In today’s complex digital ecosystem, your creative and media strategies can quickly be derailed and rendered ineffective if you don’t have keen technical prowess. Beyond creative storytelling and media buys, there are imperative steps & considerations required in developing a successful campaign. The first step is to ask the right technology questions early during the planning process to ensure you’ll make the fragmentation and best practices of all different channels, platforms and devices work for you, not against you.
Unfortunately, all too often marketers make the mistake of treating technology as an afterthought, resulting in a last minute scramble of lowered expectations, finger pointing, and missed opportunities for ROI. A web page, your phone, Facebook, and your Roku box are not your traditional TV nor are they the same as each other, but many digital video campaigns are based on the TV 30-second, ‘one-to-many’ communication strategy and asset. This fails to impact and engage consumers in these unique digital arenas, and marketers miss all kinds of ways to capture data and measure success – both short and long term by not thinking about technology first. Simply asking, ‘What’s possible with current technology?’ will open up a whole new world for you.
To avoid wasting time and money, your technology solutions must be seamlessly integrated into your creative and media ideation and planning process. When you surround yourself with the right technology partners, and you prioritize and speak with them early and often, you’ll be able to embrace the following two key principles:
Unlike TV, one size does not fit all
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is treating digital like TV, or treating social like paid pre-roll media, or treating mobile like desktop. If you treat them all the same, you end up with a lowest common denominator that provides the lowest level of results. Just because a 30-second spot works on TV, that doesn’t make it effective on Facebook or mobile devices where auto-playing with the sound off is the norm. This seems fairly obvious, but without taking the technology, platform, and ad format into consideration, your video creative will be likely skipped, ignored, or even worse – have a negative effect on your brand.
On the flip side, when brands and creatives are in fact investing in digitally native formats, such as shoppable interactive videos, they forget to consider the media buy and the technology limitations of many publishers. Frequently, it turns out that publishers—like YouTube—may not accept the ad tags that trigger the interactive elements of the design, leaving the brand with the most bare-bones version of a great idea, or having to scrap it all together. This happens all too often when experiences designed for desktop have to run in mobile environments and the publishers’ video player tech is not up to par.
Ultimately, video marketers should abandon a one-size-fits-all creative strategy in favor of a “matched luggage” approach to digital video. With matched luggage, the design is the same for all of your bags, but each piece offers different utility, be it for an overnight stay or a two-week vacation. The same theory applies in the digital ecosystem, where marketers need a shorter ad for smartphone users on the go, and a longer one for the highly engaged viewer watching premium content on their smart TV at home. Having a technologist in the room that knows the ecosystem is crucial to doing this correctly and strengthening the results of your campaign.
Leverage data to get (and stay) relevant
Technology enables the use of data to deliver addressable, relevant messaging to your target audience at the most appropriate time during the customer journey. Before the campaign planning begins, marketers should ask themselves what they know—or would like to know—about the people who will view their ads, and how this information could increase the efficacy of the message.
In thinking about how data can inform your creative strategy, if you knew that I was a bargain hunter, might you offer me a coupon? If you knew that green was my favorite color, would you feature a green sweatshirt instead of a red one? If you knew I liked classic rock versus EDM, would you play a certain background song? If you knew I was a customer whose lease expires in two months, would you talk to me differently than if I was a first-time car buyer? Technology empowers us to ask and answer these questions, leading to a whole new creative paradigm. And by having a tech stack and strategy that collects, connects, and activates data of this nature, you can approach your creative and media strategies in much more effective ways.
Even at a simple level, collecting campaign data in real-time will allow you to improve and optimize your creative strategy. For instance, if you know that the same person has seen your ad five times and only watched a few seconds of it, maybe it’s time to serve them a different version. If a viewer engaged with an interactive ad to see your how-to video, perhaps you should follow up with a more direct purchase message versus the same awareness ad. These are all data-driven strategies that need to be considered from the get-go, inclusive of the technology expertise necessary to implement and execute.
Technology can be an enabler that takes your campaign and content to new heights. Or, it can be an inhibitor that causes it to break down and underperform entirely.
That’s why it’s so important to prioritize technology expertise as a core component of the creative and media buying process. From moment one, this allows you to take control, plan correctly, leverage what’s possible, and take your creative ideas in new and powerful directions. You will better invest your time and money in accordance with user experiences on different channels, platforms, and devices. You will embrace the engagement and interactivity that is natural in digital environments, while leveraging and connecting data that brings more personalized, addressable relevance to your audience. This all adds up to more impactful, effective campaigns and better return on video investments.
About Scott Clark
Scott is vice president, head of Brand Partnerships at Innovid, where he helps brand marketers solve the strategic, creative, and technical challenges of digital video advertising. He advises on the convergence of TV and digital, helping brands implement data-driven solutions that break through silos, enhance the customer journey and improve marketing ROI. In over six years at Innovid, Scott has served in several leadership positions, most recently as VP Sales, Americas. Previously, Scott held senior sales and sales management roles at Adconion, Yahoo!, and HotJobs.com. *