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November 6, 2019
Optimizing Video Engagement
Since the dawn of the Internet, creative people have battled analytical people to control the insights, best practices and prerogatives for bringing to life video messaging and content that builds awareness or that engages and converts prospective clients. 
Fueled by different types of backgrounds and dissonant personalities, the conversation frequently becomes heated. Art directors copy writers and creative chiefs argue that their collective wisdom, customer intimacy and best practices plus a magical spark of creativity gives them the exclusive rights to creative effective content. 
Analysts, measurement professionals and data scientists argue that intuition and magic can be measured, scored and recycled. They insist that only by carefully and continuously testing and learning and mapping discrete behaviors and behavioral sequences along a defined customer journey can communication effciency and business goals be achieved. To the measurement guys, data and insight derived from data should drive the creative process which should be aligned to movement along the sales funnel.
Looking to reconcile these two postures, Google studied thousands of skippable TrueView video ads across eleven verticals around the globe. The goal was to understand which creative elements had the greatest impact on awareness, recall, consideration and purchase intent.
Surprise!  The creative elements and tactics long known and used by the creative community have the greatest impact on engagement. Specific creative tactics influence specific metrics.
Here are five takeaways.

People Buy People. Tightly framed shots of people and talent that reflects the target audience speaking directly to the audience or providing a first-person perspective drive awareness and recall.

Branding Matters. Introducing the brand in the first five seconds of an ad and using memorable visual elements are important. Pairing unique visual and audio cues and/or using brand colors or distinctive brand logos correlates with a lift in consideration.

Emotion is Essential. Action, intrigue and surprise influence engagement throughout the sales funnel. Pacing, using two quick cuts between scenes in the first five seconds of an ad is a grabber in terms of recall. 

Focus on Benefits. Ads that convey a tangible and measurable benefit influence recall, consideration and purchase intent.

Direct the Action. Using a clear call to action (CTA) and/or making a distinct, pointed offer affects purchase intent. Guiding an audience toward the desired behavior by creating a sense of urgency works.

This study documents many of the creative approaches that have been in use for quite some time. Maybe it’s a step toward aligning the analytic and creative communities.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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