23rd May 2017

Utilising video on demand advertising campaigns

Rebecca Morton
Read time: 6min
Left Angle Mask

What is VOD?

VOD, otherwise known as Video on Demand, is a great way for advertisers to broadcast video content across quality inventory that is relevant to their key target audience, without the big budget of a terrestrial TV campaign.

VOD advertisements are video adverts that are aired through on-demand services that are made available by TV broadcasters, such as ITV Hub and All 4. As ads are aired on a digital platform users can easily click through to the site from the on-demand platform, which increases the chances of a direct response compared with more traditional media formats (such as terrestrial TV, print etc.).

In addition, there are multiple ad formats available across VOD and targeting can be very sophisticated, to ensure that you’re reaching the correct audience. Further to this, campaigns are measurable and can be reported on as you would report on any other digital display activity, so you can easily track performance.

Why run a VOD campaign?

  • The Market is growing

On-demand viewing has increased on a yearly basis, with its market value rising from £311m in 2016 to £344m in 2016 (Mintel). Users are turning to on-demand services as they become accustomed to watching TV programmes when it best suits them, rather than sticking to a TV schedule.This trend has become more prominent in recent years, as on-demand services become more widely available. Therefore through running a VOD campaign you’re more likely to hit your target audience at a time when they are more engaged, as they are actively choosing to catch up on content at that specific time.

In addition, research shows that 4X consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than
read about it, which highlights the importance of including video advertising within your marketing strategy.

  • Campaigns can be highly targeted

With VOD being a digital channel it is not surprising that campaigns can be highly targeted, which means you can get quite granular with your targeting setup to ensure that you’re hitting the correct audience (assuming that the audience is large enough in the first place).

There are multiple ways in which you can target an audience, be it through targeting a specific social grade (which is done through selecting a cluster of pre-selected programmes) or choosing your own selection of specific programmes.

Further to this you have the option to target users based on their geographic location and can also apply ad scheduling to activity so that your ad is only shown at specific times of the day or days of the week. This is particularly useful if you are looking to drive people to a store in their local area, or if you are urging users to contact via the phone, as the ad scheduling can be aligned with your call centre hours.

As with any activity, being able to get so granular is great, however, it will impact your reach, which in turn may bring the budget below minimum spends. As a result, there are limitations to how much targeting you can overlay at one time, although this will vary based on the campaign requirements. However, there are ways to get around this. For instance, you could reduce the targeting that you’re overlaying for the initial campaign, then test the targeting you didn’t use in the first month of the campaign during the second month, so that you have a rough indication as to which performed best (please note, other factors will also impact on performance, but this will give an idea of what works well).

  • Strong audience engagement that is measurable

Often video campaigns are seen as a brand awareness driving format, rather than direct response. However in our experience, we have seen click-through rates (CTR) come in much higher for VOD campaigns when compared with YouTube advertisements, suggesting that users are more inclined to click through to site than on other video placements.

A positive to running a VOD campaign is the fact that you can clearly measure performance, meaning that you are able to keep track of the number of conversions that have been carried out off the back of the campaign. In addition, depending on your tagging setup this also means that you can look at the wider picture and pull assist-data to see how your VOD campaign is influencing your wider digital activity, which in turn allows you to see and prove the worth of the campaign more so that a terrestrial campaign.

  • Potentially lower investment costs than terrestrial TV

As well as being highly targeted, VOD campaigns can also be very cost-effective, with minimum spends coming in much lower than you’d be looking to invest if you were to run a terrestrial TV campaign.

Minimum spends vary by provider and will be impacted by the chosen targeting setup and campaign duration.

  • Multiple creative formats available

Unlike terrestrial TV advertising, VOD advertisements come in a variety of formats and the offering is constantly growing.

Other than a standard video format there are a number of other options available, such as banner overlays, weather triggered ads, extended video and paused screen formats just to name a few! The ad format is an important consideration when setting up a campaign, as different formats will work better for different KPIs. For example, a clothing company may want to use the Ad Explore Ribbon on ITV (whereby products will appear in a ribbon as they appear in the video), or you may want to use the Ad Explore Extend option if you have a longer video to share which is focused on Branding (this option allows users to choose to watch an extended video if they like, rather than the standard 30-second ad).

What to consider when running a VOD campaign

  • Audience

As you would when approaching any campaign, it is important to first consider the audience that you are planning to target, as VOD will not be relevant for all audiences groups. Planning tools such as TGI are great at helping identify how your target audience uses different types of media, which will point you in the right direction to ensure that you are hitting them on the correct platform.

Assuming that your audience resonates well with VOD, the next step is to pinpoint the interests of your audience and outline their typical daily routine (through a ‘day in the life scenario). This will steer you in the right direction in terms of how best to reach your target audience and will help define the scheduling of your campaign (e.g. up-weight the campaign in the morning, as this is when your audience are most active on VOD services or pause on the weekend as the audience is not typically active during this period).

Further to this, knowing the typical interests of your target audience will help define the programming that you want your advert to appear before, ensuring that the campaign is as relevant as it can be for your audience, which in turn will achieve a stronger engagement and improved ROI.

  • KPI and Measurement

Before progressing with the creative it is important to decipher the KPIs for the campaign, as this will influence the creative format and style of the advert. Are you looking to drive awareness, or do you want users to respond directly to the ad, be it via clicking through to site, calling a number or sharing something on social media?

As VOD campaigns are digital we are able to measure them in the same way that you would a typical digital campaign, meaning that we have sight of the number of impressions served and clicks to site. Assuming that your site is also tagged you can then track activity all the way through to conversion if the aim of the campaign is for users to carry out an action on the landing page (complete a sale, share something on social media etc.)

  • Creative

Once you’ve decided on the target audience and KPIs of the campaign it is time to work on the creative aspect. As with any media channel, you need to ensure that VOD creative is eye-catching and will both grab and maintain the audience’s attention.

The good news is the user is more likely to already be engaged with your ad on VOD, as they are actively choosing to consume content at this time. As a result, the main goal is to ensure that you can maintain the user’s attention so that they watch the entire ad and are in turn more likely to carry out the desired response, rather than getting them to watch it in the first place.

With video creative, we would always recommend that you include your branding within the first 5 seconds of an ad, as typically this will help users to remember your brand and your offering.

Still have questions or need help in getting your campaign setup? Get in touch with a member of the equimedia team today and we’d be more than happy to help.