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AVOD – Advertising Video On Demand Campaign Best Practices

Between the cord-cutting movement and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, streaming consumption for the year is up more than 74% from 2019 across all options for video. With the stay-at-home orders and social distancing policies issued across the country, consumers have been relegated to their households and are spending more time in front of the TV than ever before. Many Americans are tightening up their purse strings on non-essential purchases, thus reducing their number of subscription services they are paying for. This has brought about a surge in AVOD (advertising video on demand) streaming, positioning it to outpace standard SVOD (subscription video on demand) viewing.

With limited recreational and entertainment options, streaming content has become the premium way to pass time. As more time is being spent by consumers in front of the CTV, more buyers are putting their focus on this area of the advertising space. While we can anticipate this sector to continuously evolve, having a solid understanding of the best practices will position marketers to stay ahead of the curve. 

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What are the best ways to maximize effectiveness of an AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) campaign?

As seen by the uptick in ad revenues, AVOD platforms are quite literally ‘where the money is at’ currently. But with how quickly the industry evolves, it can be tricky to stay on top of the do’s and don’ts of running an AVOD campaign. 

We’ve taken a look at all of our data and have boiled down the success of most AVOD campaigns to three overarching rules of thumb:

1. Leverage the Superior Audience Targeting Capabilities of AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) in OTT/CTV Advertising Campaigns

Defaulting to the dated, old-school ‘age, gender, location’ blanket targeting approach is much like… purchasing a powerful race car with a turbo engine, but only driving it back and forth in a driveway. The audience targeting capabilities that come with OTT (over the top) and CTV (Connected TV), where AVOD campaigns will take place, have hit a point of unbelievable sophistication. It would be an absolute shame not to leverage any or all of the following: 

  • Behavioral Targeting – using lifestyle, interests, favorite activities, internet habits, etc. to target audiences 
  • Contextual Targeting – using the viewing ‘context’ and viewer history (romance, thrillers, documentaries, series vs. movies, late night shows, etc.) to target audiences
  • Time of Day Targeting – using data on when individual audiences are most active to deliver targeted ads at different times of day
  • Technographic Targeting – using device specs (browser, hardware, operating system, connection speed, etc.) to target audiences
  • Traditional Geographic Targeting – using standard, reported geo information (cities, zip codes, DMA’s, etc.) to target audiences
  • Real-Time GPS-based Geographic Targeting – using an individual’s real-time location via GPS to target audiences and answer COVID-relevant questions like, ‘Who is willing to go where, in what capacity, within what distance, and for how long?
  • Demographic Targeting – using hard data points (reported income, highest level of education, hometown, etc.) to target audiences
  • Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) Targeting – using the program viewing habits on a CTV (e.g. if they have historically watched specific programs or are currently watching an event like Wimbledon) to target audiences
  • Purchasing Targeting – using spending habits, historical purchase behavior, or purchase-intent indicators (credit application) to target audiences
  • First-Party Data/CRM Activation/Lookalike Audiences – using an existing database of past/current customers and/or lookalike audiences to target with hyper-focused spend

2. Timing and Pacing…The Programmatic Way

The difference between a seasoned marketer who knows their way around a campaign and a rookie media buyer, comes down to what it takes to achieve the same outcome. Given enough time and unlimited budget, anyone could arguably generate whatever results they desire. This is where timing and pacing play very important roles in the effectiveness and efficiency of an AVOD campaign.

When we refer to timing, we’re talking about a combination of context, relevance, and individual viewer behavior. Take, for example, an individual who habitually orders food delivery on weekends, but they happen to eat dinner at an obscure early hour. The timing for the discounted delivery fee ad may be more effective at 4:30 p.m. for this targeted individual, as opposed to the conventional dinner time. This level of timing refinement for an AVOD campaign will ensure that each impression has a higher chance of conversion. 

Proper pacing is a learned skill, a dance if you will. The goal for any advertiser is to allocate the entire target spend over the maximum period of time with a smooth, even pace. This doesn’t mean spending a large proportion of the budget within the first three days and stretching peanuts for the remaining weeks. Having an even-paced spend distribution will allow for better strategic calls and help identify creative ad fatigue. If pacing is erratic and random, the lack of a control variable would make it far more difficult to know when something changes with the campaign performance. 

3. Leverage a Partner That Can Get You Real Attribution, Not Just VCR and Impressions

With most AVOD platforms, the ads come with the territory. In other words, consumers know that in exchange for free content or reduced-price membership, they can anticipate ads to be included in their viewing experience. This also means that video completion rate and impressions are not strong indicators of a campaign’s success. Afterall, the ads aren’t skippable!

The most important factor for an AVOD campaign is being able to get real attribution from post-view actions. Many firms and AVOD services are unable to provide this data, but the Strategus team can. With our attribution suite, marketers have seven different ways for both online and offline attributions: 

  • Post-View Website Visit – Identify, track, and report on users who have viewed your OTT/CTV ad and who later visit the advertiser website
  • Online Purchase – Identify, track, and report on users who have viewed your OTT/CTV ad and who later make a purchase on the advertiser website
  • Amazon Online Purchase – Identify, track, and report on users who have viewed your OTT/CTV ad on their Amazon Fire Device and later make a purchase on the Amazon marketplace
  • Foot Traffic Measurement – Identify, track, and report on users who have viewed your OTT/CTV ad and then physically visit brick-and-mortar locations as verified by smartphone GPS data
  • After-Ad Influence – Measure and analyze the impact on a user’s online browsing behavior by comparing pre-OTT/CTV ad exposure browsing behavior to post-OTT/CTV ad browsing behavior
  • CPG Purchase – Track the customer from OTT/CTV ad exposure to actual in-store purchase, utilizing UPC and SKU-level purchase data.
  • Offline Conversion – Identify, track, and report on users who have viewed your OTT/CTV ad and later converted per your campaign goal as matched back from your CRM file.

The Bottom Line

The notable increase in overall media consumption gives media buyers and marketers several opportunities to get in front of their target demographic, particularly in the AVOD space as consumers develop subscription fatigue and turn to ad-supported platforms. As this area continues to evolve and mature, we can anticipate a growing level of saturation. The marketers and media buyers that will thrive are the ones that stay up to date and adaptable to new trends and best practices.

Strategus is a leading OTT/CTV firm since inception and will continue to stay on the cusp of innovation. For questions or insight on how to approach your next AVOD campaign, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

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Andy Dixon is a seasoned Content Writing Specialist at Strategus, renowned for his expertise in creating engaging and impactful digital content. With over a decade of experience in content creation, Andy has honed his skills in a variety of niches, ranging from technology and marketing to education.

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