In the evolution of advertising, dollars have always followed the buzz. From display to mobile and now Native, we’ve dropped what didn’t work, kept what did, and continued in the evolution. For the past few years, one of the bigger ones has been viewability and how to buy on it. In 2017, especially as targeting methodologies continue to grow more sophisticated, we expect (and have already noticed) account-based marketing (ABM) to be yet another one that we keep in the continued evolution of advertising and B2B marketing.¹ More so, layering these initiatives on top of Native advertising, which, on its own, has shown to have an 18% higher lift in purchase intent when compared to banner ads, may further amplify your results.²
Account-based marketing, put most simply, is targeting your ad dollars specifically to companies you may consider as a lead. CRM data is put to good use in ABM strategies in order to identify target accounts and the decision makers behind them. The current problem with account-based marketing, though, is that effective as it is, it’s only as good as the initial due diligence done at the onset of building an ABM campaign. With 2017 posed to be the year of account-based marketing, we’d like to set the record straight on how to tackle these initiatives and what’s required for a successful campaign.
Building Your Target Accounts
Depending on what’s at stake, different companies compile their target accounts a various number of ways. Some merely port their CRM data into a company list and build audiences off that. Others, depending on the strategy they’re looking to employ, will break up their lists based on opportunity and build out initiatives based on this. This could be simply focusing efforts on building out conquesting strategies for competitors. Another approach may entail larger, more drawn out initiatives, targeting larger companies, comprising a larger win and a bigger overall step in the company strategy. This isn’t to take away from the small victories. While they may not be the big step or strategic vision for your efforts overall, they are still worth consideration, given the quicker decisioning process that comes with the smaller companies.
Once you’ve built out your target accounts, it’s important to also understand the hierarchies within the organizations. We’ve all heard the term “decision makers” though this may manifest itself as a different position, job or title across various industries. Layering on the appropriate decision makers within your ABM strategy is about as critical as the account list itself, so it is good to have a solid understanding of the intra-company relationships and how they may impact final decision-making and sign-off.
By understanding your decision makers and their relationships to each other, you can begin to build your message accordingly, plotting out the message to the appropriate person and building out a loop of exposure. Integrate additional advertising tactics like sequential messaging, retargeting or even cross-device to drive your message home.
Expectations and Analytics
The account lists, the audience profiles, the decision makers and the messaging aren’t meaningful if you can’t define what constitutes a successful campaign. Whether it’s simply exposure for a new product, bringing in new leads, or generating new opportunities and wins, these goals need to be identified beforehand. An initiative that was intended to drive decision making and close accounts will have missed the mark if all that was brought in was leads. This is where the previous pieces we discussed all matter. Having a solid understanding of your baseline, where you are, and where you want to be with each facet of your accounts will allow you to define what success looks like.
Tying it All Together
With the right kind of research, targeting, analysis and measurement, expectations can be met and exceeded, particularly with regards to ABM initiatives. As mentioned earlier, activating these initiatives in addition to Native advertising strategies will deliver even more impactful results. Touching upon solely the branding aspects, Native advertising has been shown to be more trusted and less intrusive. Keeping in mind the long-term strategic vision behind why ABM is a must for B2B needs, Native advertising may be the best approach, providing a higher quality, more professional mechanism for delivering ads in a trusted setting, outside the realm of banner blindness.
Kristen McDonnell and Jennifer Zeider
As referenced in an article by Business Insider in June 2016, “Native Advertising in the US will drive 74% of all ad revenue by 2021.” BI data further suggests that “Spending on native advertising in the United States will reach $21 billion by 2018.” We can all agree that the Native Advertising is the future and the future is now.
Proving the success and ultimate worth of an advertiser’s online media spend has been a struggle for the entire industry ever since the first banner ad was sold 22 years ago. The digital ad landscape changes and evolves faster than we can explain to our parents what it is we do for a living, which makes it virtually impossible to accurately measure each ad’s performance and readily report back to our clients in a comprehensive way.
