Advertisers that are still judging the success of their online video campaigns solely on non-engagement metrics such as total views or impressions are like most of the people that they are attempting to market to: not paying attention. The Web has shifted over the past few years from a network of sites to a network of people, and the old measurement models must change.
Through the power of personal news feeds, people increasingly expect good content to find them. And as loyalty shifts away from specific websites or media channels and to our online social connections, advertisers have to shift their focus from just buying inventory on popular sites, to producing content that will be shared and that will create connections between people.
In a future that hinges on turning paid media into this type of earned media, "sharing" has become the new Holy Grail for advertisers. Studies show that when a brand video is shared, viewers will spend up to 3x more time watching it. This means that advertisers can expect measurable increases in attention and brand impact if they can reach their audience's audience.
Today, most online video strategies start with thoughtful and high-quality production -- as is appropriate. The power of emotional storytelling will always be a necessary vehicle on the path towards sharing.
But smart production is only the first step. Success for brand videos can no longer be defined solely by sheer number of views -- which is why advertisers are coming up with new ways to measure social impact that are just as unique and creative as the video content itself.
As content-centric advertising continues to transition from experimental to a standard piece of marketing budgets and strategy, media teams and marketers are using new video ad metrics to help better measure and optimize for shared engagement, including:
· Paid views vs. shared views: advertisers are starting to make a distinction between video views that come from smart media and advertising strategies, and those that result from videos being shared. Both are important. The goal should be to find the sites, videos, audiences, or media partners that most efficiently turn paid media into shared views.
· Sharethrough rate: the rate at which video content is being shared. Click-through rate is to search advertising as sharethrough rate is to social advertising. The goal is to find the places or people most likely to share so that you can maximize the sharethrough rate.
· eCPV: tracking earned views along with paid media to calculate true Cost Per View. The goal should be to give credit to paid media plans that effectively amplify those media spends through shared engagement.
Incorporating social metrics into a video distribution strategy has a number of different benefits. The first is audience insight. Understanding the demographics of audiences that choose to share a brand's video content allows advertisers to understand who is truly embracing their content online and whether they need to shift their demographic focus or ad content strategy. Conversely, knowing who is not sharing your content is a valuable and empowering piece of information. Another is campaign optimization. Tracking social video activity in real-time during a campaign enables advertisers to make adjustments to distribution strategies on the fly and therefore capitalize on the opportunity to drive engagement and sharing.
Social video advertising is maturing into a predictable, transparent and scalable industry, where brands can confidently drive views and sharing of their videos and repeatedly reap the rewards of social media's network effects.
"Going viral" for an advertiser now translates to creating entertaining and authentic content, combining it with a technology-driven distribution strategy that targets relevant social audiences, and measuring social impact, engagement and sharing from beginning to end.