An enormous audience demands enormous innovation, and YouTube marketing is getting a shot in the arm, with new opportunities for driving consumer engagement.
From a 1990s telecoms landscape that included four-million landline telephones, a handful of mobile phones and just a few hundred thousand ADSL connections, South Africa today boasts more than 500 000 households with high-speed broadband fibre connections and a mobile phone penetration rate of well over 100%, according to Statista.com.
In addition, recent interventions by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Competition Commission and others have seen mobile-data rates plunge to the lowest levels we’ve ever seen. This means web-based streaming-video services and platforms are a real option for millions of consumers, who no longer have to be quite so careful with their bits and bytes, megs and gigs.
When it comes to what’s hot on the video-streaming scene, of course, YouTube springs to mind first. Founded in 2005, the video-sharing platform not only provides opportunities for individual consumers to upload content that’s meaningful to them, but also creates enormous opportunities for brands.
An unparalleled audience
Without wanting to preach to the converted, let’s take a moment to summarise YouTube’s unparalleled popularity. From the first YouTube video uploaded in April 2005 to the first adverts rolled out in August 2007, the world’s most popular video sharing platform has grown to have two billion regular users.
What’s really exciting for advertisers, however, is that six out of 10 people worldwide right now prefer online-video platforms over live TV. And it’s only going to get better for video sharing: by 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a traditional pay TV service.
Locally, the opportunities inherent in the programmatic advertising enabled by YouTube start to look especially exciting when one considers that just one local YouTuber, Dan Mace, has more than 750 000 subscribers. To put this in perspective, two years ago the number of all the DStv PVR decoders in the entire country numbered just double Dan’s subscribers.
The South African YouTube scene is robust, diverse and, most importantly, growing. Not only does the platform offer the healthy subscriber numbers that advertisers look for, but it is also distinctly measurable and offers highly granular targeting.
To rise above the clutter, we know that brands today need to be seen on YouTube. While super-refined segmenting is indeed a stand-out advantage of the platform for reaching consumers, local digital advertising firms are taking YouTube-based advertising to the next level by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix.
Mobiclicks, for example, is now able to take YouTube content and overlay AI so that certain moments or events taking place on screen will trigger the associated brand content. Thirty years ago, that would have been like watching SABC TV and having a high-performance tyre advert appear on screen as soon as KITT makes its appearance in Knight Rider.
We now have the perfect AI-based campaign tool in the form of Mirrors from Mobiclicks, in partnership with Silverpush. This AI technology can be programmed to match preselected moments displayed on users’ screens with certain content. Brands can link their ads to in-video events for the first time, creating a powerful campaign tool that seamlessly detects relevant objects, emotions, activities and logos in videos, and uses them as triggers to serve highly contextual ads on YouTube without any human input whatsoever.
Mirrors was recently demonstrated to great effect by the Mobiclicks office in Kenya. Using the platform, the Nokia 2.3 handset was front and centre on YouTube. Some of the moments targeted to help showcase the new handset’s most outstanding attributes included those in videos of first dates, eating out, safaris, a new baby and more. The appearance of these moments on YouTube videos then triggered the advertising tagline: ‘Never miss a shot’. The results were staggering: the campaign posted a 46.4% view-through rate on Nokia’s video ads, against the YouTube benchmark of 15%.
Another recent YouTube-based client campaign achieved similarly spectacular results. Mobiclicks partnered with marketing agency Penquin and Suzuki South Africa for the digital launch of the Suzuki S-Presso, which required reaching the right audience while staying true to the brand.
Penquin needed a solution beyond basic keyword and demographic targeting to maximise effectiveness, so they turned to the Mirrors in-video context-detection platform for video ad placements. Mirrors scanned through thousands of YouTube videos to detect contextual triggers with automotive relevance, where Suzuki’s new model would strategically appear.
During the four-month activation period, Suzuki enjoyed a favourable response from the market, with audiences showing high engagement throughout the duration of the campaign. Performance in clicks and completed views outperformed the respective industry benchmarks, with noticeable increases in contextual targeting that appealed to Suzuki’s target market.
The campaign concluded at a 0.94% click-through rate, beating the industry benchmark by 420%. These results were mirrored by a video-completion rate of 49%, outperforming the industry benchmark by 143%. These results are proof that brands can benefit from implementing contextual targeting within their marketing efforts to effectively reach specific buyer personae.
YouTube offers the reach and AI offers brands context and measurable results. It’s simple and effective.
Shaun Rosen is the CEO of Mobiclicks. He is an experienced executive with a proven history in the marketing and advertising industry. Rosen is skilled in mobile advertising, digital strategy, performance-based marketing, mobile content and e-commerce, and is a strong business-development professional.
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