Google to Improve YouTube’s Cross-Device Metrics and Satisfy User Privacy Concerns

Google recently announced that it will take steps to improve YouTube metrics reporting for its advertisers, while addressing privacy concerns for users. It will rely less on pixel and cookie data to give advertisers an idea of how their video campaigns are faring, and focus on developing better mobile video tracking tools. On the user side, viewers will be able to mute advertisers that track them with irrelevant ads. Google is trying to strike a balance between transparency and control for viewers, and better, highly refined metrics for advertisers.

Why the sudden move away from pixels and cookies?

Google’s blog, Inside AdWords, indicated that 50% of all YouTube video viewing now happens on mobile. Traditional desktop tracking tools don’t provide an accurate overview for mobile based video campaigns because pixels and cookies were not designed for the way users interact with YouTube on mobile. This means measurement can be skewed. Google is developing a new way of measuring viewership to rectify this discrepancy.

How is this a win for advertisers?

In addition to a clearer view of campaign dynamics, it allows advertisers to reach the right audience. The new tool will provide accurate metrics to advertisers across devices. Information from a user’s Google account, such as past searches and Customer Match, can be used to suggest the ads they see on YouTube. In addition to this, Google will also allow advertisers to use their own data to target high value YouTube shoppers.

For viewers, Google will put the control back in their hands by allowing them to mute a particular advertiser across multiple platforms. For example, if a user has purchased a gym membership and is still being tracked with gym promotions, they can mute that advertiser.

According to AdExchanger, the new system will be cloud based with Google collaborating with several Media Rating Council third party vendors. This initiative was recently rolled out to a few select advertisers.

The Top 3 Metrics for Tracking Video Success

Video became popular in 2015, but truly exploded in 2016.  By including a video on a landing page, you can increase conversion rates by 80%. In addition, after watching a video, 64% of viewers are more likely to buy a product online, with 90% of users saying that product videos are helpful during the decision process. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now, video is crucial to your marketing strategy.

In light of the recent Facebook video metrics scandal, it’s more important than ever for marketers to repair the damage to advertiser’s reputations by ensuring that metrics are correctly tracked and accurately measured. Although Facebook issued an apology, and marketers tried to downplay this gaffe, with 85% of digital ad spend going to giants like Facebook and Google, their actions can have a serious impact on future marketing practices and affect trust within the industry.

So what metrics matter when tracking video? We’ve listed some suggestions to get you started tracking correctly, and accurately for your next video campaigns.

Beyond “Views”

Many marketers rely on this metric as the end all be all of their video measurement strategy, yet it tells you nothing if you can’t demonstrate that the views are driving traffic to your website or concrete conversions.  If the viewers aren’t your target market, then it really doesn’t matter if you receive a million views because they won’t be purchasing your products or services.
If you really want to accurately assess whether your campaign is working, you need to dig deeper and look at measurement values from play rates, completion rate, and lead generation.

Play Rate

The “play rate”, i.e., the percentage of people who click on your video divided by the total number who access the page where your video is embedded, is a better measurement for ROI versus “views”. A play rate above 50% is considered ideal. What does that mean exactly? Play rate tells you whether you’ve done a good job of presenting engaging video content, by letting you know if your video was appealing and grabbed viewer attention.  If you discover your play rate is low, it means that you need to make some changes such as making your video more interactive and interesting to capture, and more importantly, retain your audience’s attention.

Completion Rate

How long are people staying tuned into your video?  By looking at completion rates, you can get a sense of the impact your video has had. The amount of time they are actually engaged with your content and what they do with it is a much better marker of success that just “views”. This is a good metric to use when judging the effectiveness of branding campaigns.

If you are using the skippable ads format on YouTube consider how many people skip the ad after 5 seconds. This is a good indication as to whether your video is compelling enough or perhaps you are not reaching the right audience.

Lead Generation

Video advertising is an excellent means of attracting attention and initial interest in your product or services. Video tends to do better than other forms of lead generation for garnering conversions and currently accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. Beyond click and convesion statistics, there are a few other metrics to look at to judge campaign performance including post view website visits and prompted searches.

How can marketers capitalise on video for viable leads?

