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An Interview with Doron Wesly

Head of Market Strategy at Tremor Video

Doron Wesly helps marketers understand the advertising impact of online video relative to all the other screens they use. Wesly has logged nearly 19 years of experience in traditional media and digital media planning, as well as deploying cross-media studies, marketing mix models and attribution modeling.

Prior to joining Tremor Video, Wesly was the senior managing partner and leader of business science and planning for North America at Mindshare. There, he led a multidisciplinary team that included consumer insights, competitive intelligence, digital analytics, business planning and advanced analytics.

He also served as global media director at Cheil Worldwide, Samsung’s in-house ad agency, and as a vice president within Millward Brown’s Strategic Services. In addition, he worked at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), leading industry research efforts.

Can you describe your role at Tremor Video?

Doron Wesly: I focus on creating Tremor Video’s original research. When we set the timeline for 2014 in terms of how we are going to market, what we are going to talk about and how we are going to provide evidence and inspiration behind our thinking, the goal is to do original research, using qualitative, quantitative and advanced analytics. We create content around key industry events that will help people understand why sight, sound, motion and touch are important, how it works in the digital world and how it works across all screens.

We also help document what we believe in. For example, to support our performance-based video ad offering (when a person engages with the video), we have researched the value of an engagement vs. an impression to show how it provides a significant lift in purchase intent. We always want to understand what is driving success for our clients, whether it’s completion, engagement or brand lift.

We also work very closely with the research community including the Media Rating Council (MRC), the IAB, the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). And I maintain a seat on the MRC’s board.

What makes this work so challenging?

Wesly: We’re working on the way audiences’ actual and potential reach are currently being reported as well as the definitions of those terms. How do we make sure the market is not confused by all the technology out there as well as the ad networks? Our goal is to help make things more clear for the industry. Our biggest research effort each year is Video Lives, our global ethnography study. Video Lives has been running for two years—last year we worked with L’Oréal, and this year we’re working with Marriott International.

What are you doing with the Video Lives platform?

Wesly: As an advertising platform, we have a lot of information about streams, clicks, engagement and brand lift, which is good behavioral data. And we obviously have quantitative data. What we’re sometimes missing is an understanding of what’s actually happening with people in their homes. And that’s why we do the Video Lives global ethnography study.

We sit down, spend time with people and try to unearth what the changing family dynamics are in terms of decision-making processes. This year, we came up with the experience model, which enables marketers to better understand how kids and parents come to a decision together about a variety of purchases in the household. The study looks at the role video plays in families’ lives. We focused on the type of information consumers are looking for: What format do they prefer to look at, and why is that preferred?

Overwhelmingly we found that sight, sound and motion evoke emotion and enable people to imagine things more vividly. They prefer video over images or text because they can actually see themselves as part of the action.

Would you say your original research is a form of content marketing?

Wesly: I’m like a storyteller. If you look at the 19 original research pieces that we’ve issued over the past 20 months, what we’re trying to do is tell a compelling story. Not a story about Tremor, but about peoples’ behavior and why moving images are an increasingly important way for people to communicate messages.

Can you explain Tremor’s programmatic solution for more brand-oriented campaigns?

Wesly: In September 2013, we announced the arrival of our programmatic buying platform built for brand performance, VideoHub Connect, which we are currently testing with select partners. We believe that VideoHub Connect is the only demand-side platform (DSP) to allow marketers three dimensions of bidding—price, brand performance and reach—rather than typically trading price and reach.

What are the biggest obstacles you’re facing?

Wesly: The biggest challenges are getting people to rethink the creative part and measurement. A lot of the great creative agencies come up with fantastic ideas for television commercials first. They often don’t know that the video ad is going to play on many other screens—whether it’s out-of-home, digitally, or on a tablet or mobile phone.

