Video Targeting Tips

In a recent article, Dan Rayburn concluded that targeting (or the lack thereof, to be precise) is hindering the success of online video advertising . As an industry stakeholder, I was both surprised and concerned by this perception. The targeting capabilities of online video ads are what give the medium so much potential. I know it gets referenced a lot, but I thought this would be a good forum to explore the targeting capabilities by providing some suggestions on how some top verticals can maximize their online video advertising campaigns with available targeting capabilities.


I honestly can't think of a category in more need of eliminating wasteful advertising, while continuing to reach highly qualified prospective buyers in certain geographic regions. A shotgun approach is unnecessary online as not everyone is in the market for a car. Automotive advertisers should consider leveraging their existing search campaigns and web site traffic to retarget already identified prospective buyers with high impact video ads. Further, automotive marketers should leverage behavioral data to target those looking for specific makes and models. It may not save the auto industry from its current ills, but it could have a big impact on its ability to sell more cars at a lower marketing cost.

Targeting used: Retargeting, behavioral targeting, and geotargeting.

Casual Dining
With the future of the economy still unclear, casual dining establishments such as T.G.I. Friday's, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesdays, etc. have lost customers to lower-priced, fast-food alternatives. More consumers are also cooking and eating meals at home to save money. Casual dining establishments should run special video promotions, targeted on the weekends when consumers are still spending.

They should also consider marketing to areas where consumers are less than five to 10 miles from a restaurant location. And, these video ads should offer an online coupon not only as a call-to-action, but to allow them to measure the effectiveness of the ads.

Targeting used: Demographic (age, gender), day-of-week, and geotargeting.

Food Companies
Saturdays and Sundays are still the most trafficked food shopping days. Large food companies like Kraft, Tyson, and General Mills should pump out online video advertising right before and during the weekend to reinforce strong brands and introduce new items. To reach the working parent, companies like Pizza Hut and Dominos have used the key 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. timeframe to influence this demographic to just "order in" with strong results. Those companies can get even stronger results by targeting their online video in the same way.
Targeting used: Demographic (age, gender), day-of-week, daypart.

Quick-Serve Restaurants
For the quick-serve market, Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks are great examples for dayparting. We can count on hunger and caffeine pangs in the morning. Both companies could save some coin by working with a video ad network and doing a run of network ad buy from the hours of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the weekday. Ads can be adjusted geographically to reach consumers who are in proximity to store locations.
Targeting used: Day-of-week, daypart, geo-targeting, run of network (when ad buy is done through an ad network).

Regional Airlines
There's no sense in an airline like Jet Blue or Spirit Air spending $450K on a spot on the television show "Lost," or trying to string together a complicated schedule of regional TV spots when they can air the same TV commercials only in the cities that the airline serves. Better yet, most airlines can combine regional targeting with day of week targeting to fill las- minute seats on particular routes or promote high margin international flights in competitive markets.

Airlines should also invest heavily in retargeting to maintain a continuous dialogue with previous site visitors by delivering tailored video ads. My wife wondered why she saw so many Hawaiian Airlines ads for an entire month after searching for tickets to Hawaii on a number of travel sites. Guess where we're going in January?

Targeting used: Retargeting, behavioral targeting, day-of-week, and geotargeting.

Luxury Goods
How would Jaguar or Gucci like to advertise to cities, towns and municipalities whose household income is $150,000+? Pre-rolls can be targeted by using existing census data, as direct mail did so effectively. These companies can target affluent consumers in a range of cities and municipalities, like Coronado, Calf. whose average household income is over $435K to a more moderate $262K household income found in Manhasset, NY. A longer buying cycle generally exists with higher priced goods, so so use a scalable video ad network that offers retargeting and behavioral targeting to make sure ads are routinely served to interested consumers.

Targeting used: Demographic (income-level), geotargeting, retargeting and behavioral targeting.

The 2008-09 NBA season has seen a drop in ticket sales, primarily due to a decline in renewable ticket sales. Teams like the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and the L.A. Lakers remain solid. But, other cities are fighting a number of variables, like the economy, that are leaving sales flat. The New Jersey Nets is a prime example of a club that needs help filling seats. The franchise has the third worst attendance rate. The venue is outside of the city and fans are leery of investing time and money because the team may be leaving. The Nets should get out pre-rolls with specials the week leading up to the event, targeted specifically to the geographic area. They can directly target sports enthusiasts by content category -- NBA clips, highlights, college basketball, etc. When big-name teams come to town the ads should showcase that team and the player(s) that draws crowds. To further boost sales they can offer discounted family fun pack deals.
Targeting used: Content category, web site, geotargeting.

