Digital Video Ads Mainly Used for Branding As Relatively Few Measure Sales

April 27, 2018

Brand awareness is a more common objective for digital video advertising campaigns than lead generation or direct sales, finds a new study [download page] from The CMO Council and ViralGains. Indeed, video advertising’s main use in the customer journey is to promote high-level awareness of the brand, though a majority of marketers also say they use video as an acquisition tool to drive direct sales.

The report is based on a survey of 233 senior marketing leaders (mostly in North America), among whom 70% are actively investing in digital video advertising and another 9% planning to start within the coming year. The following results are limited to those 79% who are currently investing in digital video advertising or plan to do so in the near future.

These respondents are enthusiastic about their future video investments: more than two-thirds envision their video ad investments growing by more than 10% this year, and almost 9 in 10 believe their investments will grow by that amount in the next 3 years.

Video Ad Campaigns Mainly Use Engagement Metrics

The study finds that the success of video ad campaigns is based on different metrics than the success of marketing as a whole.

Given a list of 10 metrics and asked which are the top 3 used to measure the success of their video advertising campaigns, respondents pointed mainly to engagement metrics. Click-through rate (56%) topped the list (although the argument was made several years ago that completion rates are a better metric), followed by the number of times the content is shared via social channels (40%) and engagement with the brand post-view (35%).

Just 27% said that direct sales are a top-3 success measure for video ad campaigns.

Marketing Leaders Are Measured on Sales Success

Video advertising’s focus on engagement metrics appears to be out of sync with how marketing leadership is measured. Instead, sales is the top metric by which success is defined in respondents’ roles as marketing leaders, with 78% reporting being measured by direct sales.

To be fair, other metrics that are more pertinent to video also figure prominently among marketing leaders’ success metrics. For example, 63% say that their success is defined by campaign-specific metrics such as clicks and views, and 61% are defined by brand strength and recognition, which is the key objective for video ad campaigns.

Few Derive Direct Sales, Lead-Based Insights

A shift to more sales-based metrics for video advertising looks like it would be a struggle to achieve, as relatively few are able to get such insights from their campaigns.

For now, viewing metrics such as viewing longevity (74%) are the most widely available type of insight and intelligence from video ad campaigns, followed by call-to-action metrics such as click-through rates (69%).

Fewer than half (45%), though, are able to report sales metrics and conversion rates from their video ad campaigns. And despite lead generation being a goal for many, even fewer (37%) are able to derive insights into return metrics such as cost per lead or cost per acquisition.

Other Report Highlights

  • Almost 86% of those currently invested in – or planning to soon invest in – digital video advertising use data to target their audiences via digital advertising.
  • More than 7 in 10 are able to export data about their viewers, though more are able to export some (41%) data than comprehensive data on specific viewers and behavior (30%).
  • A slight majority (53%) use survey tools to determine insights about their viewers, such as brand favorability and purchase intent, though most (55%) of those have to wait at least a few weeks after the campaign has ended before utilizing those survey insights for advertising.
  • Almost 9 in 10 are willing to pay more campaigns that guarantee completed views and deep customer insights.
  • For 7 in 10, reports about Facebook and Google having incomplete or incorrect definitions of views, clicks and other outcomes has had an impact on their spending or attitudes to those channels.
  • Revelations around reporting inaccuracies have most commonly resulted in new demand for total transparency into traffic, viewers and engagements.
  • Just 3% believe that the IAB’s definition of viewability (50% of an ad being on screen, without sound, playing for 2 consecutive seconds), is a reasonable definition. Another 30% would define viewability that way, but only because there isn’t a better standard being embraced.

The full study can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 233 marketing leaders primarily located in North America (73%). Two-thirds of respondents are from companies with more than $250 million in revenues. Roughly one-third (35%) are B2B-focused, compared to 22% that are B2C-focused and the remainder with a hybrid focus (43%). The Information Technology (20%) and Financial Services (12%) industries were the most heavily represented.

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