1. Brand Your Video and Include a Compelling CTA

Make sure you have a consistent brand image throughout your video — whether it’s your logo, color scheme, verbiage or the messaging that you’re using. Always make sure your video branding is consistent with any of the other creative assets that you’re leveraging on other channels.

In addition to maintaining a strong brand image throughout your video, also include a call-to-action within the video — whether it’s a percentage off, a promo code for new customers. You should always include an incentive for a consumer to click through your ad and convert at that point. The best CTAs are specific — a percentage off, free shipping, something for free or something to throw in. Since video is a top-of-funnel solution, strong CTAs directly correlate to good performance.

2. Target Your Audience Strategically

Targeting is key piece of the equation — whether your video is brand focused or product focused. When it comes down to performance, videos are only successful when they reach their proper audiences — that’s where targeting comes in. At the end of the day, the different types of content only matter as much as the audiences to which they are served.

You need to match the audience to the type of content that you are distributing. A huge part of targeting is understanding past consumer behavior, which involves looking at your first party data, looking at past users who converted, looking at users who are most engaged on your site, or looking at brand affinities (who are your key competitors, who are you losing customers to, what consumers are like and what brands they like). Understanding your existing customers to predict your future customers is an iterative process that helps you refine campaign targeting and maximize performance.

3. Set Up an Attribution Model for All Your Channels

Consistent attribution is often the biggest challenge that a marketer faces — especially when using a complex cross-channel strategy. It is crucial to develop a holistic attribution model that spans of all of your channels to properly attribute your marketing efforts and understand how to spend your marketing budget effectively.

You may be using using Facebook, static, carousel, video, SEM, display, prospecting, retargeting and email as different levers in their marketing machinery (among others). But without the process of attribution to tackle the daunting obstacle of assigning value to each one of those different channels, you cannot develop a complete picture of your marketing efforts.

Attribution tells you how long it takes a consumer to convert and what your overall sales cycle looks like. In accordance with this data, you can assign these consumers to your top, middle, bottom of the funnel activities. Are you going to place more weight on something that’s top of the funnel and exposes users to your brand that may not have heard of you or are you going to place more value on someone that you drive down the funnel like SEM or Facebook?

When looking at attribution, you can look a more holistic sales cycle and trying to understand what that path of conversion really looks like, regardless of the channels you use. With a successful attribution model in place, you can develop a comprehensive understanding of your sales cycle and how customers move through the conversion process. Attribution tools enable you to track consumer behavior and develop unparalleled insights into consumer engagement — the more detailed the attribution, the more efficient the advertising budget.

4. Give Your Test Campaigns Time to Ramp

One of the most common mistakes in modern marketing is rushing to judgement on testing a new channel. To properly gauge the effectiveness of a new digital advertising channel, you should use a test period of 60 days because optimal performance will most likely not begin for the first several weeks of a campaign. High performing campaigns use machine learning models that rely heavily on data collection. Ultimately, tests that are abandoned before 30 days will not have even been optimized for performance.

Modern campaign launches are iterative processes of optimizations that occur with varying frequencies. Full advertising impact might not be realized until two weeks, a month, or even two months after campaign launch depending on the company, product and average conversion time. Some consideration cycles may be longer than others — for example, a higher value item will have a longer sales cycle whereas a cheaper item will have a shorter path to purchase.

5. Target Consumers, Not Publishers

Successful digital advertising campaigns rely upon advertising inventory from all across the web. Campaigns are based off of your individual user behavior and your target audience’s predicted behavior. So if your target audience is on CNN, for example, then you should be targeting users on CNN because you know that the audience you’re trying to acquire is on that site regularly.

A common mistake is targeting a publisher that you believe caters to your audience rather than targeting your audience directly. Even if a significant number of members of your target audience spend time on a particular publisher’s website, there will always be other consumers on that website that you do not want to target, and if you spend money blanketing that publisher you will be wasting valuable advertising dollars. Even on the most valuable publisher’s site, not every user on that site is going to be a valuable target for you. If only 25 percent of those users are on that site during a specific time of the day, you’re wasting ad dollars by only focusing on that publisher and that publisher set throughout the day. If you base your advertising expenditures off of your users, you can better control your spend and only target the users that matter.

An example of this strategy in practice: if you know that you close more deals when your sales team is face-to-face with a prospect, you may want to target users in your specific target vertical in your geographic area. Then target any users that show an affinity toward that specific category, identify those users and determine where they’re spending most of their time across the web and determine when and where to target those users most cost-efficiently. Since you’re basing your allocation decisions off the user behavior instead of just the placement itself, this allows you more flexibility. So if you see your users engaging more with a particular publisher, this may be slightly less expensive to bid on, then you’re going to end up acquiring that user at a much cheaper rate and controlling cost from there while driving the same level of performance.

6. Reach Your Customers on All of Their Devices

One of the most important recent developments in the world of advertising technology is the ability to profile and target users and track user behavior across multiple devices. You must find ways to track consumer behavior across multiple formats and multiple devices to maximize your conversion rates and your budget efficiency.

As an example of the importance of cross-device tracking, let’s say a consumer is browsing for weight loss tips at an especially time of the year like summer. The consumer will likely view content pieces focused on diet and nutrition — and that browsing behavior will likely start on their mobile device, where most ideation begins (Google Think has research about how this process starts on mobile, no matter what industry or vertical). Later, that same consumer may see an advertisement on their tablet when they are playing a game, and pause to read more about a few nutritional supplements. Later, that same consumer will click through an ad served to them in their desktop when they are looking for recipes and buy a particular dietary supplement. Knowing the full journey of this consumer will give you insight into the most important moments in the buyer journey to serve ads and will greatly maximize your conversion rate.

More often than not, marketers silo mobile versus desktop data and only get a piece of insight into consumer behavior. In these cases, marketers only really capture users at either the top or the bottom of the sales funnel. Since the majority of sales conversions still occur on desktop, it is crucially important to marry your mobile consumer data to your desktop consumer data to understand the buyer journey. Since many consumers use between four and six separate devices, having the ability to track that consumer behavior from the start of the research process to the evaluation phase and all the way through to the purchase is more important than ever. Cross-device advertising campaigns are the only way to stay engaged with your consumers throughout the entirety of their buyer journey.

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