Pre-testing YouTube campaigns

How the leading YouTube Agency in The Netherlands uses Brainsight.
Yannick Abrahams
Managing director Labs, Team5pm

You’ve invested time and money in creating your YouTube video campaign, but how do you find out –preferably before distributing it to hundreds of thousands of viewers– whether your videos are going to get noticed, hold your viewers’ attention and have the right impact?

Team5pm is the leading YouTube Agency for publishers, brands and advertisers, focusing on strategy, content development, video production, distribution, advertising and research. Through data-driven consultancy and algorithm-friendly content creation, they help clients to succeed on YouTube. Their objective is to win clicks and hold viewers’ attention to their clients’ YouTube campaigns. As part of their methodology, Brainsight is their go-to tool for pre-testing visual performance.

Based on research, a successful campaign is determined by three factors: 

  1. The / your Brand
  2. Media Channel
  3. Your creative/asset
Research regarding campaign success variables

It turns out that 55% of the success rate is determined by the asset. Apart from the creative concept, its success also depends on grabbing viewers’ instant attention, holding it, and ensuring that the right things are seen at the right time (and, eventually, that they are remembered). Opposed to most marketers, who test ad effectiveness after their campaign has gone live (for instance with A/B testing), Team5pm puts a lot of effort in pretesting: 

”In order to get the maximum return from our clients’ YouTube budget and video production, it is useful to test and optimize video-effectiveness before distributing it via YouTube to thousands of viewers,” says Yannick Abrahams, Managing Director of Labs, the research division at Team5pm. “We want to predict whether our videos are standing out and generate attention. Also, we check which parts of the video perform well and where and why viewers drop out. We try to avoid parts in the content that are too distracting; it’s important to predict whether a video succeeds in getting the brand, product and message across, and whether it sticks.”

Therefore, (pre)testing is an integral part of Team5pm’s campaign process. In short, pretesting is tackled in three key focuses area:  

Winning the click

Yannick: “Only 4% of the digital ads on online platforms are viewed for longer than two seconds. Therefore, we need to capture immediate attention, and your thumbnail is the business card of your video.”

To capture this attention, a great deal of time is spent on optimizing the thumbnails before starting their YouTube campaigns. Validation, pretesting and optimizing these are done by a) comparing (A/B/multivariate pretesting designs), and b) making use of eye-tracking heatmaps, for instance on hotspots (areas of interest) and visual spread. Often facial expressions and increasing the focus on the title results in higher CTR’s.

Attention for YouTube thumbnails

Holding attention

After capturing the viewer in the first few seconds, the next step is to hold it. Video-heatmaps are therefore not only used to analyse attention, but also to check and optimize clarity: checking the focus (or clutter) of the most significant parts in the video. Optimizing activities include using, blurring or removing texts, product images or a logo. After go-live the videos are analysed with YouTube data to validate where viewers looked, dropped out and replayed specific parts of the video.

A.I. powered analyses of YouTube video with Brainsight

Ensuring recollection

The attention is now grabbed in the first few seconds and is retained. Final challenge is to ensure the brand and key message(s) stick. Clarity is also a factor here: for those scenes where these key elements are most crucial, focus (1 to max 2 or 3 hotspots) is key. After the predictive testing, the next step in Team5pm's process -their final stage of pretesting- is with (live) consumer panels.

Read the full case here On Team5pm’s website.

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