About video ads and measuring length in kilograms

Ever since it was invented in the mid-twenties, television has been the best friend of  businesses that sell commodity products to consumers. Stuff like FMCG, automotive, fashion, has always been the easiest to sell by running TV ads on prime time television, for one simple reason: the TV ad is one of the very few advertising formats (if not the only) that can create an emotional connection with people. So in order to make you pick PEPSI rather than CocaCola from the shelf, PEPSI has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads for the last few decades.

Fast forward almost a century later, and a big chunk of those TV budgets are moving to online video, for one very simple reason: better ways to measure ROI. Which is great and all, but there’s one tiny problem: we’re measuring the wrong things.

Let me put it this way: if you ask an advertiser to tell you what they want out of their TV / online video campaigns, they will say this: reach and brand awareness. That’s it. Because they know that if they create better brand awareness for more people, their sales will increase. Doh! But here’s the funny-but-worrying part: advertisers are measuring brand uplift by counting the number of people that click on their ads. In advertising jargon, CTR. Which is like saying that in order to measure the brand awareness generated by the 20 feet Samsung billboard in Times Square you need to count the number of people who stop whatever they’re doing and go buy a Samsung. Which, pardon my English, is complete nonsense.

So rather than measuring the length of video campaigns in kilograms, I think we should be measuring it by analysing brand recall. Which means, analyse if a viewer remembers a brand before and after they watch the video ad. It’s the way we’re going to measure effectiveness of video ads in the future, because it makes more sense to measure length in miles, weight in kilograms and awareness in brand recall. And I know a company already doing it. Quite well.

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