3 Ways to Justify Your Native Video Budget

Almost every marketer and media buyer will tell you that native advertising is new terrain—the ones who claim to be experts either know something that the rest of the world doesn’t or have a secret ability to predict the future.

Because native advertising—particularly native video—is so new, there are very few case studies or “success paths” to follow. We are, essentially, defining the space from the ground up.

The opportunity to think like a pioneer, however, won’t be a strong enough reason for your leadership team to cut a six-figure check. You need to process-map your budget to tangible business results. Here are three things to tell your CFO—or anyone else who might be refusing to give you money for a native video advertising campaign.

1 Native video is an appreciating asset

Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun and Bradstreet and former marketing lead at Dell, calls content an “appreciating asset”, meaning that it actually gains rather than loses value. Here’s why:

  • Content, regardless of medium, has a shelf life beyond its initial launch. When you produce something interesting—with a clear and compelling story—it will gain traction across media and deliver SEO juice.
  • As content gains traction, so does its impact. Six months or sooner down the line, you’ll start to see a boost in earned media from the channels mentioned above. Your upfront investment will save money going forward.
  • The content that you create can have multiple use cases—including materials for your sales team to build relationships.
  • Content can be repurposed. Dollar Shave Club, for instance, has distributed its epic, $4,000 viral video across multiple channels including video seeding campaigns, YouTube, and old-school television.

Sales pitches and advertisements have a limited lifespan. Native video, on the other hand, can live on forever. The reason? It’s grounded in storytelling rather than a momentary promotion.

2 Native video is cost-effective

Because native video is an appreciating asset, it’s also cost-effective. By creating a series of evergreen, staple videos, you’ll have more time and bandwidth to build out an ever-lasting, scalable marketing program. Not to mention, you’ll create a machine for generating earned media—a form of “free” marketing that will continue to deliver ROI, way past the initial spend of your original campaign.

At the end of the day, however, this explanation may not be strong enough for your executive team to hand you an open-ended budget. They’ll probably ask you to prove your ability to drive meaningful results. If that’s the case, here’s what you need to do with the data that you already have:

  • Identify a handful of your highest performing pieces of content, from any medium (blog posts, infographics, or videos).
  • For each individual example, create a map of the ROI that your team has been able to generate. Include timing—for instance, the time lag between publishing and seeking SEO pickup.
  • Explain how ROI might look if you replicate this small initiative on a larger scale.

Make sure that this information positions the brand survey in terms of costs and estimated revenue generated. If you don’t have a clear dollar-figure, use proxy metrics like web conversions.

3 Native video will future-proof your advertising strategy

One of the biggest challenges that advertisers face is banner blindness. Consumers don’t like the feeling of being bombarded with ads, which means that some established digital marketing techniques are losing their value.

Native video is—phrased in terms of the cheesiest expression of all time—the next frontier of digital advertising. The rationale makes sense. Rather than relying on fleeting audience connections, native ads forge audience relationships through storytelling, empathy, and continued dialogue. In essence, native takes the selling out of sales.

Because native is new and counterintuitive to the sales agendas of most organizations it will require a process of experimentation, trial, and error. The time to master the learning curve is now, when there are comparatively fewer contenders in the market.

By taking small steps to learn now, through small and carefully planned experiments, you’ll be well-positioned to outpace your competition when native goes mainstream.

Final thoughts

Native video is worth it—you know it, your customers know it, and your boss knows it. Now, you need to convince your executives. In addition to sharing case studies and industry hype, you need to make a case for why native is essential to the future of your organization. Be persistent, approach this challenge from the perspective of running an experiment, and reach out to strategic advertising partners who can help guide you.

About the Author

Ritika Puri

Ritika Puri is a San Francisco-based blogger who writes about trends in business, internet culture, and marketing. She's inspired by the intersection between technology, entrepreneurship, and sociology.

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