Selling to Multi-Location Brands: Streaming Video Is On the Rise

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Streaming video is hot. It may not be the new TV just yet, but online and mobile video were the talk of last week’s Digital Content NewFronts, and more than one third (36%) of the multi-location brands Street Fight surveyed use streaming video regularly in marketing their local branches, franchises, and distributors. Suppliers of local marketing technology and services should move streaming video up on their priorities lists and help their brand customers apply it effectively.

The NewFronts—consciously aping traditional TV’s upfront program and ad promotion—may have originally been conceived as educational, but these days they’re all about new shows and new advertising opportunities. Possibly because it has been the realm of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—joined now by big media companies like Disney, ESPN, the New York Times, and Viacom—streaming video isn’t top of mind for the suppliers covered in Street Fight’s annual State of Hyperlocal report. About 5% of the companies we surveyed had it in their top three near-term R&D investment priorities, though twice that many scheduled it for longer-term payoff. And BIA/Kelsey’s latest local video advertising forecast projects streaming video to account for less than 10% of revenue this year.

Given the adoption shown by our brand survey, Kelsey’s five-year forecast looks pretty conservative. Street Fight identified a correlation between use of streaming video and overall local marketing effectiveness for those brands, too. So it’s useful to look at the marketers who were good at local streaming and see what else they were doing as a template for success. As shown in the figure below, just over one quarter (26%) of the big brands we surveyed listed streaming video as one of their top 5 most effective marketing tactics. Let’s examine those companies.

Those brands, call them effective streamers, were of a similar size in terms of employees and company revenues to the overall survey base. They were a little more likely to be in the hospitality/food/travel category or in tech/telecoms. They were better than the average brand at achieving a variety of marketing objectives with their digital tactics, as shown in the figure below. We asked the survey respondents how effective on a five-point scale their digital efforts proved. The green bars on the chart represent the share of the overall survey base that said “very effective” for a given objective; the orange bar represents the subset of effective streamers. The effective streamers were significantly more successful at raising brand awareness, increasing conversion and sales, and upselling.

The effective streamers spent a similar percentage of their digital budgets locally as that of the other respondents, but they were more likely to say they were increasing that mix. Over half (54%) of them said that, compared with 40% on average, and 18% said they were increasing the local mix significantly. When asked about six different categories of digital tactics, the effective streamers were 10 to 20 percentage points higher than average across the board to say they were increasing spending. Over two thirds (68%) said they were boosting paid search spending, 64% were increasing social media, and 61% were increasing online display ads. Other characteristics of the effective streamers include the following:

  • They used a broader array of advertising and marketing tactics overall. Besides streaming, they were more likely than average to list display ads among their top five tactics and slightly more likely to list paid social media. Notably, almost twice as many (32%) were good at re-targeting, and over a quarter were good at geo-targeting. Fewer of the effective streamers (23%) had email in their top five.
  • They were also more likely to use multiple tools and tactics to manage their local marketing and advertising. Along with social media management tools, many said they used a third-party digital dashboard. They were above-average users of third-party data management platforms, too. Indeed, they were pretty sophisticated at analytics, with a third practicing media mix modeling and a quarter multi-touch attribution.
  • The effective streamers used third-party shopping data and location data more than the average brand. And they relied heavily on search data for multiple campaigns, explaining in part their success at re-targeting. Their sales organizations played a more important role in data than most brands. Overall, they tended to make digital marketing decisions in a more decentralized fashion—often involving both local management and headquarters equally, or deferring to local operations.
  • Many of the effective streamers rated protecting customer data privacy and security as one of their most difficult digital marketing challenges, as well as managing conflicting analytics tools. Proving ROI and attribution also ranked as a challenge, just as with the majority of multi-location brands.
  • As for new technologies, the effective streamers rated real-time location data and addressable TV at the top of their interest lists, followed by programmatic local ad-buying. They were slightly less enthusiastic about mobile push than their peers, and few seem to have much faith in AI for data mining.

Based on our Street Fight brand survey, companies selling local marketing technology and services should take a harder look at incorporating streaming video into their offerings, or at least accommodating it with their management tools, analytics, and data. Streamers are good target customers that are shifting digital spending to local aggressively, and they’re also increasing digital budgets on a variety of tactics.

As social media becomes ever more video-focused, shared consumer and professional video should be a key part of social and local home page strategies. Facebook Stories for company pages are still in beta, and Facebook just announced AR capabilities for video in Messenger. Traditional TV still rules for local video ads, but that ecosystem is ripe for additional players and experimentation. As addressable TV rolls out slowly, targeting and format lessons learned first in streaming video campaigns will move onto the big screen as well.

David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.

Click here for more on the Street Fight Insights report, Enterprise Local Marketers 2017: Benchmarking and Best Practices.