Colleen WhitneySenior Vice President, Media Director for Chicago and San FranciscoDigitasLBi
Whirlpool’s KitchenAid brand rolled out three of its first made-for-web video spots this past July on Hulu as part of its “There’s So Much More to Make” campaign. Colleen Whitney, senior vice president and media director for Chicago and San Francisco at DigitasLBi, spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about the KitchenAid digital effort, as well as advertisers’ increasing curiosity to align original, made-for-web ad creative with exclusive web programming.
eMarketer: When is a brand right for and ready to activate a made-for-web video ad format?
Colleen Whitney: KitchenAid, in particular, has a highly engaged audience that is very targeted. It’s an upper-income woman who has a passion for expressing herself through cooking. This, coupled with the core insight that these consumers are looking for the tools to inspire and help them achieve that passion, led us to the idea that we can create highly engaging content for this narrow audience—and deliver it in a very targeted and contextually relevant way that will increase engagement and return on investment.
eMarketer: Why are these video spots a likely next step for brands beyond linear television?
Whitney: Consumers are hungry for more online content, whether that’s premium-produced content from publishers or brand-produced content that’s relevant to a particular consumer group. There continues to be increased demand, as well as time spent with that content online. We are encouraging our brand clients to play in that space in a strong way.
We look at it in a couple of different ways, either partnering with the publishing community to create the content or, such as in the case with KitchenAid, create exclusive content for our clients. It comes in a couple of different models for us, but we certainly believe there is a huge opportunity.
eMarketer: Do you have any metrics to share for the KitchenAid campaign?
Whitney: It’s only been in the market for a couple of weeks, and we don’t have specific metrics for this effort yet. Anecdotally, we are seeing a lift in social sharing and conversation around the video, as well as the associated content that’s being put out. There is a whole series of associated custom recipes, as well.
The primary role of online video for this brand is to drive brand lift. The measurement plan includes looking at both attitudinal and behavioral metrics. For attitudinal metrics, we’re looking at brand studies to check lift post-exposure. Then, from a behavioral perspective, we’re looking at the in-view experience, which includes monitoring completion rates, engagement with interactive companion banners, and so forth. We are also looking at brand site engagement metrics such as looking at attribution modeling to understand how online video is going to assist in driving conversion.
eMarketer: Are marketers looking to increase spending in made-for-web video ads?
Whitney: Without a doubt our clients are going to increase spending on online video overall. Across the industry, about 10% of the digital budget is going to online video. But many of our clients are already spending more than this. It’s at a tipping point, where dollars are going to start to follow the consumer time spent.
Within that we will increase investment in made-for-web content because the quality gets better and better. When we use it, we see positive lift in engagement metrics. The key, though, is that the online publishers have to continue to help us drive the model by investing in the discoverability of the programming. It’s important that we continue to increase the scale and reach. Online video is growing, but it’s still behind in reach compared with linear television.
eMarketer: How does an ad buy differ for a made-for-web show vs. a linear TV show?
Whitney: There is a big cost differential between the full episode players (FEPs) vs. made-for-web video content. FEPs can be as much as 50% or 60% higher from a cost-per-impression perspective. In addition, when you look at industry research, Tremor Video reported earlier this year that the results are virtually the same for made-for-web content and TV content online. It was looking at things like clickthrough and ad completion.
However, we have found for some of our advertisers, and again, they’re in more vertical categories, that awareness measures are indeed equitable. Engagement metrics such as clickthrough and activity around high-value tasks are better for the short-form, midtier content than they are for the FEPs. These are based on studies via DART Logic.
eMarketer: Will the recent Emmy nod for Netflix’s “House of Cards” for best drama series present more opportunities for brand marketers?
Whitney: We are watching Netflix very closely, as is everyone else in the industry. There are two big impacts to date based on what it is doing. It is really raising the bar for the standard of quality for online original programming. There is no doubt about it. It took HBO 25 years to get its first Emmy nomination. It took Netflix six months.
Netflix also has this deal with DreamWorks Animation, which is a game changer in terms of the quality of the content that’s going to continue to come into the online ecosystem. But the other element is that it is changing the distribution model, which means we need to ensure we’re driving discoverability of this high-quality content.
Netflix’s move to release all of its episodes simultaneously is different from the linear TV model, and it changes consumer expectations. It’s only a matter of time before we figure out ways for brand marketers to partner with and capitalize on this.
eMarketer: On Hulu in particular, ad loads are getting heavier, yet these ads are more repetitive than on TV. Does this need to be discussed more?
Whitney: Yes. Clutter is a big issue. Historically, one of the benefits of advertising with online video vs. linear TV was that it offered an environment that was less cluttered, which is detrimental to key metrics like awareness as well as brand and message recall. It’s key to be mindful of frequency capping in addressing clutter on behalf of consumers.
It’s also about looking at creating more ad executions and creating truly compelling ad executions, such as the KitchenAid video, to engage consumers. It’s a numbers game, but it’s also about the quality of the content brands are putting out there that engages consumers—so you don’t drive them away.
eMarketer: Besides streaming platforms, what opportunities are there in gaming platforms? Microsoft is planning on creating its own original video programming for Xbox, which could potentially carry ads.
Whitney: All of our clients are really interested in what Xbox is doing and how you can use the gaming platform as a marketing effort. Xbox is positioning itself as more of an entertainment destination and less of a specific gaming platform. We’re interested in the Kinect technology and the opportunity it provides to build native interactive brand experiences.
Xbox is still in the development phases in how this all comes together with original content as a pillar, but it is making a huge investment—in talent as well as in infrastructure. We’re watching it closely.
eMarketer: What are clients’ concerns when considering made-for-web video ads?
Whitney: At a high level, it still can often be a decision between linear TV dollars and online video dollars. The historical momentum behind what we know works on linear TV sometimes causes clients to pause. At the end of the day, dollars are finite, and we have to make decisions about where to invest in various channels.
We get many questions about the efficacy of online video vs. linear television. That said, within the online video environment, there are a couple of things we discuss a lot with clients. It’s a very complex marketplace with FEPs, online originals, endemic short-form [content], live streaming of events, multiple players, ad networks, and so forth. Frankly, it’s not easy to buy. A challenge we have put forth to publishers is to partner with us to make it easier to buy for our clients. We will all win in that scenario.
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