How to Increase Engagement on Sponsored Video Campaigns

How to Increase Engagement on Sponsored Video Campaigns

Brands That Get the Views and the Engagement on Sponsored Video Content Is it even possible to get high views and high engagement on a video ad campaign or promoted video content? So, according to data that is independent, impartial, and unbiased, video ads, branded videos, and sponsored videos can get high views, high engagement, and even a high engagement rate. And then use data and insights when creating content worth sharing. So, paid video campaigns – even ones backed by big budgets – aren’t going to get lots of engagement or high engagement rates if you’ve got run-of-the-mill video content. The first thing to look at is your top 10 videos as measured by watch time. The website says DealMaker is tracking “140k sponsored videos, 30k campaigns 15k brand sponsors, and 15k content partners.” Well, I double-checked over the weekend and DealMaker has tracked 202k sponsored videos, 101k campaigns 41.4k brand sponsors, and 36.4k content partners across 24 industries, 21 genres, and 173 countries. #3 Rethink your advertising formats and targeting. Because demographics don’t help you understand what you really need to know – consumer intent – what consumers are looking for in an exact moment they are looking to find it. For example, if you target the “automotive” topic, then your ad will show on YouTube to people watching videos about cars. Otherwise, you could end up targeting the wrong audience – people who are kinda, sorta relevant, so they watch more than 30 seconds of your video ad, but not especially interested at the moment, so they don’t engage with it.

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Sponsored content is a form of advertising media intended to educate, entertain, and engage consumers by delivering an intentional message about a brand’s product or services. But what’s the secret sauce for increasing engagement on your sponsored video content?

Brands That Get the Views and the Engagement on Sponsored Video Content

Is it even possible to get high views and high engagement on a video ad campaign or promoted video content? Let’s look at the numbers to find out.

According to Tubular Intelligence, there are 181 videos from 91 brands that have more than 1 million engagements as well as 5 million views. Okay, that thins the herd. And one of the top ones is “Shell | Best Day Of My Life,” which has 164 million views and 2.9 million engagements. It features superstars Jennifer Hudson, Luan Santana, Pixie Lott, Yemi Alade, Steve Aoki & #TanWeiWei, so this an example of “trackvertising,” so maybe that’s not the example that you were looking for.

So, check out “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop,” which was created by the Harmon Brothers. The Facebook version has 139 million views and 2.5 million engagements. Oh, and the YouTube version has another 32.4 million views and 821,000 engagements.

“This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop” also generated more that lots of likes, comments, and shares. The campaign also increased online sales of Squatty Potty by more than 600% and retail sales of the toilet stool by over 400% helping the company to sell more than 4 million products in the U.S. to date. So, maybe your objective should be high engagement/high sales.

So that’s a quick look at video ads, but what about sponsored content?” Well, it’s true. Sponsored content is a form of advertising media intended to educate, entertain, and engage consumers by delivering an intentional message about a brand’s product or services.

So, let’s look at sponsored videos more than 5 million views and 1 million engagements. There are 26 of them from 16 accounts. Now, let’s sort them using ER30, which measures a video or publisher’s engagement rate benchmarked across all content.

“FIFA 18 | FUELED BY RONALDO,” which has 10.5 million views, 1 million engagements, and is sponsored by EA SPORTS FIFA on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Facebook page, has and ER30 of 4.0x, which means it is 4 times more engaging than average. The YouTube version, which isn’t sponsored but is on the EA SPORTS FIFA channel, has an additional 7.8 million views, 185,000 engagements, and an ER30 of 2.2x.

So, according to data that is independent, impartial, and unbiased, video ads, branded videos, and sponsored videos can get high views, high engagement, and even a high engagement rate. But, they are as rare as hens’ teeth.

However, as I pointed out in my column on Red Bull quietly changing its video marketing strategy, trying to create monster tent-pole event like “Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k” is so five years ago. The new-new strategy is to create scores of small tent-peg events that are held throughout the year.

Find the Right Partner to Work With

Or, the latest trend in the digital video business is to identify a large portfolio of micro influencers who can give you more bang for you buck. If you need an example, check out “9 Things You NEED To Know Before College!” from Mikey Murphy. It’s one of four sponsored videos created by three partners for Bed Bath & Beyond. Now, it’s only got 149,00 views, but it also has 17,700 engagements. That gives it an ER30 of 9.6x. And another sponsored video, “BACK TO SCHOOL ADVICE” from Andrew Lowe, only has 89,900 views, but it also has 9,341 engagements. That gives it an ER30 of 10.0x. Get it? Got it? Good.

Strategic Insights for Raising Engagement

Based on the critical data above, here are 3 strategic insights:

#1 Most video marketers are focused on telling a story visually, but the sound track can also have a huge impact on engagement. In fact, viewers discover, watch, and share a ton of music videos and lots of savvy marketers have created some very successful “trackvertising” to tap into this phenomenon. So, use your ears as well as your eyes with creating and editing video advertising.

#2 It’s also worth noting that “This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop” is 2:53, “FUELED BY RONALDO” is 0:49, and “BACK TO SCHOOL ADVICE” is 8:58. So, maybe we’ve identified a hidden barrier to your success. If your pre-conceived notion of “video ad campaigns” is repurposed “30-second commercials,” then maybe you shouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority of your paid video campaigns have high views/low engagement. “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

#3 If your goal is to get lots of views, then you can run a massive campaign for an extended period of time and bludgeon viewers into watching your video ad for more than 3 second on Facebook or 30 seconds on YouTube (or the duration if it’s shorter than 30 seconds). But if your goal is also to get high engagement, then your content needs to draw “a high-arousal positive emotional response,” as Karen Nelson-Field observed in Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing.

3 Key Steps to Boosting Engagement on Paid Video Campaigns

So, what can you do to boost engagement on paid video campaigns?

#1 First, make great video content. That’s right, stop thinking that you’re producing are ads. Focus instead on making videos worth watching. And then use data and insights when creating content worth sharing. Why? Because you are competing directly or indirectly with 17.1 million other videos that were uploaded during the past week, according to Tubular Insights. So, paid video campaigns – even ones backed by big budgets – aren’t going to get lots of engagement or high engagement rates if you’ve got run-of-the-mill video content.

Suzie Reider, an old friend and former colleague who is now the Managing Director Brand Solutions at Google, shared this concept back in 2008 when she gave a presentation to The Ad Club in Boston that was entitled, “Marketing with Video.” Back then, she advised advertisers to “create ads that work as content.” And as an example, she showed “Amazing Ball girl catch,” a Gatorade commercial directed by Baker Smith of Harvest Films. Today, this “video content” has 6.4 million views and 19,600 engagements.

If you’re looking for more tactical advice for making compelling and effective video content, then read the “guidelines for great creative” section in the YouTube Playbook for Creative Advertising. Or, watch “Facebook Video: Data-Driven Insights & Best Practices” webinar replay, which features Carla Marshall, my editor-in-chief, and Mark Robertson, the founder of ReelSEO (now Tubular Insights).

So, where can you find data and insights on the kind of video that’s worth watching as well as the type of content that is engaging enough to generate likes, comments, and shares? Well, start with YouTube Analytics. (It’s free.) The first thing to look at is your top 10 videos as measured by watch time….

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