Although this is a prevalent challenge facing the entire industry, at Bidtellect we have four key focus areas to ensure we are delivering the highest quality content experience to consumers and the greatest ROI and metrics to our advertiser partners.
Understanding Quality vs. Performance
This industry-wide challenge has spurred the creation of many “ad verification” businesses, whose sole purpose is to help solve the very issue at hand. Companies like Double Verify, IAS & Moat, for example, have been built upon a methodology which promises to ensure our clients that every dollar spent on serving an ad/impression yields a maximum return. Throw in a viewability guarantee and a 0.1% CTR and we’ve convinced our clients that their $500K media plan was worth every penny.
What many advertisers and clients aren’t taking into account, though, is that there’s a difference between quality and performance – one cannot measure the overall effectiveness of a campaign solely on the quality checks that they receive from their Ad Verification partner. Ad quality should almost be a given at this point, and essentially ‘step one’ of the campaign measurement process. Bidtellect for example, a leading Native DSP, automatically scans impressions for fraud and bot traffic, pre-bid, thus not spending the advertiser’s budget on wasteful media. This then leaves us to the second and most important part of campaign measurement, PERFORMANCE. What your advertisers’ partners actually do with those quality impressions, in terms of optimization and strategy, is really where your media plans’ quantification comes into play.
And speaking of performance quantification, let’s talk about user experience. As more and more online publishers revamp their sites to only accommodate Native Ad inventory, the extinction of banner ads is rapidly approaching. Native Ads create an environment that fosters a much more positive user experience than the standard banner and one in which is non-intrusive and the user more often than not actually wants to engage.
The purpose and strategy behind Native ads, (or “content previews”), is to promote our advertisers’ products and/or initiatives in a contextually relevant, non-intrusive manner. Native ads essentially become a “content preview”, which direct to the advertiser’s content hub, website, product page, etc., with the notion of educating and engaging the masses. When a user engages with a Native ad they are typically being directed to an informative site, which, in one way or another, is meant to highlight steps, recommendations, referrals or references, all with the hope of providing an experience that will enhance the online user’s overall quality of life. Many are centered around upgrading one’s daily routine – how to be more efficient and what products can help you get there, some are focused on upcoming travel plans, others around overall health & well-being, the list goes on and on.
Catchy Native ad headlines may sound something like, “Recipe pages for quick meals on the go”, “Best hotel deals of the week”, “How to be more present and improve your mental health”, “Top attractions in your favorite city”, these are all commonly seen content verticals running in today’s Native landscape.
CTR is Out, Engagement Is In
The act of measuring performance by CTR or even “Viewability” is slowly becoming obsolete as advertisers realize that they can gather much more valuable data and measure performance based off of engagement metrics (Post-Click Engagement). For more information on why you should be using engagement, not CTR, to measure awareness, read this article.
What is the user doing after they click on the ad? How long are they staying on the site? How many pages deep into the site are they? How far down the page are they scrolling and which pieces of content are they spending the most time with?
Optimize Toward Engagement
Bidtellect can accurately measure and optimize to post-click data via our proprietary Engagement Score code. This capability has made measuring engagement a reality and subsequently, all our lives a little bit easier. The ability to measure post-click engagement metrics and optimize in real-time upon said metrics is done at scale and we have seen great results. This unique offering is what sets Bidtellect apart from other companies utilizing such as Google Analytics, VisualIQ, and Omniture. The key to success is in the “optimization.” This means clients’ media budgets are being spent as efficiently and effectively as possible with the proof to back it up.
Bidtellect’s quarterly report analyzes the billions of data points flowing through our Native Demand Side Platform (nDSP), to reveal important trends and insights into the Native advertising ecosystem for marketers currently executing Native campaigns and those looking to learn more. This quarter we decided to take a deeper look into Native video as marketers are creating more video content to incorporate in their media plans.
