Savvy brands on what grows sales: The art of creating user-first video campaigns

Savvy brands on what grows sales: The art of creating user-first video campaigns

Ashik Ashokan, head of WARC Advisory, APAC, is an award-winning strategist who has formulated brand, business, and marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies and government bodies.

Marketers I speak to often ask about practical ways to deliver swift sales growth, especially in times of economic uncertainty. A robust online video strategy is one important way to drive sales, and winning campaigns from the recent YouTube Works Awards offer key learnings that marketers can apply to achieve sales impact.

The innovative and effective campaigns share one thing in common: the brands behind them know how to create online video creative that play to the ways people enjoy YouTube and grow bottom lines.

By skillfully using video creative features and formats that online viewers are drawn to, the winning brands fully maximize YouTube marketing’s ability to drive sales. The result: digital video marketing campaigns that connect meaningfully with people at every stage of their shopping journeys and win them over as customers.

Indeed, WARC’s analysis found that one in two winning campaigns from YouTube Works Awards achieved a positive sales impact.1 We dug deeper and uncovered three ways your brand can create meaningful, viewer-first online videos to grow sales.

How to say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time

Brands know that relevance is everything when it comes to getting noticed and driving sales. But less obvious to some is how to identify the right platform, deliver the most relevant content, and make customer engagement and sales conversion happen at scale.

For financial service provider OCBC NISP, however, the platform of choice was clear for its “Save 20 by Nyala” campaign, which aimed to help young Indonesian adults achieve their life goals by saving just Rp 20,000 ($1.30) every day. After all, video viewers in APAC markets such as Indonesia say YouTube is the No.1 video platform that helps them dig deep into their interests.

To have Indonesia’s young adults recognize how relevant the campaign is to their individual goals and interests, and to start saving with the bank, OCBC NISP used Ads Creative Studio to develop customized video creative at scale.

With more than 100 variations of the ad, and different headlines and images, the brand was able to speak to the various viewing interests of its audience, and in relevant, meaningful ways. For example, if a young adult video viewer had an interest in gaming content, the brand would deliver an online video about how saving Rp 20,000 every day would enable the person to upgrade their gaming device in 12 months.

The campaign was one of the most-watched and least skipped commercials in its category, averaging a 42% view-through rate that’s well above the industry benchmark. More importantly, OCBC NISP’s customer-initiated acquisition monthly run rate increased by 48% since the launch of the campaign in July 2020.

How to strike a chord with native video formats and features

Another way winning brands grow sales with online video is by leaning into native creative formats and features that people enjoy, and turning the audience from engaged viewers into excited shoppers. Video formats that captivate include immersive creative such as ASMR videos, and long-form video entertainment such as full-length music videos.

Nutritional beverage brand Bear Brand ImmD used the popular YouTube music video format to grow sales of its cereal drink among families in rural Northeast Thailand. The reason: musical entertainment is the top interest of its audience on YouTube. The result was over 10 million organic views for its YouTube music video, an 18% lift in ad recall, and 17.5% lift in sales.

To ensure its YouTube marketing hit all the right notes with audiences in rural Northeast Thailand, the brand had the music video lyrics penned in the local dialect. It also had celebrity Mario Jok, who is popular in that region, star in the video. In addition, the product and its benefits were incorporated naturally into the rural setting and storytelling to win over local video viewers and turn them into shoppers.

How to connect with customers at every stage of the shopping journey

Given that 80% of YouTube viewers agree that YouTube is the first place they would go to for information throughout their shopping journey,3 savvy brands have used the platform to meet shoppers and satisfy their need for inspiration and knowledge at every stage of their purchase journey.

Kukka Flowers in Korea, for example, used this video marketing strategy to connect with online video viewers. As a result, it increased brand awareness by 28%, grew keyword search volume for “Kukka” by 7.5X, and more than doubled its sales.

The brand was keen to change the perception that flower gifting is reserved for special occasions. Believing that there should be no rules for the practice, it developed a series of inspiring YouTube videos that depict everyday scenarios for buying and giving flowers.

To raise awareness and create a mindset shift in shoppers, the brand used TrueView
in-stream and non-skippable in-stream ads to deliver its video creative to viewers with purchase intent and an interest in home interiors and subscriptions. To connect with online video users searching for keywords related to the brand, flowers, or anniversaries, it used In-feed video ads. And when viewers were inspired by the creative to learn more and make a purchase, YouTube’s call-to-action overlays made it easy for them to click on the video creative and go to its website directly to browse and buy flowers.

The economic outlook might be uncertain, but sales growth for your brand doesn’t have to be. The YouTube Works winning campaigns show that with viewer-first video ads, your brand can meaningfully connect with online video users at every stage of their shopping journey, and turn them from attentive viewers to excited shoppers.

Listen to WARC Talks Online Video in Asia to learn about the opportunities and trends that can help marketers make their investment in online video more effective. To find inspiration from winning brands, explore the YouTube Works 2021 winners in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

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