Despite huge technological advances in the buying, selling, and targeting of digital video ads in the past five years, most video marketing strategies seem to dwell in the digital dark ages of 1999. Brand advertising decisions are still based on basic delivery metrics like impressions and clicks -- even though these metrics are woefully inadequate when it comes to constructing an accurate picture of whether or not a video marketing campaign is actually working.
The result of relying on outmoded and limited metrics is dire. Marketers unknowingly waste billions of dollars each year on video ads that, in many cases, aren’t being seen by consumers. Needless to say, if a marketer pays for an ad impression that nobody sees, it’s impossible for that impression to materially move the ROI needle for their brand.
Two years ago, most video marketers were almost exclusively focused on click-through rates. Sure, video CTRs are higher than banner CTRs, but what does that prove in the context of brand marketing? Isn’t it possible that a large number of clicks are the result of consumers simply looking for a pause, close or mute button? Clicks are great for moving consumers down a direct-response funnel toward some kind of conversion, but most digital video ads are branded television creative running across connected devices -- not online call-to-action campaigns.
2013 was the year of the completion rate. This is a great foundational metric that allows marketers to know, at the very least, that their video assets are being played in a video player somewhere online. It’s a good start, but the completion rate on its own is simply not enough. Video is the king of brand marketing formats, so let’s start treating it that way.
Here are 10 metrics that every marketer should measure for every video campaign:
1. Reach. It’s essential for marketers to measure the total number of unique consumers exposed to their ad campaigns because this defines the audience that is being influenced to consume and share a brand. Reach is the foundation of scale.
2. Frequency. The number of times a consumer is exposed to an ad campaign has a huge impact on that consumer’s likelihood of processing and retaining a brand’s message. Different messages resonate with different consumers at different frequencies of repetition. This is not a one-size-fits-all metric. Greater frequency does not always equal greater effectiveness. In fact, excessive frequency can actually harm the way a brand is perceived.
3. Gross Rating Points (GRP). The GRP factors in reach and frequency to give context to a marketing campaign’s piece of its relevant media universe. The GRP quantifies the size of a brand’s slice of the overall audience-attention pie. It’s the TV marketer’s audience measurement metric of choice. 2014 will mark a new era when this decades-old metric becomes standardized as digital currency. A unified approach to audience measurement across all video channels is a key requirement for garnering both understanding and trust from traditional TV marketers.
4. Demographics. It’s critical for marketers to understand exactly who their marketing message is reaching. Age, gender and household income are solid foundational pieces of the demographic composition puzzle, but there’s always more to be discovered. Good marketers always push to understand what’s unique about their brand’s target audience. Any opportunity to measure or target a custom demographic segment should always be explored.
5. Time spent. Consumer attention is the single most valuable currency there is. Measuring the exact amount of time a consumer spends with an ad is the only way for marketers to truly understand exactly how much attention is focused on their brand message.
6. Completion rate. Every ad impression is an opportunity for a consumer to watch an entire video ad through to its end. It’s essential to measure the number of times video creative is consumed in its entirety.
7. Drop-off point. Let’s face it, every video ad impression does not result in a completion. Not even close. For those consumers who do not watch an entire video ad, knowing the exact point in the creative that lost their interest is essential. This is the drop-off point.
8. Brand lift. Nobody buys a bag of chips or a new car via the Internet. Clearly, video ads can psychologically influence these purchases offline. Savvy marketers understand that it’s critical to measure the true impact of their ads by constantly gauging the audience’s perception and retention of a branded message. Brand lift quantifies the influence that a video ad has on a consumer’s perspective about a brand and its message.
9. Optimal frequency. The intersection of brand lift and frequency tells a very powerful story. Not all brands or even video creative are equal. Optimal frequency tells the marketer exactly how many times a consumer needs to be exposed to a campaign, or a specific video creative, to achieve maximum brand lift.
10. Viewable CMP. While the viewable impression has not become currency yet, the writing is on the wall. Marketers know that paying for an ad impression that nobody sees is the very definition of wasted media budget. The vCPM is the true CPM. Dividing the budget spent by only viewable impressions is a powerful way for marketers to gauge the true cost of reaching real consumers.By always measuring these 10 metrics, video marketers can finally see the big picture as well as the detailed minutiae that allows them to make smart planning, buying and optimization decisions.