Commentary

What's The Best Time Of Year To Release Video Campaigns?

Many factors influence the decision of when to release a new online video ad campaign and the type of media schedule to use when promoting it.  A brand’s goals, budget, industry, competitors, and the current state of the online video environment should all influence the strategy.

Here are some tips on scheduling campaigns:

In a seasonal industry, underdogs can break through the noise by flighting during a quiet time. Any brand trying to capture consumer attention during the holiday season, the most crowded with advertising, is in for a challenge. For the past three years, November and December have had the biggest online branded video viewership compared to the rest of the year.

While it’s important to keep up with the competition, competing for share of attention during seasonal surges isn’t going to be possible for every brand. Campaigns can get overshadowed by huge campaigns from big brands if a smaller brand doesn’t have the budget to keep up. However, promoting campaigns during the quieter times of the year can give a brand more bang for their buck and help them break through the noise.

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For example, BarkBox, an online subscription box retailer of pet products, released a campaign this past March, a quieter time for online video, following the busy holiday season and the Super Bowl, when the competition is light.

This perfectly timed release date helped BarkBox’s heartwarming campaign “Dog’s Best Day” capture a ton of attention. The campaign garnered more than half a million social interactions, and had achieved 20 million views by one month after its release, which put the campaign at the top of the pack in March. Additionally, in the first month after it was released, BarkBox had the 12th biggest online branded video campaign at the time, keeping up with huge brands including Walmart, Samsung, and Apple.

Stand out from year-round advertisers with a big surge. In industries that don’t experience a lot of seasonal changes, brands tend to advertise consistently to stay top-of-mind for customers year-round. For example, in the fast-food industry, brands advertise steadily throughout the year as they fight for consumer attention to keep up with the competition.

This can make it difficult for any one brand to stand out. Spreading a budget out across the year to stay in front of customers will help a brand stay competitive, but that isn’t a luxury that all brands have. If brands don’t have the budget for year-round advertising, having a surge in views around a new campaign can help surpass the competition and capture attention for a period of time.

Keeping an eye on competitive campaigns is key for this approach. For example, the fast-food industry had an average total daily of about 2.5 million views in 2015. While views remain relatively level throughout the year, a campaign that surges above that baseline can put a brand ahead of the competition. KFC’s “The Colonel” campaign launched in May 2015 and surged millions of views during the week it launched.

Beyond industry viewership, additional factors should be considered when planning a campaign. While most brands keep an event like the Super Bowl in mind when planning media, smaller events and holidays such as Earth Day, April Fool’s, and International Women’s Day can impact viewership as well as the subject matter and tone of the content that is being released. A campaign can easily be overshadowed by promotion around these events, and content that conflicts with the tone or purpose of these events can lead to negative brand attention.

When it comes to branded video advertising, timing is everything. A campaign might have the most interesting content in the market at the time, but it’s useless to a brand if it gets lost in the rest of the industry noise.

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