The other obstacle is measurement. A lot of people have a misconception about what video brings to the table, saying you can extend reach with your video campaign. We’ve done tons of testing on this with Nielsen data fusion in the US and the UK—it can go anywhere between 0.5% incremental reach up to a max of about 6%. But mostly it resides between those two variables. You never see much more than that. And the reason for that is that most video campaigns have a base TV campaign that reaches 60% to 80% of the population, both in the UK and the US. So, it’s very difficult to simply say that video, by definition, is going to increase your reach efficiently. However, video can effectively increase the brand impact when combined with TV.

A lot of agencies are just not measuring video in the correct way. They’re either not measuring it at all, or they’re measuring clickthrough rates—which isn’t great—or they’re measuring streams.

From a measurement perspective, a lot of marketers are still flying blind when it comes to understanding the contribution that video makes to their overall sales. So measurement is a challenge. It’s hard for them to measure the impact of online video because they’re all focused on general incremental reach instead of on the nuance of light TV viewers vs. heavy TV viewers.

How should they be thinking about it?

Wesly: Two ways. One, they need to start understanding what the impact is on their light, heavy and medium TV viewers so that they can understand the benefits of adding video to their campaigns and how it enhances their television buy and investment. For example, if they’re only able to be on TV for eight to 12 weeks at a time, video can extend some of the impact that TV delivers initially when they’re off the air.

We’re also trying to help them think about their return on investment (ROI) measurements. Instead of just thinking about regression analysis with marketing mix models, we’re trying to inspire them with new innovative techniques that are typically called agent-based modeling (ABN), which enable them to have a little bit more fluidity of data.

How do you typically use eMarketer when you’re doing presentations or pitching new business?

Wesly: We consider eMarketer one of the wisest research investments any company can make for a lot of reasons. The team is really good—the analyst team is strong, with people who have a wide range of backgrounds and can really turn data into meaningful insights.

The Global Media Intelligence (GMI) report is critical. Every marketer and every salesperson should have it handy and use those stats when they can. Our business intelligence groups that forecast revenue perspectives, potentials and understand the market challenges use it for forecasting purposes. And the comparative estimates are, in a sense, like eMarketer is essentially doing the “poll of polls.”

Why is the GMI report so compelling to your team?

Wesly: We don’t live in just a video world or digital world—we live in a marketing world. And the GMI report provides trends by region that are important for us to know because we are playing in a world where search, display, TV, radio and out-of-home all play a role in the overall ecosystem. We all have to play nicely in the sandbox. Video and TV are complementary—that’s our core message. That’s what video is: TV with benefits. If we’re constantly focused on that message and the message of bringing the certainty of science to the art of brand marketing, the GMI report enables us to understand where video fits in, as well as where the growth opportunities and pain points are for marketers.

That’s why the report is so important. It also gives an overall overview as to what’s happening in EMEA vs. what’s happening in North America and Latin America, which is helpful in understanding new markets.

How else do you use eMarketer?

Wesly: There are two groups that actively use eMarketer. One is the sales marketing team that creates category presentations. So when we try to understand what’s important in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) world or the automotive world, those category-specific and country-specific reports help. Those reports are very helpful because we use the trends defined in them to help marketers get a sense of what’s going on in the marketplace. Our salespeople also try to understand every possible datapoint that will make them look strong.

Are there any other recent instances in which eMarketer has been beneficial?

Wesly: Recently, we did an overview of the video landscape for all 18 brands of Marriott. We provided the company with a lot of background on where video is heading. So that set the mood for the conversation about brand lift. It’s mostly the eMarketer charts that we put into our own visualizations.

What would you say you like best about eMarketer?

Wesly: I love the people, I love the insights and I love the analysts. Ever since the mobile app became available, it’s just easier sometimes to just catch up on eMarketer via mobile instead of going to the website.

For me, a world without eMarketer is like flying a plane without a GPS. You provide us with a long-term view to help us find relevant market opportunities in the business. And in terms of digital, nobody else covers our interactive world as well as eMarketer does. I don’t think I’ve ever had a job where I didn’t have eMarketer. I just couldn’t imagine it.

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Doron Wesly

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