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AgencyUK- Video performance: a data-driven creative approach to video marketing

1st July 2022

A dive into video performance from AUK Head of Digital, Adam Connett & Art Director, Nix Boulton.

Video marketing is fundamentally the use of video content to promote and market products and services, increase social and digital engagements, and educate and reach target audiences. That’s a lot of potential uses, which is why video marketing is becoming ever prevalent with our clients and the brands of today. Audiences are also watching more online video content than ever before. This growing appetite in viewership and engagement has made it an ideal channel for performance marketing.

Something that has become crucial to the acceleration of video’s success within marketing is that now it is truly measurable like the other more established performance channels. Marketers and brands are now able to feel more assured by results like Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) offered by video, as we’re able to effectively see its influence on traffic, leads, sales and audience impact. Video is a tried and tested way of driving high performance ads and generating results across a variety of metrics.

What are we trying to do?

Performance-driven creative and creative-driven performance.

What? Well, traditionally campaigns have either been led around an innovative creative idea, but this idea, whilst it may be unique, or eye-catching, lacks value if it doesn’t lead to tangible actions or results. At the other end of the spectrum we see campaigns heavily led by KPIs, but lacking creativity. We believe in finding a sweet spot; we’ve proven that great things happen when you find a balance and believe that brands of today will need to shift their focus from one or the other and merge the two.

Rethinking the way we approach creative to be optimised for performance is not about being less creative or restricting big ideas, it’s about bringing data to the forefront and using that to inform our decisions and learnings. By re-prioritising the way we approach creative, with data-led insights upfront helps ideas reach the audience effectively, resonate emotionally with their needs and drive the desired outcome. By no means should data mean ‘do the same as everyone else’, it should give you the ground to understand what resonates and how to differentiate yourself in your market. Ultimately, performance-driven creative is focused on the end result, the desired action, therefore for the concept to work, it needs to deliver results.

Bringing this back to video, with an ever-changing landscape of video trends and platform capabilities, even on a daily basis, our creative intuition of how to capture attention best can be subjective, emotionally led and provide a narrow view. This is where data helps to steer our vision towards what is proven to be most effective, ensuring that ideas are backed by something more than instinct. As well as steering the idea, it’s also important to be aware of the best practices for each platform with a generic view and specifically for your audience – for example, are the majority of your audience watching on a mobile device or desktop, do they perform better with or without sound, what length is most effective? Each of these data points can inform how to optimise your video content.

Our approach to video marketing

When it comes to optimising channel-specific content, take this example from Mercedes Benz. This YouTube pre-roll concept has really embraced the requirements of this format and engaged the audience in a creative way that directly links to their specs. The ad creative makes clever use of quick video cuts and great sound design of a roaring engine to engage its viewers’ senses. This way, its audience can actually see and hear the intensity of reaching 60 MPH in only 3.8 seconds.

However, from our experience this also works on a much smaller scale, with more agile budgets. Take one of our consumer brands, independent, family-run company Cotswold RAW. We’ve been working with them since they started up and video was a new consideration for them – something we were keen to grow to differentiate them in the pet market and demonstrate their expertise, unique offering and quality of product. Working within a limited budget from a one day shoot, we managed to create two master ads (one consumer focused and one for their retailers) social cuts (for Facebook & Instagram) and cut downs for YouTube pre-roll ads – that’s a lot of content! When it came to results, we managed to get tails wagging. On a limited ad spend over a highlighted month period, this led to an incredible conversion rate of up to 46.6%. Off the success of this campaign, we are now currently in the production process for a new video series.

On the other side of our client roster, Cytel, the largest provider of statistical software and advanced analytics for clinical trial design and execution, looked to us to develop and support their new brand messaging. For this we took a multi-channel approach to video, we utilised LinkedIn to ensure we could reach their defined target audience within the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. We also created additional uplift in awareness by integrating YouTube into our approach, which allowed us to target specific relevant video content to generate the most effective levels of engagement and retention. This gave us a multilayered approach and therefore greater depth to our brand awareness results.

Finally, test and learn, test and learn. A huge part of the success of our campaigns relies heavily on optimisations and an integrated approach to reporting. Feeding back learnings to evolve existing campaigns as well as using them to inform new development of visuals and messaging is a huge part of creative performance. Testing and analysing efficiently is the best way to be effective.

Our approach

Historically video is (generally) approached by the industry as “part of a wider campaign” and often handed to a one-off production agency and director who haven’t been involved in the same brand journey and strategy as the creative agency.

Being fully integrated at AUK, our unique approach helps us to ensure video is ingrained at the heart of our brands journeys and considered as part of a wider marketing strategy, not just a singular campaign activation. We think beyond just making amazing content, we also consider how and where to use it for maximum impact and results.

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