Getting the Most for Your Money: Video Advertising Effectiveness

Sometimes when people think about the Internet, they imagine it’s forever the magical word-of-mouth, viral-driven, world-wide-exposure-getting machine it can be. Because sites like YouTube and Facebook used to be an egalitarian wonderland for individuals to have the same fighting chance as brands, it’s hard for some to accept their ad models now. But what form of advertising is really free?

A narcoleptic Argentinian once said:

When love is for the highest bidder, there can be no trust. Without trust, there can be no love.

narcoleptic argentinean

While that was contextually accurate and pretty romantic, it’s basically the opposite of the way sentiment works on the Internet. 

And since there will probably never be a day when you don’t have to spend money to make money, spending efficiently online is the best you can do for your business. That’s why this month we’re going to walk you through getting the most for your money in four online paid promotion categories: video, content, social media, and search. Let’s start with video.

Do the Research

Before even creating a video you think you’ll want to put money behind, do the research. That could mean doing keyword research to see if anyone is actually searching for the terms that pertain to the subject or might make up your video’s title. It could also mean searching to see what videos already exist that could end up competing with your video for views.

What it most definitely means is that if you’re producing a video (viral cat videos need not apply), you need to research/decide/analyze why you’re creating that video and how it will either:

  1. Increase your brand’s exposure/loyalty/street cred
  2. Act as a lead generation tool
    (As fair warning, the latter is more often tougher to achieve through video.)

Once all the above has been nailed down, you’re ready to make that video a reality!

Post-Production Promotion

So now you went through all the hard work of making an awesome video for your brand and you’re ready to set it live to the world in hopes of it going viral! (Fair warning again: this is kind of a crazy ambitious hope to have.) You put your blood, sweat, tears—or at least a lot of money into creating a video that really gets your point across. It’s witty or educational or a bit of both, and now it’s time to let it loose on the world.

And there are a few ways to do it.

First, you can partner with some video promotion tools and third-party networks where they will actually place your video and help track views, impressions, and clicks. And secondly, and most-importantly—which is why we’re saving it for last—you can put your budget towards YouTube InStream ads.

Video Promotion Partnerships

So there are a ton of networks out there, like Virool, that essentially have partnerships with various publishers that place your video either on page, or before/after other videos to help get impressions and views. You pay for each view, and price ranges vary per partnership (some offer as low as $0.13 per view).

A few other network options are Emerse and Ramp. Emerse offers a variety of unique video formats and are IAB-compliant so they can run on almost any publisher. They’ve created a unique algorithm to help find the right audience for your video and optimize throughout your video flight. They even have clients like Heineken, Jaguar, and Nike, so needless to say, that’s probably not going to be the cheapest route. Likewise, Ramp works with Fox News, Citi bank, Nascar, and Thomson Reuters to help with their video needs.

A Virool Case Study

We put together a mash-up video for one of our clients that had some really great Go-Pro adventure footage. Once we were done with the video, it was time to set it live to the world. With a fairly small social following and even smaller YouTube following, we were ready for promotion.

We had a small budget of $50 for this piece, and didn’t want to waste it on just anything. We figured it would be best to get some views, clicks, and likes and test out something new. We partnered with Virool and with a 2-day promotion flight, we were able to get:

  • 717 Impressions (how many times the video has been displayed)
  • 286 Views (video was watched for longer than 30 seconds)
  • 25 clicks (how many times the link under the video was clicked)
  • 0:55 average watch time (total video time: 1:03)

YouTube Instream Ads

Businesses/brands/companies in different industries are going to have varied experiences, but this is the part where we show you in our experience, YouTube ads are an extremely efficient way to spend your ad budget.

A YouTube/Facebook Case Study

We decided to put money behind a recent video through two ad avenues: Facebook promoted posts, and YouTube InStream ads. If you haven’t heard of InStream ads, we can bet you’ve seen one: they’re the short videos that play like a preview or commercial before the “featured presentation” of whatever video you’ve clicked to watch.

Here’s what we saw: video visibility chart

Facebook killed it with impressions. Impressions are just left and right. 43,017 impressions? Amazing! Except, wait. There were only 2,107 actual views, versus YouTube’s 10,085. That’s a view-rate of 4.9% against 28.7%.

And on top of that:  view duration chart

Of the people that actually did view the video on Facebook, they watched it for a minute less! Now, it’s important to remember here that Facebook viewers did have to take an action to watch the video (they had to click, whereas YouTube viewers had to not click “Skip” to watch), and they have to resist the urge to continue scrolling through their feeds to watch more of the video. That means if you’re using Facebook promoted posts to get your video out there, it better be mad short and riveting. Meanwhile, our larger group of viewers, our YouTubers, stuck around for 2:30.

Oh, and they cost much less: cost per view chart

And while the below graph may make it seem like Facebook viewers were in general more engaged and stuck around longer based on percentages. . .

audience retention chart

Those percentages are a little misleading because remember: the number of people who watched from Facebook was much lower in the first place.

Here’s what that same graph looks like based on pure numbers alone: retention-raw

All that said, in retrospect it’s kind of amazing anyone stuck around for the full four minutes. Now might be a good time to mention that video was four minutes long. Would we recommend that? Not usually. But either way, the stats don’t lie. We got way more bang for our buck with YouTube InStream ads. After all, the viewers are already on YouTube. They’re prepared to watch a video anyway. They’re ready to watch your video if it’s deemed worthy, in fact.

TL;DR : You’ll get the most for your video money through YouTube InStream ads.