Taking Back Control: Content Optimization

Content is King. Fact. In Carsten Thode’s ‘Like a Tree Falling in the Middle of the Forest’ article, in Now, New and Next, he used these very words to make a very important point - creating content without an optimization strategy is a “pointless waste of money”. The days of content going ‘viral’ are over. At Synergy, our job has always been to tell our clients’ stories in the formats (film, photography, graphics, copy, animation, etc.) and channels (social, digital, earned media, paid media etc.) that their audiences use. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that even the best ideas need the right media just as that media needs the right ideas.

This symbiotic relationship between content and distribution means that there are huge advantages to be had by taking back control and accountability for the performance of our own creative work. That’s why we are so excited to be able to work in such close partnership with Engine Media, our sister agency, to deliver an integrated solution. We have still only scratched the surface of this partnership but it has already allowed us to win new clients and awards over the past 12 months, while helping us take our content to the next level, by optimising it for the relevant distribution strategy.

Right content, right audience, right time, right results.

There is no particular magic to our solution – just a smart use of data and technology to develop a superior audience segmentation (including “look-alikes” and “act-alikes”) and to ensure that the media inventory is 100% viewable by real people. By creating live data pools, we can also sophisticatedly retarget our audience and take them on a genuine brand and product journey. Ultimately, it’s about delivering the right content, to the right audience, at the right time to ensure that what they are seeing is both tailored and hyper-relevant. And it’s about doing it throughout the campaign, not just at the beginning and end.

This year, Engine Media and Synergy picked up The Drum Digital Trading Award for best video campaign for Standard Life’s sponsorship of Andy Murray. We have also been nominated by the UK Agency Awards in the Best Social Media Campaign category. The Standard Life campaign is a game-changing example of how to take a relatively small media budget and deliver quality engagement over time, optimizing all aspects in real-time to improve ROI.

We designed and delivered creatively engaging content to the core audience, to raise awareness and understanding of the shared values between Andy Murray and Standard Life. The ‘Master Your Dreams’ campaign represented a partnership that goes deeper than just the wins and losses, tournaments and training days. It needed to tell the story of advancing ambition and a commitment to improvement - key facets of Standard Life - and it needed to be meaningful, lasting and highly visible.

The campaign shattered all previous campaign activation numbers and drove phenomenal results despite a tight budget. We smashed the video view target by 185%. Quality delivery was key and we drove 5.7 million video views, of which, an incredible 800,000 viewed through to completion – which, given the length of some of the videos, was a phenomenal outcome. Although this campaign was all about engagement within environments that our audience trust, we also drove 40,000 arrivals to withandy.com.

Ultimately, our 360°optimization process produced a more cost-effective campaign for Standard Life, which resulted in our Cost Per Completed View decreasing by 72% and completed view rates increasing by 197%.

And this isn’t an isolated success.

Last September, we started working with QBE to develop the brand’s content strategy around its sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand. With two distinct audiences of rugby-loving Brokers and C-Suites, we used data and insight to uncover the other similarities between them, whilst recognizing them as two very different beasts. We used content to elevate the QBE ‘Team Behind The Team’ campaign from a simple, observational look at the Lions back room staff, to a campaign with depth and meaning - storytellers and thought leaders bringing the campaign to life, appealing to the differences in our two audiences.

The combined impact ensured that we created a social media plan relevant to every stage of the tour. Once again, our live optimization delivered record-breaking results - a 600% increase on anticipated views and a click-through rate 57% higher than the industry average. And, because we never rest on our laurels mid-way through the campaign, we moved to a programmatic platform which increased the view completion rate of the content by a further 124%.

Standard Life Investments was also the principal partner of the Lions. In an asset management business face-to-face marketing engagement is rare and regulation limits uptake of corporate hospitality. We therefore employed a content strategy to deliver compelling stories around the brand values of World Class, Teamwork and Potential, to appeal to the insatiable desire from fans for Lions content.

We reaped the rewards of the always-on conversation around squad selection, from the Autumn Internationals in 2016 all the way through to the end of the two-month tour to NZ. We filmed weekly / daily content with ambassadors and commentators assessing player data and providing social analysis that was edited in hours and promoted the same day. This real-time approach ensured that we were creating hyper-relevant content that was distributed in real-time and fed back into the creative development for next edits.

We saw an increase in completed video views by 297% compared to forecasts and previous campaigns. The relevance of the content, plus the inclusion of native media and programmatic video distribution, meant we increased view rates by 87%. Crucially, with such high view rates, the engagement and social chatter has translated into positive brand impression and, most importantly, increased consideration with our core audience (Source: SMG YouGov).

As mentioned, this is all just a taste of what’s possible. But if we haven’t already convinced you that taking back control of your digital media strategy is the way forward, then take another look at your results. Are you happy with views, CPV and engagement you are getting? Can you afford to keep ploughing money into great creative that not enough people see?

Are you interested to find out if you could get more bang for your buck? If so, we’re always ready to take the Pepsi Challenge. Give us a brief and we guarantee to beat your current performance benchmarks. If we don’t, we’ll refund our creative development fee in full*.

It’s time to take back control.

*performance benchmarks, media budget and creative development fees to be agreed in advance.