead of there being an actor, kinect could place me into? the ad (or something less fancy).”
That said I think there is a little more work to be done with this platform before its release, unless of course the initiative has totally been canned after the hugely negative response. Come on Microsoft, you can do better than that!
Was that real or fake? It’s this type of question invoked by millions of YouTube video viewers that leads a brand to viral video heaven.
Remember when Roger Federer knocked that can off a crewmembers’ head in what they claimed was a trick shot.
Or more recently the Microsoft video of the longest waterslide.
These types of videos aren’t just watched once or partially watched and passed over for the next video link or news story. Viewers are watching repeatedly, tweeting it, posting it, sharing it, and creating an organic buzz as a result of the skepticism surrounding it. Proving the “social” in social media, people are asking, “How’d they do that?” “Is it real?” and “How could they fake that?” Everyone is going online clicking the video up for dispute, playing and pausing and trying to solve the mystery. The online community without any coercion will circulate the video and come together creating CSI-like discussions. Thousands will comment, reply, like and dislike building a brand’s real/fake video into something equivalent to a highly publicized celebrity scandal. In the end, viewers will amplify the “Is it real?” video to rack up millions of hits to a (what seems to be) scantily placed YouTube video.
Some brands do this very well and some well, they might be making it a little too obvious like this one just done by Pepsi where David Beckham nonchalantly kicks not one but three soccer balls into trash cans in the far away distance.
However, that said it didn’t stop this “Is it real?” genre video from going into viral bliss as it approaches the 4 million views mark. What really makes this genre of video almost always a home-run for brands is its playful nature. Yes, they are messing with the viewer, but they are also entertaining them and usually using a celebrity to do so, and in return receive a highly positive response from viewers/customers who enjoy the challenge of putting their inquisitive skills to the test.