Google, YouTube going back to core marketing principle: ad engagement

by Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

In the recent past, we’ve had many clients discuss their online goals in the context of getting massive views or visitors. They felt, as did most of the business world, that was the main metric that drove success because this is what many of those selling new media told them that was the most important metric. At the beginning, I believe that was true. That was then, this is now.

The Now is not about views, but engagement. The metrics are not about the sheer number of views and visitors, but did you attract the right visitor and how long did they stay engaged on your site? These are the metrics that drive online success and all marketing success regardless of media or platform. I would rather have 500 monthly visitors if 350 are the perfect client fit for my services than 10,000 visitors and only 150 could become clients. This is leading the online world to reevaluate what metrics are most important.

YouTube, for example, is taking a different look at this very metric. Their views have been steadily climbing up until January of 2012. This is what they were basing everything on from what videos were rewarded and served up to what to charge on ads. Between January and April of 2012, views have gone down almost 28%, but time spent is up. These numbers are by design. At YouTube, “views” are out, “engagement” is in. A Google executive confirmed that they want people to click less and view more. Google is also rewarding videos with longer engagement times than those who are viewed more. The policy was Google tracked your view for 30 seconds in order to count it as a “view”. Now, they track your view for 2-3 minutes in order to count as engagement.

What is partially driving this is network companies and consumer demand of being able to watch “TV” online. People are getting away from masses of 1 minute clips to longer shows with more value. The underlying business reason is a longer format allows Google to show you more ads (kind of like TV). What is causing YouTube concern is they show an average of 17 video ads per viewer, per month, while Hulu shows an average of 50. In Google world, that’s billions of dollars they are missing out on. (Commentary: the ironic twist in all of this is at the beginning, Brin & Page – Google founders, were so against advertising they called it “hucksterism”. Now they depend on advertising to mint their fortune.)

It seems like the new media world is coming back to a core principle of marketing that has been true for many decades, engaging your customers is the real key to great marketing. A crapy, stupid ad, no matter how many times it’s seen, is still a crapy, stupid ad. All it does is irritate the viewer and they end up hating your brand. A creative, engaging ad draws the viewer in and rewards them with a laugh, smile, heart felt emotion along with relevant information, no matter how little it is seen. (Apple 1984, anyone?) Jump on the “old” bandwagon as it comes around again. Engagement is more valuable that number of views, for both the viewer and you.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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