From new ad tools on YouTube and Reddit to studies on 360° video performance and influencer compliance, check out what went on in advertising, marketing, and technology this week.
Google Unveils TrueView for Action Ads & Custom Intent Audiences on YouTube
At Search Marketing Expo this Tuesday, Google product manager Nicky Rettke unveiled several new direct-response advertising features coming to YouTube. The biggest news was their new ad format, TrueView for Action. It features a more prominent and customizable call-to-action (CTA) so you can encourage the behavior most desired from each ad. TrueView campaigns are automatically set with Target CPA bidding for the most efficient spend possible. They’ll work even harder for your brand when paired with custom intent audiences, which have just been extended to YouTube. Custom intent audiences allow you to reach people based on their recent search history. Advertisers have been able to target YouTube ads based on Google data since last January, but now you can simply create a video campaign in AdWords and add keywords related to their products or services their prospects might be searching. Both TrueView for Action ads and custom intent audiences is expected to expand to all accounts globally later this month.
From social media to Netflix, video has become one of the primary ways we interact with our world. It’s more important than ever to create video ads in you want to stay top-of-mind for consumers. But it isn’t just creating a great video ad or even a compelling CTA. It’s about reaching an audience that’s more likely to convert. Let’s say, you’re a travel company. If a user searches for flights or vacation packages on Google, you can pay to show your pre-roll ad next time they watch a YouTube video. Google included a ClassPass success story, who tested custom intent audience and TrueView for Action ads with a trial campaign. It was targeted to people who searched for information about New Year’s resolutions, yoga, pilates, brands in their network, and competitors. They saw a conversion lift from both Google and YouTube, noting a synergy they’d never experienced before.
360° Video More than Cool
An OmniVirt study of 700 million ads has revealed that 360° VR ads perform much better than regular advertising. Like, 300% higher click-thru rates, 46% higher video completion rates, and 14% increased viewability better. On average, OmniVirt found that viewers spend 31 seconds watching a 360° video. Plus, 86% of viewers choose to interact with 360 video when presented with the option. A media trial released by IPG Mediabrands’ MAGNA and RhythmOne saw similar results. 360° video made by BMW, Royal Caribbean, and PBS drove 7-10% higher purchase intent when compared with traditional video ads. They provide a way to engage with brands in an authentic way. When analyzing consumer appetite, they found consumers are actually eager to experience 360° video – even if it’s made by brands. Consumers have high expectations, though. They want to create their own journey, finding novelty in the customizable.
It’s hard to make content that sticks out from the pack these days. Viewer attention is in demand and competition is fierce. 360° virtual reality isn’t just cool. It works. By creating an immersive experience, they provide something more valuable than impressions: engagement and recall. One of the biggest benefits of 360 VR is the ability to integrate multiple facets of a brand offering instead of just one or two as with traditional ads. Brands may not have experimented much with them yet, but 360° videos show huge potential. This is especially true for brands with tech savvy and future-minded targets. Simple instructional cues can make the content more accessible for a wider audience. Of course, it’s about finding a balance between fun and effective. You want to move the needle on metrics that drive brand growth, which can be challenging considering the inherent distractions of the format. Contextual targeting could also be key. The same ad was perceived as 8% more relevant when run before other 360° content.
Quora & Reddit Launch Improved Ad Tools
Both Quora and Reddit have launched new advertiser tools this week. Question-and-answer platform Quora added List Match Audiences to their ads platform. Marketers can now upload a list of customer or prospect email addresses for audience targeting and exclusions as we can on other platforms. This new tool provides a third option for audience creation, after site visit and lookalike targeting. Then on Wednesday, Reddit announced new native ad opportunities for their mobile apps. According to an email to advertisers, its apps are the most popular way to reach Reddit’s 330 million monthly active users. The in-app promoted posts will look like a standard post, with upvotes, downvotes, and comment threads. This comes almost exactly one year after they launched their ads platform. They’ll be available for iOS on Monday, March 19th and roll out to Android in the following weeks.
Offerings like this remind us that Facebook, Twitter, and Google aren’t the only digital platforms worth advertising on. Consumers spread themselves across the internet and we can expect more destination sites to roll out advertising programs like Quora and Reddit have. It’s important to diversify your media mix, increasing your chances of finding consumers at the right moment. Keep up with your target, finding out where they spend time online. As long as they’re brand-safe, you shouldn’t ignore sites like Quora and Reddit.
What else you should know this week:
- Late last week, TechCrunch reported the latest Snapchat feature to enter the battle arena for millennial attention. Now, you can @-tag another user in your Snapchat Story by typing over a photo or video. The tag comes with a “swipe for More” option. If a viewer swipes up, they’ll see a tile with the tagged entity’s name, handle, and Bitmoji. Most importantly, they’ll be given the option to follow the user. This could help brands and influencers get more exposure and thus, build their following. Instagram offers a similar option, but one could argue the whole Instagram Stories feature was ripped from Snapchat. Surely, mirroring a tagging functionality can’t be worse. The announcement reflects Snapchat’s desire to better support its influencer base. The feature is currently in test mode and works across all account types.
- In other social news, Inkifi has released their State of Disclosure Amongst Instagram Influencers study. It reveals a troubling situation, as just 25% of Instagram influencers across the US, UK, and Canada are posting sponsored content following Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules. The study’s results varied by industry: fashion and beauty influencers were best at 33% FTC compliance and health and wellness influencers were worst at 16%. It isn’t that influencers aren’t trying to follow the rules. 71.5% of them attempt to disclose. They just aren’t doing it right. The FTC states that if a post is an ad, sponsored, or the review of free products and services, “it must be clearly stated in the first three lines of the caption.” As influencer marketing continues to grow and proves effective, brands need to be selective about which influencers they choose to work with. By not complying with the guidelines, both influencers and the brands they work with are vulnerable to fines and legal action.
- In this year’s Trust and Safety Report, Google’s stated that they’ve taken down more than 3.2 billion ads in 2017 for violating their advertiser policies. Sustainable Ads Director Scott Spencer noted that that’s more than 100 ads per second. It’s also nearly double the 1.7 billion ads removed in 2016. Reasons ranged from “trick-to-click” tactics that promise content but deliver sales pitches to unwanted software installation and malware-laden site links. In the same report, the Big G announced that they’re implementing new technology and new advertiser and publisher policies to combat the surge of bad ads and scammers. All this comes about a year full of brand safety issues, fake news trouble, and highly publicized extremist content within Google’s ad networks. There’s no way to know if these efforts will protect advertisers and consumers, but it’s noteworthy that the scam market is this saturated.