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The trend in eyeballs migrating away from the traditional TV and toward video isn’t going away anytime soon. As consumers spend more time viewing digital video across their devices, forecasts indicate 82% of internet traffic will be video-based by 2021. However, many marketers have been slow to make video a larger piece of their omnichannel strategies. That’s not to say marketers aren’t taking video seriously – they know and understand its growing role in consumers’ lives – but they often lack the sophisticated data and measurement tools required to make it effective and validate their spend.

There’s significant untapped potential for one-to-one marketing with digital video.

In 2018, it’s imperative that marketers evolve their approach to reflect consumer media habits and engage with them where they spend their time. For an effective video strategy that delivers results, marketers must focus on four key areas:

1. Acquiring the right data. First and foremost, marketers need to ensure their video advertising reaches the right consumers. In order to do so, they must have the most accurate data and understand their consumers across multiple dimensions including product interests, preferred device and viewing platform, video usage, language, etc. Engaging individuals with the highest likelihood of being interested in your message or product is much more efficient than delivering the same video ad to consumers based on broad demographical data. Acquiring consumer insights can be one of the biggest challenges for marketers, but it’s essential for having relevant one-to-one conversations with consumers via video.

2. Ensuring relevancy across devices. The proliferation of mobile devices has made it more difficult to reach audiences as they switch from device to device throughout the day. At the same time, consumers increasingly expect brands to provide a seamless experience and relevant content no matter which device they’re using. In order to reach the right consumer with the most relevant message, marketers need to be able to accurately recognize and match the same user across all their devices. This is particularly important for the sensory-driven experience of video – irrelevant or repetitive messages can be a big turn-off. Cross-device matching ensures brand-consumer interactions are always meaningful.

3. Personalizing the message. A recent Epsilon study found 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with companies that offer personalized experiences and 90% find personalization appealing. Incorporating one-to-one personalization into video can make all the difference in driving conversions, and it has to be done in real time in order to be contextually relevant to an individual. Many marketers are relying on data and machine learning to accurately predict the best offer to bring to consumers and ensure it’s personalized according to their unique preferences.

4. Measuring the impact. Measurement is key to any effective strategy, particularly when validating investment in digital video. To get an accurate view of its impact, closed-loop measurement is an approach that connects digital video to the online and offline sales it influenced. Closed-loop measurement illustrates the true impact of digital video and allows marketers to optimize their strategies. Marketers should focus on the platforms that can provide this type of measurement and yield return on ad spend. While content consumption is steadily shifting to OTT and connected TVs, these environments are still in their infancy and cannot provide the type of measurement that video advertising on desktop/mobile/tablet provides. OTT viewing is proliferating, but most environments are not ad-supported…yet. I highly recommend testing and learning, but encourage brands to invest video advertising budgets where their ads are scalable and measurable.

In practice

There’s a perception that digital video is only applicable for branding, but that’s not the case. If these four areas are addressed, digital video can be effective in driving both brand awareness and performance. For example, one of my retail clients used a combination of TV viewership data, purchase data and individualized profiles to find the right consumers – in their case, digitally savvy consumers who had previously purchased at their store – and deliver dynamic video ads.

These ads were personalized to each individual and redirected shoppers to their local store, which in turn increased in-store traffic and sales. In addition to metrics such as video completion rate, click-through rate, and viewability, the campaign produced meaningful insights on the consumers who received the ad and ultimately made a purchase.

In conclusion

Digital video is at an inflection point, and the marketers that test and learn will come out ahead in the long run. As digital video consumption increases, it will continue to be an important facet of any omnichannel approach as long as marketers have the right data, cross-device capabilities, personalized messaging and proper measurement.

This post originally appeared in Martech Series

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