advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Monday, May 12, 2008

YouTube views—the new ROI?

So here’s where I balance the Gary Busey material with marketing speak type stuff. (Legal called and told me I had to in order to qualify for ad blog status.) Enjoy!

I see lot of talk about how to show ROI for online stuff, whether it’s a full integrated campaign or simple banner ad. The SOP appears to be you produce some stats in a nice little Excel doc explaining how many people visit Yahoo! each hour and you can sell brands anything these days. (Really, does it take an expert to figure out that if you run a banner ad on EPSN, Drudge or Yahoo! that a boatload of people will see it?)

And so it seems to be with views.

Lot of agency PR people proud of how many ‘views’ they got on a particular video because well, they tell me in the countless PR releases I get. That’s cool. I go by views as well in determining a vid’s popularity. And more views are more good for the agency who obviously needs to show they know what the hell they’re doing in the space, but are more views really more betterer for brands? (Legal also said it was okay for me to mangle some grammar today.)

Take Extreme Beer Pong.

Cool to watch. Harder to attempt.( Well, if I had no job and two years house arrest, maybe.) It was an entry in yet another one of those brand contests I love, this time from “150 BLADES IS BETTER THAN THREE” Gillette and their Next Phenom contest. It also got the most views by far on their page.

But then, so did the video above for Earl Grey tea—in about half the time. Not only that, it got more views than all the videos for Gillette’s contest—combined. (You can also factor in number of subscribers to a particular YouTube channel. Fine. The Phenom page definitely has more, but like apps on Facebook, that doesn’t really tell me everything. People sign up for a lot of stuff they don’t watch, let alone use. They’re just too busy or lazy to unsubscribe.)

Getting back to views, what you notice here though is a few things:

First, all the vids in the Phenom thing are about activities other people do that are unrelated to the brand. Not the contest, the brand. Yes, Tiger also does that cool as hell trick with the club—but it’s golf. You expect that. Plus, I’ve seen him execute that trick better for Nike. Same too the other athletes in the promo.

But Beer Pong?

I have nothing against either of those two things per se, but I’m pretty sure the last thing the brand was thinking was beer + pong as the best a man can get. However, their hands are tied because now with the hoopla surrounding transparency and brands not censoring their message or customer feedback, they have to let this stuff in. (Unless of course, it shows anything inappropriate or illegal.)

Secondly, notice how the clips take you away to a user’s specific page—out of sight and out of mind of the contest. Because as I’m watching this kid do shit with a ping pong ball I could never do, the last thing I was thinking of was the brand.

Third, some of these vids got views outside of the contest page, so how can they be sure that all the traffic came from the contest. And, some of the vids were also edited and used in other contests.

Yet, the tea freak obviously loves his drink of choice and went to great lengths to demonstrate this fact. And that stupid piano riff is in my head now as I all I can think of is tea. That’s the difference between true original content versus consumer generated responses to a brand call for entries.

The problem I’ve always had with loser generated anything is that when you set up too many conditions for how people will react/engage/respond with your brand, you aren’t getting something that’s a genuine experience from them, especially as it relates to how they normally experience that brand.

Now, does it help that your brand is an established part of your culture like Earl Grey? Likely. Does the brand need to do viral? Probably not. But the extra attention can’t hurt though because it’s not really harming the brand in any way I can tell. Rather, it’s just a nice invigoration for them from an unexpected source.

So both brands got a lot of views, but one video did more for a brand than 30 did for the other.

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