The Importance of a Contextual Marketing Strategy for Video
Media plan ROI will take center stage as more dollars move to digital in 2020. Previously, linear budgets were often allocated based on content adjacency and GRPs, with measurement coming in the form of share of voice and years-long media mix models. On digital, brands can evaluate content performance to learn more quickly and measure more deeply. Content targeting has evolved into a more sophisticated approach that can be called contextual marketing.
The benefits of focusing on contextual marketing performance in digital, and especially video, are twofold. Brands can control what type of content they don’t want to buy, protecting the brand and saving valuable media budget. They can also determine what contextual elements are most valuable for the brand in terms of real performance and actively target based on this insight.
Contextual Performance Offers Better Control
According to a report published by Ebiquty, up to 65% of UK advertisers reported running in brand-unsafe environments. This doesn’t begin to capture the volume of brand unsuitable, contextually misaligned and therefore underperforming placements. Beyond reputationally damaging placements, many advertisers must measure the impact that contextual alignments have on ad performance and long-term brand goals.
Brands shifting dollars to digital video need to consider the dynamic nature of video content and have a strategy that maximizes contextual marketing performance. Brands can identify and remove contextual performance wastage in the form of brand unsafe or unsuitable investments, which can hurt short term and long-term goals. With these same metrics, they can also continually monitor their media plan as new content is posted. Online, brands can understand how engaged their audience is with the content, if they clicked through to more content, and even if and why they purchased.
The New Contextual Targeting
In 2019, Google announced increased restrictions on the use of cookie targeting in their Chrome browser, which hurts advertisers’ ability to use behavioral targeting. Following GDPR, many US states, including California’s CCPA laws, will make it easier for consumers to limit the use of their data for targeting. These market dynamics are encouraging brands to look for other effective ways to target their advertising. Contextual targeting is a viable alternative.
Each major publisher and platform offers millions of videos that contain a wealth of information to create a much more sophisticated approach to contextual performance targeting than ever before. Publishers and platforms know a lot about the audiences that engage with different types of content and have a lot of levers for brands to pull.
For example, Hulu touts their contextual sponsorships as much more than content-based ad options. They marry proprietary insights with contextual data from millions of videos to deliver a customized product for individual brands. Platforms like Google and even eBay offer more automated contextual targeting. Google’s “Custom Intent Audiences” uses a variety of content and contextual marketing data to replicate behavioral targeting capabilities but in a way that is free from privacy restrictions.
Optimizing Contextual Marketing Across Channels
As brands develop more sophisticated contextual marketing strategies with agencies and media partners, it's also important for brands to find ways to unify their strategy by applying agreed upon industry standards. The IAB’s standard is a good place to start. When mapped to the various proprietary targeting taxonomies each platform uses, the IAB standard will enable brands to better analyze specific contextual themes that work cross-channel. They can them get granular with understanding contextual performance, pull out types of content to avoid, which can be applied across their whole media plan, rather than languishing within a single network or platform.
Media buyers are doing 20-30x what they did 10 years ago. That requires a richer level of scrutiny. As an industry, we need to alter the discussion about online video media buying. Contextual video offers brands the levers to minimize risk and maximize performance.
Tony Chen, featured in Forbes 30 under 30, interrupted his economics and classical piano program at Rice University to launch one of the most promising digital video advertising companies in the United States. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Channel Factory helps top brands and agencies maximize YouTube and video marketing and has recently expanded its operations across Europe and Asia.
Tony's passion for turning opportunity into success extends beyond Channel Factory's rapid rise. He is an active investor in FabFitFun, a lifestyle subscription service, and Outreach.io, a sales technology company named by Forbes in their Next Billion Dollar Startups list in 2018.