In 2017, brands spent a massive $13 billion on digital video ads in the U.S. – a figure that could reach just under $20 billion by 2020! And why shouldn’t they? People are spending more of their time on video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, so it’s only logical that marketers would bet their $$$ on it.

But  there is trouble in paradise! According to a research from Nielsen only a portion of this spend is actually reaching a relevant audience.  And let’s not forget about ad blocking, now one of the biggest threats to digital marketing and estimated to cost global publishers $27bn by 2020 through lost revenues. Around 615 million devices are now blocking ads across the globe, as more people deploy ad blocking software on their phones too.  (source netimperative)

Brands need to rethink their marketing strategy to ensure that their video ads – the happy few that don’t get blocked – will reach the right audience and achieve what they were designed to do.

Anheuser-Busch’s Lime-A-Rita learned about the power of relevant video ads out of a business need. Whilst brand awareness was high, Lime-A-Rita needed an ad that would boost brand consideration.

The brand decided to target a female audience, reaching them using contextual advertising – targeting audiences based on different context types, such as their location, demographics, preferred videos or the video they are about to watch. The practice serves hyper relevant content.

As a result, Lime-A-Rita enjoyed double-digit ad recall and purchase intent lifts!

Would you like to make your video ads more relevant and effective at scale? Then read on.

1. Know what your audience is already watching

Clearly defining your audience makes all the difference when you’re creating content. Only when you get a clear view of who your audience is (the blogs they read, the sites they visit, what they search in Google, etc.) can you create relevant ads.

Anheuser-Busch Senior Director of Digital Victoria Vaynberg and her team identified women as their prime target. “In a world where most beer brands don’t talk to women at all, we saw an opportunity to speak to them directly, and within the context of what they were already interested in,” Vaynberg explained.

Lime-A-Rita worked toward getting a better understanding of their target’s specific video viewing habits. Lime-A-Rita worked with Google to identify the top 50 YouTube video categories women among its target audience over-indexed on – categories such as music, The Bachelor (the TV show), recipes, workouts, etc.

2. Personalise at scale with YouTube Director Mix

To make the content not just hyper relevant but also more engaging, Lime-A-Rita wanted to serve each viewer with personalised videos, based on what each woman was watching. Each identified category (cooking, workout, fashion, etc) would get a different version of its ad.

Vaynberg and her team used YouTube Director Mix to mass-customise their video ads by applying individual creative elements in various combinations.

What did it look like? Women searching for the latest Rihanna video might have seen the 6 second bumper ad (more info on bumper ads here). Those looking for content from The Bachelor show could have been served something like this…

We were really happy to be able to make so much content at scale with such little risk,” said Vaynberg. “And customising the ads in this way and serving them up based on what each woman was about to view helped make our product hyper-relevant in the moment. You can be so much more effective if you catch people when they’re actually thinking about your category or when your product could enhance the situation.”

WVA are proud to provide our very own sharpened and enhanced creative tool to ensure the right videos get in front of the right audiences – we call it MV100, that’s short for Multiple Variant 100. More info here…

3. Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow

What NOT to do? The worst ads, the ones that can create ill will and damage brands, are the ones that people deem intrusive – autoplay videos with the sound on, for example, or videos advertising a product viewers are not interested in.

Your ad should blend into the viewer’s viewing context, something that could be introduced by “oh and by the way, did you know….?” Ads that blend in are naturally more engaging and effective.

 It's this quest for seamlessness that drove Vaynberg and her team to opt for a short ad format (bumper). It’s this quest for seamlessness that drove Vaynberg and her team to opt for a short ad format (bumper).

We chose to focus on short, non-skippable ads for this campaign because they capture attention, but in a non-jarring way,” she explained. “It’s very appealing to get a forced view that doesn’t actually interrupt the viewing experience for the consumer.”

Your brand deserves a success story, the Lime-A-Rita way! We want to help you create hyper relevant, engaging ads to support your marketing strategy. Get in touch to know more about our services.

Credits: Think With Google