As Heineken continues its discussions with ad sellers from broadcast, cable and digital for those outlets' respective "upfronts," the beer marketer is looking to tie its campaigns more closely among TV and the web. While there's nothing unusual about that, the company, which also owns the Newcastle and Dos Equis beer brands, is working with video ad analytics and ad serving provider Tremor Video on crafting more original content for online channels.
In addition to ramping up production on original video ads, Heineken is also ready to support more long-form digital programming, said Senior Media Director Ron Amram in an interview with AdExchanger. It's a recognition that online video has matured and that improvements in analytics have given major marketers confidence to shift resources to the web in ways that go beyond repurposing a TV spot.
"It's one thing to talk about matching media investment with consumer behavior," Amram said. "Everyone realizes how much activity and engagement is happening online, especially with video. But it's harder to change brand behavior without real consumer insight. But as we've seen quarter after quarter that lines between TV viewing and web video are converging on the charts and spreadsheets, it's become easier to put more money on the web. It's also paved the way for more coordination among marketers, agencies and ad tech companies."
Doron Wesly, Tremor's head of market strategy, said made-for-web content, such as the show HollyScoop, generates as much engagement with ads as do made-for-TV shows that are repurposed for the web. Among the findings in Tremor's report:
- Engagement rates were slightly higher for made-for-web content (2.72%) than for TV content repurposed for the web (2.68%).
- Most people watch entire ads on the web, whether they’re run during repurposed TV shows or made-for-web content. 91% of ads run during repurposed-TV content were watched in their entirety vs. 83% of ads shown during made-for-web content.
- Click-through rates for TV content repurposed for the web and made-for-web content are practically identical: 1.1% for repurposed-TV content and 1.09% for made-for-web content.
Tremor didn't identify the marketers behind campaigns, but Amran said the data is in line with what Heineken has seen.
"While we see no differences in ad performance, we do see differences in viewing patterns between made-for-web and made-for-TV content," Wesly said. "Our hypothesis is that the heavier viewing towards the middle of the week is driven by how made-for-TV content is made available online. A lot of made-for-TV content that shows up on the web follows the airing of a TV show by at least 24 hours."
The research showed that people tend to snack on video throughout the day (morning, afternoon, evening in short bursts), whereas people watch made-for-TV content mostly in the afternoon and in primetime. As such, Tremor says it makes sense to take this viewing pattern into consideration when crafting ads for the web, just as TV spots are crafted for particular times of the day or season.
"Our advertising, like most major brands, is still focused on TV," Amran said. "What we're trying to do now is have a secondary line of communication, one that enables more engagement with our brands and is more targeted. So we're crafting more original spots for online, we're doing more sponsorships. It helps to stand out. But the trick is to do all that and still have a unified message that reflects the brand's TV messaging. That's the balance we're constantly attempting."
That balancing act has been made easier through using technology, and the quality of online video ad inventory. For years, marketers and agencies have complained of the lack of "premium" placements for video ads on the web. But Amram and Wesly say that's been changing gradually, particularly over the past two years.
"Established publisher brands are making their premium content available across screens plus a higher degree of curated sites (original made-for-web content) is causing spending to flow into video over the past few years, elevating the space," Wesly said. "It's a natural evolution. A lot more marketers will tell you today that they are working to become 'video agnostic,' in that they don't really differentiate between the PC screen and the TV screen. That's now starting to include mobile as well. Based on recent research, I strongly believe, that video compliments TV and that in essence they are 'friends with benefits.' Ad spending follows eyeballs, and eyeballs follow great content. Today technology is aiding us in assessing where this quality content is, we can put the right message for the right marketer, to the right consumer."