The fragmented digital media landscape has caused marketers to struggle with creating the right content for the right distribution platform. Understanding how video content is performing is critical for marketers to be able to create relevant original content for each destination. Native video formats emerged as a way to solve for this major obstacle in the ecosystem. It allows marketers to identify how a specific video is performing and ensure that they are reaching consumers with engaging content in organic and relevant environments.
Here are the 3 main trends and takeaways we found in Native video and standard Native (In-Feed, In-Ad and Recommendation Widgets) throughout Q3 and Q4 2016:
Native Video is Growing…Fast
An increasing number of marketers are incorporating video based content into their holistic marketing strategies, and as they are seeing success with campaign objectives and consumer engagement, they are investing more heavily. More than ever, content marketing is becoming a central component of any brand’s strategy, and including video in that solidifies a well rounded, immersive content plan. People are consuming an increasing amount of video content online and brands know that they need to be reaching them with quality video content in organic, relevant environments.
In-Feed Delivers Engagement for Native Video
Similar to what last quarter’s report found with standard Native In-Feed, Native In-feed video is the most engaging Native video product. The user-initiated video is consumer friendly, non-intrusive and provides the most qualified, engaged user for a marketer. In fact, 40% of users that click to watch an In-Feed video go on to click on the landing page. Because of its highly engaging nature, In-Feed can be most useful when targeting consumers that are lower in the funnel and for campaigns with conversion objectives.
The autoplay products can be more beneficial for reaching consumers in the upper funnel and with branding and awareness campaigns. For more details on the difference between each video product, and how to best execute Native video for your campaign needs click here.
Marketers Continue to Consolidate
The sophisticated technology available today enables higher levels of productivity, enhancements in workflow efficiency, more precise measurement and optimization and ultimately, better performance and results. As brands continue to execute cross-device and cross-platform campaigns, media buyers are seeking a more efficient workflow process and are moving toward consolidated platforms. We are seeing this on our platform as the number of brands executing both Native video and standard Native programmatically continues to rise.
Native Across Device
People are actively consuming content across devices. The report found that CTRs were 200% higher in Q4 on mobile devices than desktop. However, we are still seeing deeper engagement on desktop. Although industry initiatives continue to push for greater mobile content experiences, (AMP etc.) consumers are still struggling to have the same level of meaningful engagement on their mobile devices.
How Are Consumers Engaging Across Publisher Categories?
November’s election generated enormous buzz and conversation it’s no surprise that News and Law, Gov’t & Politics were two of the most engaging publisher categories in Q4 2016, both showing average Engagement Scores of over 9.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy of the report.
Rachel Richardson, Vicky Papadimas and Kevin Dwyer
As the influence of digital video advertising is ever-changing, Bidtellect continues to improve its video products to best meet advertisers’ demands. Each video product is unique and requires strategic planning to determine a product that best suits the client’s needs. This planning prompts questions such as:
What is the client’s goal of the campaign?
Broad vs. Leaned-in audience: This is where you would want to understand if the client is looking to drive completes of the video or are they running a longer form video that requires a more engaged audience? Is the client looking for a CTR or a completion rate goal? The answer here will not only help our team determine the best video product but will also allow us to optimize towards the client’s KPI.
What creative assets do they have?
Long vs. Short: If an advertiser is looking to run long-form video, i.e. more than 30 seconds long, it would be important for the content to be contextually relevant to the potential user so there is a higher likelihood that they will watch the video and consume additional content on the landing page. Whereas, if an advertiser is more interested in providing short-form content for brand awareness, we would probably recommend one of our products that doesn’t rely on the user to initiate the video to be played, such as Outstream Autoplay or Autoplay Preview.
What pricing are they looking for?
Ad impression vs. Video start: There are two pricing models currently available to our advertisers, CPM and CPP. The CPP option is only currently available for our Outstream Autoplay and Autoplay Preview products, while CPM pricing is available for the In-Feed product or for either of our Autoplay products.
