There once was a time when marketers could command every consumer’s attention, ask, “Where’s the beef?” and make their brand a national phenomenon.
That was back when video marketing was a relatively straightforward undertaking. All brands needed to do was create a few television commercials, book airtime on a dozen or so networks and voila, the entire country was exposed to its content. There were no “skip” buttons or fast-forward features; every consumer was forced to watch every ad for every product.
Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past decade, it’s pretty apparent that the video marketing game is now much more complex. Cable and satellite television packages exploded to offer thousands of niche channels; digital-video recorders emerged to allow viewers to skip ads; and one-quarter of American households aren’t subscribed to any form of television.
Simply put, single-channel/commercial video marketing campaigns are dead, as your audience has not only migrated online, but has also become accustomed to parking its attention on its favorite platform, social media or website.
There will be a place for television in the future, and the “water-cooler” effect is a powerful phenomenon. However, in order to develop a direct line of communication with your audience, you need to know where it is and what it’s interested in and develop marketing content that’s relative to those interests.
Plenty of brands have taken notice of this shift, but not nearly enough are adjusting their video marketing strategies accordingly. They’re still creating the same type of content people ran away from on television, so it shouldn’t be surprising that 90 percent of consumers consistently skip the video ads they see online.
The power of fractionalization
On social media, consumers are living in an on-demand world. With just one click, they can skip, close or scroll away from any video advertisement that doesn’t immediately appear to be relevant to their interests. Beyond that, no two social media sites are the same. Each features a specific demographic of users who are expecting to have a specific type of experience.
In such a climate, it’s essential to take a fractionalized approach to video marketing. Rather than using their whole budget to create one or two ads that try to appeal to a mass audience, brands can improve their return on investment by using that same budget to craft many smaller pieces of content that are geared toward niche audiences across a variety of social channels.
This does take more time and creative elbow grease than the traditional way of doing things, but it’s what the online era demands—and it’s not as difficult as it may sound.
Here’s how to get started
Develop your big idea: Even with fractionalized content, the first step of a video campaign is the same as it’s always been—identifying your core offering and your core audience. This will reveal your “big idea” and provide the guide to your fractionalization.
It’s quite obvious that a razor brand’s core offering is razors and its core audience consists of people who want to have a great shave. In order to achieve its main objective of demonstrating that its razor line is of superior quality and to motivate men to care more about shaving, it developed the big idea of “Shave Matters.” This hypothetical big idea highlights the fact that men should care more about shaving, and this razor company has products that matter most for men of all ages, races and stages of shaving.
There are many different types of shavers in the world who all have different desires, and they’re all frequenting different social channels. This is where fractionalization comes into play.
Identify your specific subsets: Let’s take a closer look at the various types of people (or subsets) who fall into our imaginary razor brand’s core audience of men: frequent shavers, infrequent shavers, an array of age and income demographics—the list can go on and on. Especially on social media, it would be impossible for any brand to engage all of these unique potential customers in one 30-second ad.
By taking a fractionalized approach, brands choose to produce multiple ads that each broadcast a specific message that speaks directly to a subset. The ads match the look and feel of whichever social media platforms they are published on, thus ensuring that they effectively grab consumers’ attention.
Alter your content for each platform: Continuing with the razor company example, let’s pretend it wants to build awareness around three particular products: a cheap disposable razor that comes in several fun colors, an expensive everyday razor for men and a brand-new single-edged razor for experienced shavers.
Each product warrants a series of videos that showcases the brand’s big idea (“Shave Matters”) in a way that directly resonates with specific subsets on social media.
For example, knowing that colorful disposable razors are likely to appeal to younger consumers, the brand could hire a millennial spokesperson for a series of Instagram and Snapchat ads that promote the product through copy that highlights the fact that even though you may not be shaving very frequently, your shave still matters if you want to get the girl, get the job, get the promotion.
By using verbiage and selling points that only other millennial shavers would care about, these particular videos must take into account the fact that young people have incredibly short attention spans. The average Snapchat ad is viewed for less than three seconds, and because these ads don’t play until users click on them, each one must immediately feature eye-grabbing visuals and text that cause consumers to stop and watch.
The same logic and approach should apply to the other two products. Older men, for example, are more likely to use a more expensive everyday razor. Therefore, the brand should hire a silver-haired gentleman for that product’s series of videos. He should speak in terms that resonate with other grizzled shavers, and these ads should be posted on social media sites that possess high populations of this subset. Facebook would qualify as one such platform.
Lastly, the single-edged razor would be best marketed toward more adventurous shavers, such as hipsters who are looking to carve snazzy, sharp lines into their facial hair. The spokesperson hired to promote this product should fit the bill, the social media outlets that broadcast this ad should be full of people just like him and the key copy and story of the commercials will still highlight the big idea that “Shave Matters.”
Marketers are gradually learning that the most effective video content on social media is fractionalized and tailored to specific audiences. Understanding your demographic is just one piece of the puzzle, though; truly effective ads also stand out within each respective social media ecosystem.
Determine your big idea, identify your subsets and create unique content that speaks directly to a specific social media audience.
Chris Carter is chief marketing officer of REP Interactive, which is focused on helping brands take a holistic approach to their video initiatives.