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Scale-Up Video Campaigns: how to boost a business in less than a year thanks to video

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Fabrice Courdesses
Published on 18 mars 2020


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A scale-up video campaign is a scale-oriented performance video campaign: a campaign with a high ROI to the point of allowing self-financing until target saturation. It’s anything but a branding campaign where you can’t measure the business impact.

For that, it is necessary to think distribution before creation and to think creation for conversion.

Where’s it from?

This type of campaign originated in the United States.

The first one of its kind was done by the Orabrush company in 2009.

Far from being an accident, this design/diffusion methodology has been successfully replicated by brands such as PooPourri, SquattyPotty, Nerd, Chatbook, Purple… under the impetus of Harmon Brothers and Chamber Media studios.

We were lucky enough to collaborate with Derral Eves, who co-directed the mythical SquattyPotty campaign… to the point of being able to replicate this type of approach in France.

We have been supporting brands such as Balinéa for 3 years now, thanks to an X4 ROI on their video campaigns, Wall Street English with an X7 ROI on its latest video campaign and lately, le Slip Français with an X6 ROI.

Who is eligible?

This type of campaign is ideal for brands and start-ups that conduct a large part of their business through online actions: sales or lead generation.

It will therefore greatly benefit:

> E-commerce sites – whose online shopping cart and sales can be easily tracked.

> Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVB) aka Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) – those start-ups and hyper-specialized brands with short, often highly committed and customer-focused channels where more than 80% of sales are made online.

> The « perfidious advertisers » – those well-known brands whose main business lever is to generate requests for quotes (work, insurance, etc.), catalogs (tour operators, etc.), test drives (cars, etc.), etc. online in order to complete their acquisition funnel.

These players very often have many traditional acquisition channels such as Google Search, Facebook, Instagram, Display… mostly with banner formats or short product videos coupled with remarkably effective re-marketing approaches.

But video often remains a little or badly exploited lever because the entry fee is perceived as higher and the slightest error in creative or distributive methodology is unforgiving in terms of ROI.

Which video do you go with?

To be successful with this type of campaign, you have to think about results.

The video must generate clicks – performance – before it can generate retention – branding. Branding is therefore only an « overlay » to performance.

The script is more important than the creative idea.

And yes, you’ll have to accept the fact you won’t win any prizes in Cannes! 😉

In the majority of cases, the video to be created will be a rather long video by today’s « standards, » more than 1 min and up to 2 and a half min, whose design will have to let all phases of the funnel be completed: discovery > consideration > interest > action to buy/test.

Setting up strategies in 2 or 3 re-marketing sequences for this type of campaign as is now commonplace is not recommended.

The other peculiarity of these videos is to think of them separately for each device: our behavior on mobile and desktops remains drastically different.

Planning the video without this consideration can very strongly penalize the campaign’s ROI .

Tests for outperforming

All our campaigns are subject to pre-launch testing to determine which variant of video advertising gives the best conversions on target.

We test several elements in the video itself: the introduction, the call-to-actions, the sequences, the music, the rhythm, etc…

We couple this with all possible tests of platform-specific features: YouTube doesn’t have the same formats as Facebook, which doesn’t have the same buttons as Instagram, which doesn’t have the same targeting as YouTube… etc.

Very often, the video that performs best on a mobile is not the same as on desktop.

Sometimes the one that over-performs at the beginning of the campaign runs out of steam, requiring the reinstatement of videos that initially under-performed.

For this type of campaign, we have Split-Tested up to 60 different variants of video ads in order to get the expected ROI. And because it became tedious and unreliable to do all these tests by hand, we developed an exclusive technology that allows us to create combinations of creatives on target mixes rigorously and methodically: VideoRunRun.

This technology now allows us to effortlessly create 500 to 10,000 sub-campaigns with allocating the budget on the best creatives according to devices and targets.

If the brand already has its own videos – for example, for le Slip Français, 3 advertising videos including a TV ad – then it is quite easy for us to split-test them in order to identify the best one per target and device.

If the brand calls on us upstream – as was the case for Balinéa – we design, anticipate in pre-production and ultimately produce multiple variants of the same video, thanks to our mastery of the production flow from A to Z.

Why and how do you scale?

Once the pre-tests have been carried out, the risk is totally minimized, because the ROI is already known, « so all you have to do is scale.”

Remember that this is the point of this type of Scale-Up campaign: to make video production profitable as quickly as possible, to generate enough revenue and margin to inject it into the media spend as long as the target is not saturated.

This is how we assist Start-Ups to become recognized brands by helping them to reach an image and business plateau.

Our VideoRunRun technology was designed specifically for this purpose: to find video variants that can perform as high as possible in the funnel in phase 1, in order to open up targeting to the maximum in phase 2.

Indeed, we make it a point of honor not to let ourselves be locked into the multitude of funnel stocking solutions – re-marketing, machine learning – which are certainly hyper-performing in terms of cost per acquisition but are terribly lacking in power reserves when it comes to scaling.

Once the pre-tests have been carried out and the scaling logic adopted, we have 2 types of approach:

1/ establish progressive monthly budgets

This is often what start-ups or brands that operate on monthly or annual budgets do. Budgets gradually increase until the target is saturated.

These campaigns are generally spread over 6 to 18 months, depending on the freshness of the creative concept – its « evergreen » side assumed, i.e. it must be able to exist without being attached to a given season or event (no Christmas movie!) until target saturation and ROI is obtained.

2/ go for domination: « halo effect”

In Scale-Up Video Campaigns, English speaking brands start with a more aggressive domination phase – from 2 to 6 weeks – in order to bring the brand to a very quick turnaround by looking for an X2 ROI; but no more than that in order to encourage broad targeting rather than stifling the campaign.

This approach has the merit of fertilizing all the other acquisition channels by lowering their respective CPAs and generating word-of-mouth, aka “viralization.”

The monthly budget approach will be implemented based on a more thorough ROI search.

At videorunrun, we’re working hard to make this a reality, which we hope to be shipping your way in repeated, continuous updates very soon.

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