Speak to your audience on social with data-driven video

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Greenlight suggest using data to act as a creative starting point for marketing video campaigns.

With 80% of all web traffic predicted to be video by 2021, if you haven’t yet thought about including this as part of your social strategy (what have you been doing?), it’s definitely worth making a start now.

However, with more noise comes the reality that marketers will need to take an even more considered approach to video in order to see results.

It’s fairly common knowledge that simply uploading your most recent TV commercial to YouTube and sharing the link on your Twitter account isn’t going to cut it anymore. So, how do you create content that’s of real value to the people you’re trying to reach? To do so, you need to consider the three levels of optimisation and which is most relevant to your brand.

Specific to platform

The most basic level of personalisation is to consider where the video is going to end up. With that comes the questions around whether the creative should be square, vertical, or some other dimension? How likely is the viewer to have their sound turned on?

It may seem like standard practice, but we’re still seeing content being shoehorned into formats that it just isn’t optimised for. Instagram Stories content is among the most common offender, wherein brands simply add text to a square or horizontal video which fills only 50% of the screen, at best.

Less offensive is content that’s perfectly palatable but that doesn’t take advantage of the platform’s features, for example missing out on the opportunity to draw attention to a swipe up link, or encouraging a user to tap to the next part of the story. These come at no extra cost – all that’s required is a little more creativity.

Ask yourself – if it’s worth using a platform at all, surely it’s worth creating content that has the best chance of performing well?

Specific to audience

This is where data is really key. Age, location, interests, affinities… having insight into the people you’re trying to reach can make all the difference to your social campaigns.

Perhaps you’re a fashion retailer who knows that the 18-24 audience you’re trying to reach on Pinterest. You should especially trust influencer recommendations.

Why use brand creative that was initially intended for DOOH (digital-out-of-home), which interrupts the Pinterest experience, over influencer-created moving image that sits better among the other content they’re likely to be looking at voluntarily?

Look at previous campaigns – do Facebook users in your target demographic watch more than the first few seconds of content? Are they predominantly on mobile? If so, then there’s little reason to create videos over a minute long, which also require more mobile data to load and don’t contain useful content until halfway through.

If you don’t have these insights, at the very least it’s worth looking at platform demographic data and your own social analytics. The solutions are often simple, and analysing the information and data you do have to hand will have a positive impact.

Where you do have access to deeper levels of insight, use that to your advantage, as we did for our recent campaign for one of our clients, where our data management platform (DMP) insights showed that relationships were particularly important to the brand’s core audience, and our creative centred around best friends led to levels of engagement on social far greater than usually achieved.

Specific to user

It’s also possible to personalise video by focusing on a user’s name, or other basic personal information. Or better still, data that’s far more specific.

Remember Spotify’s ‘Your year on Spotify’ campaign? The feature allowed users to see an animation of their top-streamed songs along with other fun facts, all wrapped up into a nice, socially-shareable package.

Nike has also experimented with using data from its fitness app to create personalised content telling the story of users’ years centred around training goals.

In all, use what you have available to you. The more you can make a person feel like you’re talking to them as an individual and not one of a mass group, the more likely they are to engage in a meaningful way.

Just as we all have different tastes when it comes to food, music, or clothing, the content we like to consume is also personal. Look at the facts and use them as a starting point for your creative decisions, because guessing just does not compare.

Marin Daley-Hawkins is the social media account director at Greenlight.

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