When marketers determine their goals for digital video advertising, top-of-the-funnel awareness is almost always their main focus. In that sense, digital video differs little from TV advertising.
But what about mid- and bottom-funnel objectives, such as consideration, preference and the actual conversion? While it’s still early in the game, more and more brands are finding ways to use digital video to help achieve those goals. However, shifting focus down from awareness will not come easy. The use of digital video for awareness is near universal, cited by 94.6% of US media agencies as an objective for brand video efforts in a December 2012 study from Sharethrough. In contrast, far fewer respondents mentioned mid- and lower-funnel goals such as purchase intent, customer acquisition and customer loyalty.
“We have fallen into this trap of thinking that video is only for top-of-funnel activities,” said Mina Seetharaman, senior partner and executive director of content and advanced video practices at OgilvyOne. “But we have a lot of programs that prove otherwise.”
“This is all relatively new,” said Jonathan Lee, managing director of brand and marketing strategy at Huge, a digital agency. “We’re conditioned. We’re not rewarded for experimentation. We’re rewarded for conventional behavior. While boundaries are being pushed every day in this business, you’re always going to have the people who are not going to do it until it’s proven. … [But that’s] always a trepidation clients have.”
And attribution is hard. Measuring video’s effectiveness for goals beyond awareness, especially in cross-platform campaigns, can be even harder.
When marketers can figure out when and how video advertising has contributed to successful mid- and lower-funnel goals, their work can become more effective. According to 37.2% of US marketers and agencies surveyed by Netmining in April 2013, using attribution helped them minimize media spend waste.
Many marketers still focus on video as a driver of awareness at the top of the funnel, making it difficult to determine its contribution to mid- and lower-funnel results. For instance, when marketers use a same-session attribution model, they will rarely see high returns from video. To solve this and other sticking points, more marketers will need to budge from their comfort zones.