(By Thales Teixeira)
“I’ve found many examples of companies that have produced effective campaigns for 10% or even 1% of what they would have spent on traditional ad agencies and paid mass media. The ways of doing this are via a DIY approach or an outsourcing approach.“
In my research, I use eye-tracking technology, facial-expression analysis, and lab experiments to better understand why people choose to view online videos, what narrative techniques keep them watching, and what features prompt them to share videos with friends. Since writing about this work in HBR last year, I’ve received a steady stream of requests from companies asking: How can we put that research to use?
As a result, I’ve been studying how companies create and distribute online video advertisements, and I’ve examined some of the new firms that specialize in helping them do so. I’ve found many examples of companies that have produced effective campaigns for 10% or even 1% of what they would have spent on traditional ad agencies and paid mass media. The ways of doing this are via a DIY approach or an outsourcing approach.
Here are four successful examples I’ve come across that span both techniques; the first two incorporate a DIY technique, while the latter two use oursourcing. Read my full analysis in this month’s issue of HBR (registration required).
In 2009, DC Shoes began shooting videos featuring its cofounder Ken Block driving a tricked-out race car around closed-off airports, theme parks, and even the port of San Francisco. Instead of buying expensive TV time, DC Shoes uploads the videos to YouTube. Over the past four years they have gotten more than 180 million views — and in 2011 alone, sales jumped 15%. One was YouTube’s most-shared video of 2011; another garnered a million views in its first 24 hours. Paying online media for this type of exposure would cost upward of $5 million.
In 2007 the kitchen appliance company Blendtec created a series of videos in which the founder, Tom Dickson, demonstrated the power of its products by blending such items as marbles, a rake handle, hockey pucks, and iPods. The videos went viral on YouTube, landing Dickson on the Tonight Show and the Today Show, and sales took off. The Blendtec videos have been viewed nearly 240 million times to date. But the odds of replicating that success are low: Just 3% of YouTube films are viewed more than 25,000 times.
Many companies have turned to Tongal, a four-year-old firm that, for a fee, posts specs for a project and matches it with freelance creative talent willing to work for relatively low pay. Companies generally use the ads online, but some go further: Speed Stick paid $17,000 for a Tongal-produced ad and laid out $4 million to air it during the 2013 Super Bowl, whose viewers ranked it higher than conventionally produced ads for Coke, Pepsi, Subway, Lincoln, and Anheuser-Busch.
Companies seeking more-aggressive distribution often look to social media syndication firms such as the San Francisco-based agency Mekanism. For a campaign for Golden Grahams aimed at recent college graduates, it posted a series of animated videos about job interviews gone comically awry. It then solicited viewers’ own stories via Twitter, turning more than 50 of them into online videos. Together the videos got more than 2.5 million views (60% of which were the direct result of influencers’ actions).
(Source: Harvard Business Review)
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