  • Create “how-to” videos, and offer tips and assistance. Show that you have something valuable and unique to offer them.
  • Include a strong CTA at the end of the video to draw viewers to download an app, fill out a form, or visit your website to get more information
  • Be authentic by creating videos that showcase the people behind your brand to get viewer buy-in. Concretely explain what you do and how you can help your viewers.
  • Take advantage of formats where you can insert lead generation forms directly in the video. While this form of gatekeeping may turn some viewers away, the ones you do capture have a much higher likelihood of converting because they have demonstrated a genuine interest in the product or service your video is offering.
  • If you’re using YouTube, you can add CTAs via YouTube Annotations  to drive desired viewers back to your landing page

Video is here to stay will continue to grow exponentially in 2017 and beyond. It’s now a vital part of marketing campaigns, no longer the afterthought it was a scant three or four years ago. Marketers need to look beyond how many “views” they’re receiving to get an accurate picture of what is and isn’t working in video campaigns, and how they can best incorporate other metrics into their future strategies.

To learn more about top advertising platforms for video, download our latest whitepaper: The Importance of Video Advertising in a Digital World.

In-House or Outsourced? Answering the Age Old Question

When it comes to deciding between building an in-house digital team or outsourcing activity to an agency the question remains; is there really a best practice? While there are no hard-and-fast rules, we’ve included some suggestions that can help you decide where you want to invest your resources.

Some industry experts suggest that whether you outsource or keep work in-house depends on specialisation – the more specialised the work, the better it is to outsource. The logic behind this stems from the high costs – or more accurately, the hidden costs, associated with hiring full-time staff: benefits, training, pension, and paid vacation. Outsourced agencies are often cheaper – they might charge more upfront, but they are not as costly as on boarding a new full-time employee. There is little overhead involved in terms of provisions.  Another added benefit: the results are highly focused to get the job done.

The downside to outsourcing? Agencies can have many clients and you might be on the bottom of their food chain when it comes to prioritising who gets the most attention. This is why choosing the correct agency is fundamental to success. Internal teams can generally be cobbled together quicker and pulled off other projects to resolve an urgent problem immediately. But ultimately outsourcing is a great idea when you require a  definitive and specialised strategy.

Let’s break it down by category:

PPC – Both

When looking to run PPC activity it depends upon the life stage of your business and campaign size. Most companies start small, with in-house PPC activity but when it comes to trying to scale business growth campaigns begin to get too large and costly. At this stage, the company may be in a better position to afford outside agencies that can conduct efficient and cutting edge campaigns. A good outsourced agency will also develop close-knit relationships with their clients, becoming a veritable extension of the team and it only feels “out of house” by virtue of their location.

Once a company is significantly mid-sized, it’s often better to outsource to a digital specialist, since they often have expertise that multi-channel marketers are lacking and don’t have the time to invest in. Large companies often split efforts between in-house PPC for smaller campaigns while passing off the heavy lifting and high-end campaigns to outside agencies. Sometimes in-house can run spend into the ground because they don’t have the in-depth knowledge or scope to absorb new technologies or techniques as efficiently as possible.

Display – Outsource

The general consensus is that Display activity is better outsourced than held in-house. Why? It’s too specialised and would require a trained individual, fully immersed in Display activity for it to be viable, as they need to provide accurate attribution, and assessment activities. Most small companies rely on having a ‘Jack-of-All-Trades’ marketing person dabbling in PPC, Social, SEO and Display. For bigger campaigns, it’s best to spend the money and get a specialist who really knows what they’re doing, has the time to run campaigns across several channels, and the time to devote to using a multitude of tools.

Paid Social – Outsource

Social is like PPC in that, depending on your situation, the pendulum can swing both ways. The basic break down is this: Paid Social should be outsourced, Organic social, kept in-house. If the company is relatively small it’s best to save money and keep activity in-house. Paid Social has moved well beyond just occasionally “boosting” posts. It now has a vast array of complex, time-intensive, targeting techniques that might be best handled by specialists who won’t waste precious ad-spend targeting the wrong group of people, and who can also quickly, and correctly analyse data for the next campaign.

Integrating Your Digital Strategy

Lastly, a benefit that cannot be overlooked is an outsourced digital agency’s ability to deliver a fully integrated approach. Outsourcing doesn’t have to be siloed into just one area. In fact, a cross-channel digital strategy is far more effective. Integrating your strategy means that campaigns results can be deduped for higher accuracy, advertisers gain a better understanding of the customer journey, audience lists can be built and used in retargeting across channels, and it is easier to deliver a full-funnel approach.

If you’re looking to scale business growth and run integrated digital activity in a  quick, efficient and cost-effective manner, a digital agency already has the capacity to hit the ground running with a workhorse of a team behind them.