VIDEO CONTENT MARKETING TIPS

A/B Testing Paid Media Video Intros with Tommie Traffic – TubeTalk #143

a-b-testing-tommie-traffic


The thing that separates the professional marketer from the hobbyist is A/B testing. If you’re dumping money into paid campaigns, it is absolutely essential that you A/B test your campaigns to make sure they are as effective as they can be.

In this episode of Tube Talk, Dane Golden sits in for Jeremy Vest and talks to Tommie Powers about how to A/B test your videos, especially the all-important intro of your video to maintain your audience and convert.

Enjoy, and please share if you find this episode valuable!

Transcript:

Dane Golden:
My name is Dane Golden from Hey.com, and today we have Tommie Traffic. How are you today, Tommie?

Tommie Traffic:
Hey, I’m great. Couldn’t be better.

Dane:
Finally have you on. I don’t think we’ve ever had you on this podcast, have we?

Tommie:
I don’t think so.

Dane:
That is a real big shame. Tell us what you do, Tommie.

Tommie:
I help companies buy customers and scale with paid advertising. That’s kind of my thing, man.

Dane:
I first met you at VidSummit, Derral Eves’s VidSummit, where you’ve spoken several times. You’re in, you’re out. I am continually astounded and taking an hour full of notes every time you speak and so always learn something. Today, tell us what you’re gonna talk about today.

Tommie:
You and I were talking a little earlier about scaling technique in terms of alternate intros, is what we call it. It’s not necessarily exactly what you think it is generally speaking so I think we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of what it really is and really a better understanding of how to actually execute it.

Dane:
With TrueView paid pre-roll ads …

Tommie:
Correct.

Dane:
How do you tweak the intro of the video for best conversion and scaling a campaign?

Tommie:
Absolutely. It works for in-display as well and it works for Facebook as well.

Dane:
Any video ad … Whether it’s a … comes up in the search engine …

Tommie:
Correct.

Dane:
… or if it’s in your Facebook feed, this technique sounds really helpful. How do you get started?

Tommie:
Yeah, so, I think primarily there is a little bit different in the strategies. My goal was just to focus on the pre-roll side of it but it does work generally speaking any type of video advertising. I think if we … To keep the thing short, we’ll just focus on maybe just in-stream.

Dane:
Okay, let’s focus on that. What do you do?

Tommie:
In essence, what we do, we test a lot. A lot of people that want to work with me typically, not always but typically, they want to scale. They want to spend six figures a month type of stuff.

Dane:
That’s a lot.

Tommie:
Right. Not always, right, and everybody we work with doesn’t necessarily is at that level. That’s what I’ve gotten known for in our space working with large, bigger, budgets. Some of my clients that I’ve helped really just skyrocketed their business or whatever. That’s what people come for.

We’ve been through these iterations of how we actually go about doing that. It starts out where it’s really about finding the messaging that resonates with your audience first. We’re typically going to be testing a lot of different messages to these audiences to find what resonate and what actually will drive conversions. Then we execute as a inch-wide/mile-deep strategy where we go to the alternate intros as a way to iterate on what messaging we know that’s already working to figure out if we can play around with other things with that.

Dane:
This is the basic term is A/B testing. Then, if you have a lot of diff versions you’re testing of ads, it’s multivariate testing right?

Tommie:
Correct, yeah.

Dane:
How many times should you test it? How do you know how many times to test something?

Tommie:
It starts out primarily though is you got to find a message that works first. A lot of times, people want to … They want to create a video and they’ll run a ad and it doesn’t work and it’s like, “Oh, video ads don’t work.” It’s like-

Dane:
It doesn’t work!

Tommie:
Oh well, yeah. If you put one video out, that probably won’t so our whole strategy is around increasing success rate and lowering failure rate. The more things you test, the more likely you’ll find a winner but-

Dane:
You probably start with some best practices of things you think …

Tommie:
Absolutely.

Dane:
You already know by experience some things are going to work so you start with those …

Tommie:
Correct.

Dane:
… and then you have a series of variables for the messaging.

Tommie:
Correct. For example, in the health niche, there’s a lot of different conversations you can have to people in that audience. It really depends on what are you selling. Is it product? Service? Whatever it is, then you got to breakdown for the messages that are relevant to my … Relevance is key.

