When we spoke with Google's country manager Tony Keusgen last year, he was openly beating the white coat marketing drum and said the New Zealand industry had a long way to go when it came to properly embracing evidence-based marketing. And he seems to have found an ally in that crusade in VivaKi, which has signed up for one of the biggest YouTube inventory deals in the company's history on the back of a research project that looked at the prevalence of dual screening in New Zealand.
- Check out the full report and methodology here.
Last August, Google teamed up with Ipsos and surveyed 1,000 New Zealanders who watched TV for at least an hour a day and had a device capable of connecting to the internet to "get some meat on the bones" around dual screening, either simultaneously (e.g. watching the 6pm news on TV and browsing a news site on a tablet) or reactively (e.g. an ad for a new car on TV that prompts more research online). And it found that 85 percent of the respondents were dual screening on a tablet, smart phone, PC or laptop at least one to two times a week and 55 percent of those dual screeners were prompted by the general content they were seeing on TV—whether that be cars, cooking or commercials—to go online and research.
"That content drives research online is really clear from this research but what became more specific around outcomes was what people were doing when they were going online and one in two were going online and making a purchase as a result of dual screening, which has huge implications for advertisers [when asked how regularly those consumers were making a purchase, it's slightly less impressive, as it's over the period of a year, which seems a little bit more like correlation than causation]."
Keusgen believes the "cardinal sin" of marketing is driving interest through TV and not capturing it online. And the study showed 20 percent of respondents are driven online to research as a direct result of seeing a TV ad.
"We're consuming a variety of media and that media is driving 55 percent of people to go online and start researching. So when we started to look at what are the implications for marketers, particularly looking at a video-based platform like TV, the most relevant application was around YouTube."
One in two Kiwis go to YouTube every month, it's the second biggest search engine in the world, and if it was a TV channel Keusgen says it would be the 6th biggest in the country, slightly behind Four. But it's not about migrating from one to the other, he says. It's about YouTube and TV working better together than they do in isoloation.
He says an earlier research project in 2011 showed ads that screened on TV and YouTube had twice the recall of an ad shown only on TV and 90 percent of campaigns that use YouTube and TV together gained incremental reach over campaigns that appeared only on TV.
"When you combine them you get a better result. You may run TV but you might be finding it harder to get to the light TV users. And we know that 25 percent of all ads seen on YouTube have not been viewed on TV."
This new evidence around the prevalence of dual screening adds fuel to Keusgen's fire when it comes to the promotion of evidence-based marketing in New Zealand and he hopes the results will help close the gap between the amount of media being consumed online and the ad dollars being spent there.
"The gap is still way too broad in this country. 43 percent of media is consumed online and 15 percent of dollars are being put into it. We’re not espousing it should be one for one, but we know it just doesn’t make sense that you've got so much consumption happening and the dollars aren’t following. It’s a real opportunity for smart white coat marketers to make evidence-based decisions around where their ad dollars are going and the smartest way to do it is to look at where consumption is taking place."
Search is basically a license to print money for Google (interestingly, a recent report based around eBay's search engine marketing showed it wasn't particularly effective for it), but given YouTube's increasing popularity it's an area Google wants to push. And while it's rare for marketers to find comfort in spending more, Keusgen says its True View pre-roll ads that are skippable after five seconds do actually help give them a degree of comfort because they don't pay unless viewers watch the whole thing. So if they are paying more, then viewers are engaged with the creative.
At present, Keusgen says 70 percent of all YouTube ads are skippable and as for the average number of viewers watching all the way through, spokesman Henning Dorstewitz says "what matters is actually not average, but the variance, and that some advertisers see ten percent view-through-rate whereas some see 90 percent, making the point that advertisers need to work to create engaging ads that people will watch through".
YouTube also offers its primetime homepage space and, as a result of the dual screening research, Vivaki, which is owned by Publicis Groupe, has committed to buying the main masthead for 104 days starting from 1 April (or twice a week for 12 months) and Keusgen says it is one of the biggest inventory deals the company has ever struck up globally and certainly the biggest in this market.
"It's one simple, beautiful blank canvas, it's the only ad on the homepage and it’s not cluttered," he says. "They get one simple ad and the creative options are huge."
Chairman Kevin Malloy says VivaKi sits above Starcom and ZenithOptimedia as a bit of an umbrella organisation that aims to "be smart about efficiencies and throw the numbers together". It also runs the Search Hub, with all of the search spend that goes into Google for its Australian and New Zealand clients going through the 14-strong Auckland office.
Malloy wouldn't comment on VivaKi's total search spend (as of last August it had billings of $50 million) or its clients (it picked up the search-loving TradeMe and Flight Centre last year). But going beyond search, he says "there’s been an intuitive thing for a long time around dual screening". And the research clearly showed the days of 100 percent attention focus on one media are gone. This shift "certainly makes our lives more difficult", he says, but this deal, which is exclusively for its New Zealand clients, is about better linking TV and online.
"There’s a huge competitive advantage for us to do this, so I don’t want to be tipping competitive activity. But we've got automotive clients, FMCG, bank, retailers and we’ve clearly been talking to them about it. As a country we tend to just bounce along, but one of the things I find quite attractive about this is that it’s an aggressive deal from a New Zealand context."
Not surprisingly, everyone's looking at it as an opportunity to show off, with Malloy talking about "making sure we’re proactive and doing something that's special for our clients" and Keusgen trying to push the dual screening barrow and show what kind of creative tricks are possible with the homepage space.
Malloy wouldn't reveal the price paid for the deal (we've heard an advanced masthead banner ad on YouTube is around $15,000 for a full day hosting and Google isn't renowned for budging too much on price), but he says it will be working closely with Google staff and the various creative agencies to make sure the space is used to its full potential. As an example of this, Keusgen points to the McDonald's grab and shake game for its loose change menu, which, as well as being a bit of fun, allowed the advertiser to see the link between online and instore by sending users a coupon.
The pair also point to the Coca-Cola Polar Bears, a campaign from 2012 in which the animated bears reacted in real-time to the Superbowl.
There's no doubt this was a brilliant way to bring the two screens together, but it is often slightly concerning for New Zealand marketers when they see these huge campaigns because the budgets to do that kind of thing don't really exist here. But Keusgen says it doesn't have to be grand. It's simply about stopping "leakage", better leveraging the investment in TV and trying to close the loop.
"Either you have faith that [your TV ad is] is not going to drive any activity, which is questionable in itself, or you try to capture interest and try to measure it ... I think we’re going to see a lot more marketers finding new tests to work out how we best do it. It started with calls to action like 'go to our website' and now they’re getting more creative. We’re working with quite a few businesses on online to instore attribution models. You do your research online, you click on some ads, you’re exposed to some impressions and display ads and you might even work through social, and all that’s trackable. But then you walk into your local bank or telco and make a purchase and you’ve lost the loop. But now we’re starting to see smart advertisers saying we can now close the loop on that. If we could send our customer a welcome EDM and give them a link to a YouTube how-to video, you can see their cookies and tie that back to the behaviour beforehand. So you can directly correlate online research to instore purchase."