by Cindy Brown, CRO, ViralGains
Mobile video accounts for the lion’s share of total digital video consumption, according to the most recent IAB data. But rather than throwing budgets at mobile video because it’s popular, or because there’s a perception as to who’s on mobile, advertisers should take a customer-centric approach by allocating dollars to mobile video only when doing so aligns with the customer journey.
A Media Plan Shouldn’t Be a Template
For all the talk of breaking down silos, media plans still reflect the logic of agency silos, where budget is allocated by channel, regardless of efficacy. Just as telling, media plans often include audience assumptions like: younger consumers are more likely to be on mobile. It’s time to slay those old ideas.
For starters, advertisers need to reject media plan templates. One clue that you’re looking at a template is if the plan corresponds exactly to the agency’s respective teams, as opposed to the advertiser’s specific needs. If the media plan feels like it could apply to every campaign, it’s not good for any campaign.
Second, we need to kill the assumption that mobile equals young. The reality is that smartphone penetration is approaching between 80 and 90 percent in most advanced markets, according to Zenith Media. Many years ago, mobile was the place to reach a younger audience, but today practically everyone is on mobile, regardless of age or tech savviness. Consequently, the question isn’t whether your audience is on mobile (they are) — it’s when should you reach them on mobile and with what message.
Follow the Customer
From the start, advertisers need to think strategically by asking what their goals are relative to the audience they want to reach. Answering that question tells you a lot about the kind of content you need to produce, as well as the appropriate platforms for distribution.
If the goal is to drive awareness, advertisers should be thinking about longer videos — 30 seconds and beyond. Remember, the idea here is to pique your audience’s interest, hold their attention, and tell them a story that resonates. That kind of interaction can happen on mobile — of course — but it’s much more likely to work on tablet or desktop. For one thing, mobile video isn’t quite at the point where everyone can watch long videos wherever they go. The bigger issue is audience expectation — our attention spans are longer when we aren’t on the go.
In contrast, shorter videos (about six seconds) play better with mobile audiences. One reason is that the shorter the video, the more likely it is to work without connectivity issues. But more important, a shorter video matches the expectations of the mobile audience. The short video is a quick burst of information for an audience on the move. Consequently, the information contained in that video is more appropriate for the conversations that live deeper in the customer journey. In other words, mobile video is more than likely the ideal vehicle for a six-second bottom-of-funnel call to action.
Let the Voice of the Customer Lead the Way
Of course, picking a strategy and corresponding video production and distribution plan isn’t an either-or proposition. In fact, most advertisers need to raise awareness of their products and services, as well as drive sales.
The beauty of digital video is that it gives advertisers the power to engage customers in ongoing, increasingly personalized conversations. At the beginning, the conversations should center around awareness, but over time, those conversations will become more focused. The key is for advertisers to ask questions, and to respond accordingly, along the way.
For example, a customer might react favorably to a 30-second auto spot, but how likely are they to purchase that type of car or vehicle? By asking that question, advertisers can better understand customers, their preferences, and where they are in the customer journey. Equipped with the voice of the customer, advertisers can engage current and prospective customers with relevant messages that resonate with who they are and where they are in their journey.
While increasing relevance may seem like an obvious objective for advertisers, doing so requires a dramatic operational shift toward sequential messaging, and letting the voice of the customer lead the way. Within that new paradigm, mobile isn’t a channel, but rather a space where advertisers intersect with customers who should already be familiar with their brands and messages. Getting there isn’t about fitting your audience into your media plan — it’s a matter of constructing a media plan that fits your audience.
This article originally appeared on ANA’s Driving Growth.