These answers give Bidtellect a blueprint to work from to recommend the ideal video product. Outlined below are Bidtellect’s three video products: Native In-Feed, Native Autoplay, and Outstream Autoplay. Now that we have outlined some of the questions that are important to know the answers to, let’s discuss those different products a little more in depth.
The In-Feed Video reflects a more traditional video product, compared to the newer Autoplay video offerings. Rather than starting when the video is 50% in view, Native In-Feed relies on user initiation to begin the video. Specifically, the user must first click on the ad for a modal window to open for the video to begin playing, then the user must click a second time to be brought to the advertiser’s landing page.
In-Feed tends to generate lower CTRs compared to Autoplay videos because the unit requires two clicks to get to the landing page. In addition, you can expect lower video starts and completions with this product, however, if the client’s goal is user engagement, this product may be the best-fit as you can trim your audience through the initial click and creative message.
As for the video asset itself, In-Feed is commonly associated with longer videos that are over 30 seconds long. In-Feed may be the better product to utilize, when video length is 60+ seconds. In addition, In-Feed creative requires both short and long copy to accompany the video. This gives a marketer the opportunity to draw attention to the user through creative messaging and strong imagery.
For a live example, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdWNs05muDo
Outstream Video Autoplay:
Available on both desktop and mobile devices, Bidtellect’s Outstream Video Autoplay option is found within content. The video player only appears once the ad unit is in view, then the video starts when 50% in view, stopping once out of view. Sound begins when the user hovers over the video. Upon clicking the video, the user is directed to the landing page. The video and player will disappear from the page after the video has completed if no action is taken with 5 seconds of completion. This video offering is available on a Cost per Play or CPM pricing model, and prices will vary based on targeting.
Outstream Video Autoplay is a great option when the key performance indicator of a campaign is either plays or video completes. Length of video is an important factor when considering this video execution. If you use a video that is too long, it could impact your video metrics and increase the likelihood of users bouncing. When a video’s length is greater than 30 seconds, the completion rate lowers; the longer the video, the less likely a user will complete a video in its entirety. Generally, a 15 second or 30-second video is recommended, as we tend to see VCR’s anywhere in the 70%-90% range.
For a live example, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSesLSvkn3o
Autoplay Preview is a Premium In-Feed video product that starts when the video is 50% in view for at least one second. The video will appear like a traditional native ad and the user has the option to click on the thumbnail to expand the video into the modal. If the user does not click to expand the video, it will continue to play until it is no longer in 50% view. Once the video is no longer in 50% view, the video will pause until the user is back in viewable range. This product is less invasive than other video products, due to the expand and sound option both being initiated by the user. Once expanded, the user has the option to complete the video and move forward to the landing page, via secondary click.
The Autoplay Preview product is only supported on Desktop, where Bidtellect has the most premium and exclusive Direct Supply inventory. Similar to Outstream Autoplay, Autoplay Preview is priced on a CPM or CPP pricing model that varies based on targeting and KPI. Much like Outstream Autoplay, Autoplay Preview is a great option for clients that are looking to measure plays or video completion rate (VCR). While this product is similar to Outstream Autoplay, the completion rates tend to be slightly lower. Videos under 30 seconds perform best, as shorter video times have a higher probability of being completed by the user. Since video in this format is presented as a native, In-Feed ad, a headline and description are required by our publishers. This also gives you the opportunity to engage with your audience through the right text messaging and imagery.
For a live example, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdhfTGyWOtc
Native video is becoming more popular relative to traditional media outlets as advert
isers look for options to increase brand awareness in a more engaging manner. When it comes to native video, the most important thing is understanding the goals clients are striving to achieve. Once we understand the Key Performance Indicators, we can then customize a strategy that best fits our client’s needs. When the proper targeting strategy aligns with relevant creative and a clear goal, Native video proves to be a successful strategy for innovative advertisers looking to stay competitive.