A number of the examples I list require a component of what is known as recency -- reach and frequency are not the gold mine, but how the ad works in a mature market. The concept is not new to media buyers, but for online video advertising, planning can be done around data mined from initial campaigns. Optimization makes it possible to change up a campaigns focus based on performance. Consider how much Olive Garden or the Nets could learn from finding patterns in click-throughs for their weekend or game day promotions. They can even retarget the converters.

I don't pretend to be a marketing expert in any of the above. However the targeting capabilities for online video advertising are rich and it is important that they are understood. Seeing my fair share of RFPs, I can tell you that they are not fully understood just yet, but the industry is getting there.

3 comments about "Video Targeting Tips ".
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  1. Dan Rayburn from, December 2, 2008 at 8:15 p.m.

    Hi Michael, thanks for the link to the post. What I wanted to add was that you say the lack of targeted advertising is a "perception" on my part, but that incorrect.

    The vast majority of websites I visit are not doing any targeting at all with their online video ads. MSNBC gives me women's razor commercials. CNN gives me ads for products that only someone over 50 would be interested in. ESPN gives me ads for golf products and I hate golf. gives me ads for Ameritrade, yet I have never traded a single share of stock ever. And many times I will get ads for products being advertised in brick and mortar stores, yet none of those stores are local to me or even within a hundred miles of me.

    You'd think they could at least do targeting based on an IP lookup and deliver me an ad for something relevant based on geographic location. I don't see much of this taking place at all. If the online video industry is going to truly grow, like it needs to, targeting must be figured out AND implemented by these sites, or else they are never going to get the CPM rates they need to make a business out of this.


  2. William Fleming, December 3, 2008 at 9:24 a.m.

    Excellent article! I appreciate the suggestions given and the insight to each. We are able to target video ads and that is our entire model. The problem that exists is the "CPM" mentality.
    It has been so devalued and cutthroat that no one is willing to pay premium pricing to target consumers. We have been dealing with this for quite some time.

    In order to get out of the vicious downfall of "CPMs" we have been offering a "CPE" or "Cost per Engagement". We have a path that empowers consumers with choice and when the consumer engages the ads that is when the advertiser is charged. Literally we are guaranteeing the advertiser that they will not be charged for the ads until engagement has happened. Using this model puts the responsibility on the publisher to target the right ads to the right consumers.

    I have no doubt that advertisers are willing to put their money where they can be guaranteed their ad views to be engaged. It is the overly devalued "CPM" rates and quality that creates issues.

    The mentality of "CPM" needs the be reevaluated and scrutinized heavily. Offering "cheap" rates is obsurd and only devalues that advertisers message. Why? Simply that cheap ad space results in poor placement and ineffective user engagement. I echo what Dan Rayburn said, "The vast majority of websites I visit are not doing any targeting at all with their online video ads." Case in point.

    Until the mentality changes and re-evaluated, this will continue. The equation is not difficult, Cheap High Quantity does not equal Quality. Ad Networks that strive to undercut to get business have created the problem. I don't see that changing by them unless Advertisers and Agencies start requiring high quality and better engagements. It is time advertisers and agencies stop thinking that quality engagement should be pushed the same way branding is done. If you want to target and get engagement, don't just expect to pay a premium rate but demand to pay. Quality equals quantity not vice versa.

  3. Scott Broomfield from Veeple, Inc., December 4, 2008 at 2:28 p.m.

    Nice write-up and good focus on markets that would appear to be great targeted adopters.

    My Personal Observations:

    1. We will move from pure CPM models to CPA models. An Action, by definition is targeted.

    2. People are afraid of PII and, therefore, it is difficult to get too close to behavioral targeting. Contextual targeting will be the first step: i.e.: I am watching a Motorcycle Sports Video, so I should see a Bell helmet ad.

    3. The ads need to be relevant, engaging and non-intrusive.

    4. (This is my pitch point) The ads should be 'clickable' so that the experience is lean-in and immersive. This is our USP at Veeple.

    Note to Paula - I have found that common sense is anything but common.

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