Recent research from the Unruly Social Video Lab has found there is a huge appetite for branded videos on the web. Unruly currently tracks 506,976 "shares" of online video ads every 24 hours.
This morning, Unruly opens its doors on its first Social Video Lab in America, enabling advertisers to make the most of this trend. Located in New York, the new lab is modeled on the video technology company's original Social Video Lab in London, which was launched last summer.
Visitors to the New York lab will be given a hands-on interactive journey through the science and history of online video sharing, plus a tour of current video trends. They will also have access to the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which has tracked 329 billion video streams since 2006. Advertisers can find out how their current social video footprint compares with their competitors, how to create shareable content, and how to determine the distribution strategy required to achieve their campaign goals.
Visitors will also be able to test the shareability of their own campaigns using Unruly ShareRank, an algorithm-based tool which uses over 100,000 data points to predict the number of shares a video will attract, before it is even launched, meeting the seemingly impossible desire to "predict viral success."
During a tour of the new lab last week, Cat Jones, Unruly's Director of Product Innovation, said, "Video is the world's fastest-growing ad format in terms of ad spend, so it's really important that brands have their fingers on the pulse and allocate their marketing dollars wisely. Leaving it to luck simply isn't an option."
Devra Prywes, Unruly's Marketing Director, added, "Creating and distributing shareable content for social media is at the top of the agenda for CMOs, and brands can use the Lab experience to pinpoint exactly what's trending."
So, do social video recommendations significantly impact traditional brand metrics?
A recent study conducted by Decipher Research, which surveyed online video viewers, aged 18-34, across four social video campaigns from Guinness, Coca-Cola, Unilever's Cornetto, and Energizer Batteries, sought to determine the impact of peer recommendations. And the social ad effectiveness study found that recommendations dramatically increased ad performance.
Viewers enjoy recommended videos more than non-recommended videos: there was a 14 percent increase in the number of people who enjoyed the video following a recommendation versus those who had discovered it by browsing. Moreover, a recommendation reduced the number of people who did not enjoy the video by 41 percent.
Viewer enjoyment of branded video is important because it has a direct impact on key brand metrics. Viewers who enjoyed the video they watched demonstrated 139 percent higher brand association, 97 percent higher purchase intent, 35 percent higher brand favorability, and 14 percent higher brand recall than their counterparts who did not enjoy the video.
Sixty-eight percent of viewers who had browsed to the video correctly recalled the brand when prompted, compared to 73 percent of viewers who had arrived at the video following a recommendation.
This 7 percent uplift suggests that video viewers are in a more receptive and attentive frame of mind following a recommendation, allowing brands that produce and distribute social content to benefit from closer communication with their audiences.
Recommendations caused a 7 percent increase in brand association: agreement with key brand statements increased from 41 percent among viewers who had browsed to the video to 44 percent among viewers who seen the video following a recommendation. This result reinforces the above suggestion that recommendations make viewers more receptive to brand messaging.
There was also a drop of more than one-fifth in the number of respondents that disagreed with key brand statements. Recommendations have a large role to play for brands in changing off-message perceptions amongst their audiences as well as in actively cultivating on-message perceptions.
What Viewers Did Next
Viewers of the social videos tested went on to perform a multitude of brand or video related actions, notably 49 percent of viewers purchased the advertised product within three days of the view. Thirty-eight percent of viewers spoke to someone in person about the video, showing a social video view to stimulate real life conversation: what starts online becomes interchangeable with real life in the minds of today's consumers.
Interestingly, online sharing and emailing of the link are immediate reactions, highlighting the need for sharing functionality within a video player - users do not come back and share a video later, it is a spontaneous exercise. Nine percent of users searched for the brand, and 4 percent of users searched for products of that type: social video viewing is having an effect across all aspects of the purchase funnel.
This research demonstrates that social video significantly increases brand attention. The power of social video lies in the recommendation to view content. This recommendation comes not only from peers in social media environments, but also from authoritative blogs and news sources covering advertiser content editorially.
The impact of the recommendation on consumers is considerable:
- Viewers are more likely to enjoy a video when it has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (14 percent higher enjoyment).
- Viewers are more likely to recall a brand name when the social video has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (7 percent higher recall).
- Viewers are more likely to engage with an ad's messages when the social has been recommended than when encountered through browsing (10 percent higher brand association).
Ultimately, enjoyment of the video correlated positively with all tested brand metrics in the sales funnel, including brand favorability and final purchase intent.
That's why the opening of Unruly's first Social Video Lab in America is significant. Brands and agencies on this side of the pond also need to find out how to make their video content contagious.