Last year marked an inflection point for video viewership. More than ever, people around the world relied on streaming platforms as their primary way to watch video. While we may be eager to put much of 2020 in the rear view, some trends – like video viewership – are here to stay. Here are a few ways advertisers are adapting to drive results.
People are watching record amounts of digital video. According to a Nielsen study, YouTube reached more adults ages 18 to 49 in the U.S. than all linear TV networks combined in March 2020. And the screen where viewership is growing the fastest? The TV screen. That same month, watch time of YouTube TV screens jumped 80% year over year. Forward-looking brands are making the most of reaching these engaged audiences. For example, when COVID-19 forced the closure of car dealerships across Canada, Kia recognized the scale and impact they could achieve on YouTube, seeing a 16% increase in digital leads and a 15% increase in market share.
In response to dramatic changes to shopping behavior, brands have made quick pivots to e-commerce to reach and engage potential customers across the purchase journey. Around the world, online video is proving to be a powerful performance driver. New research shows that 70% of viewers in the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia say they bought a brand as a result of seeing it on YouTube. More and more advertisers are seeing results from videos with action-oriented formats, collectively driving nearly 1 billion conversions in a year.
In the early days of the pandemic, brands had a lot of questions about how to build the most relevant, effective creative for this unprecedented time. What we learned: Business-as-usual ads that focused on the core fundamentals performed best. While brands didn’t necessarily have to make coronavirus ads to drive results, most recognized the need for agility and adapted creative to be relevant to people’s needs and mindsets. Brands that drove impact used innovative creative approaches and relevant ad formats to respond and get closer to customers.
Too often, longer term brand-building investments are cut first during a crisis, even when they’re critical to business growth. A study by Nielsen and YouGov analyzing sales and brand lift data across 20 CPG brands found that advertising yielded an 84% greater ROI when accounting for the long-term impact of brand lift metrics on sales. In other words, for every dollar of short-term return on ad spend, changes in brand equity yield an additional $0.84. On YouTube, brand building is particularly effective, with lift metrics 2.1X higher on average compared to linear TV.
Whether your objective is short-term sales or brand building, measurement has never been more critical. One size does not fit all, especially in a year of change and uncertainty that has impacted every market differently. But marketers are getting better at evaluating what’s working and quicker at optimizing on the fly. Maintaining a healthy appetite for test-and-learn experiments is key.
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that being flexible and adaptive is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Adjusting to the changes in consumer habits will help ensure that your videos are engaging the right audience.