One recurring theme of several high profile Chief Marketing Officers in the Philippines is that digital advertising doesn’t give them the “sari-sari store” effect that they get when they air materials on TV. This means that the day after launching a TVC they see a direct impact on sales due to people buying from sari-sari stores. I have a theory on why they don’t get the same impact using digital despite the equal reach and frequency that they’re supposedly getting through online awareness channels like Facebook and YouTube.
“Views” Metric is Misleading and Causing Underspending
My theory, in a nutshell, is that brands are underspending on their online video materials because they are misled by “views”. A “view” is just 3 seconds on Facebook, regardless if it autoplays or if it’s clicked. That’s less than 10% of a usual 30-second TVC. On YouTube it’s usually just 50% because people click “Skip Ad” the moment they get the chance to (huwag na tayo maglokohan).
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It’s my contention that for the purposes of achieving the “sari-sari store effect”, a view should only be counted if it’s at least 80%-90% of the material watched by the customer (there are some ad bodies that say it should be 100% but that’s crazy). If we measure at 80% I believe that brands will be spending the right amount of money to be able to actually deliver the message to their customers effectively.
The Black Hole of Programmatic Video Outside of YouTube and Facebook
My second theory is that a lot of ad spend is wasted on programmatic video ads outside of Facebook and YouTube. These are the auto-play and unskippable video ads that run on various players by digital publishers. These tend to be more expensive, less transparent, and ineffective because seriously — who do you know loves to watch online videos on websites these days? Most of video discovery happens on either YouTube or Facebook.
The Most Powerful Ad Units: 6-15 second Unskippable YouTube Ads and Facebook Silent Videos
With both factors considered above, my hypothesis is that the three most effective video ads are the 6 second YouTube Bumper Ad (unskippable 6 second ad), 15 second YouTube Ad, and boosted auto-play silent videos on Facebook. You’re effectively able to achieve 100% views but you still need to create built-for-digital and built-for-mobile ads and not just slap your TVC on YouTube. That way you’re able to delight your customers while delivering your brand message.
It’s a little trickier with Facebook given the available video ad units. From my experience the silent auto-play type materials deliver better view-through compared to the usual 1-2 minute “viral digital” creative materials. Every once in a while though there are breakout materials like the Kwentong Jollibee series which just took the country by storm.
Another Strategy: Multi-Screen
Another way is to not look at digital in isolation. A powerful and most likely cost effective strategy to achieve the “sari-sari store” effect is by combining TVC + Digital Video. You can drive up frequency using digital via the ad units I mentioned earlier. You can reduce your TVC media spend and play around with the right combination with digital so you get better over-all ROI.
Or Maybe It’s Not About Awareness But Digital Should Cut Across the Whole Funnel
Another perspective to consider is that treating digital like TV doesn’t give the platform justice. After all digital, when you have the right platforms, allows you to see through the entire conversion funnel. We had a quick chat with Dennis Perez, Head for Media of Unilever Philippines and the chairman of the IMMAP Digital Measurement Board and this is what he had to say about it:
“People are too focused on reach and awareness on digital. It limits the role of digital in the campaign and it doesn’t differentiate the medium from TV. So attribution will always appear in favor of traditional mediums. However, if you factor in the benefits of digital like the ability to do remarketing, to bring them closer to conversion, then perspective will change: from a short term sari-sari effect to long term and deeper lifetime value.” – Dennis Perez, Head of Media, Unilever PH
In short — keep testing and keep pushing the limits of what you can do with digital. Find what works for your brand through trial-and-error and relentlessly optimize.