We might go with dieting. We may go with weight loss, belly fat., metabolism. You got all of these kind of sub categories of health that you may be able to wrap around whatever you’re selling. That’s how we start out with coming up with ideas around the type of videos that we want to create to see if we can get them to resonate in the market and then create a message that’s relevant with what we’re offering them.

Dane:
When you talk about intros to these videos, how long is a general video and how long is the part you consider an intro?

Tommie:
That’s the thing about the intro piece. It doesn’t really have … It doesn’t matter how long or short the video is because the goal … The reason why this strategy has worked so well for me is I don’t think about it at a surface level, at a broad level in terms of, okay, I’m just starting out something. This is more of down the line when I’ve went through those iterations of all of those different subcategories I went through, trying to find that messaging that hit.

Maybe it’s belly fat is the thing that, when we have these belly … We hit the belly fat. It’s like, okay, this message looks like it may be a better message. How can we create more videos around belly fat? Then we kind of go into that and it’s like, okay, we’re onto something here.

Dane:
You’ve done a ton of testing beforehand and research on specific topics and key words and subjects that are going to win. Then, after you’ve done that and constructed the majority of the video and even played around with that a few times, for the intro … Now, you have different amount of times based on different platforms, how long you have before people click off.

How long do you have on Facebook vs YouTube in-stream pre-roll?

Tommie:
It varies. It really just depends on the video. I have videos on Facebook that go as long as 10 minutes.

Dane:
No!

Tommie:
Some of are only one minute.

Dane:
You don’t!

Tommie:
I have videos in-stream right now running that are nine minutes long that are-

Dane:
Yes, but the intro you only have a few sec-

Tommie:
Oh, yeah, you talking about the … Yeah, well, so that’s what happens. Once we find the video, maybe it’s a three-minute video. Or, if it’s a seven-minute video, the key is does that video actually drive conversion. Then, when we go and do the alternate intro piece, that is where we’re finding … We know, and you probably know this, the first 10 to 15 seconds is the most critical time in the video, regardless of what follows it.

Once you’ve found the bread and butter of video itself, then you go and do the alternate intro where you might slice them up. The first 10 seconds we may create three to five different initial 10 second intros in front of that video. Then we then take that same video and just create five version of it, only with the first 10 seconds changed out. Then we go through iterating that process.

Usually what happens, if you go through that a couple times, you’ll find that intro that really just pops and, because you know the meat and potatoes of the video is already proven, it then can take it into another stratosphere.

Dane:
What types of variables do you test? Do you test if there’s a person speaking at-

Tommie:
Yep.

Dane:
I’m always big on people saying “You” when they speak in the first few seconds. I’ve found that that is better. Is it have to be a face? Do you focus on a product first? Do you decide how close they are to the camera or the background? What are the types of variables you pick?

Tommie:
A person in the video. It could be objects. It could be bloopers. It could be just a wide range of ideas. Really creative thing, and I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a very creative dude so I have to really lean on the writers and stuff for them to get really creative. My primary thing is, from a conversion standpoint, I want to know that we have an ad set that converts, that actually gets people … We run a ad. We get people where we want them to go. They actually convert on some level.

Then, when we figured a lot of that out, with the intros, I really lean a lot on the writers and people that I work with of to just get creative. Let’s just think of some out of the box stuff that most other people aren’t doing that we could be testing. We had one video where the powder stuff just pooffed all up in the guy’s face, just green all over him. Just all kind of just weird stuff, and really those weren’t my ideas. They were the … My thing is to empower the creative minds to say, “We need multiple relevant intros to this proven video that we know that can drive sales.” In order for us to scale it, we know that first 10 to 15 seconds we’re trying to find that right fit there.

We may go through a bunch of different iterations and so these guys’ll just come up with wacky ideas and we’re testing. It’s not even about an exact science. It’s just ideas because you testing them. I’ve already … By the time I get to that point, we’ve already found the meat and potatoes of the message. We’re just trying to get that little extra because all it is is just that little extra boost that can just put you where you can put it in front of the audience and so many more people resonate with it. Now you’re getting more eyeballs to stick, to pay attention to the meat and potatoes that we’ve proven in this audience.

Dane:
Got it.

Tommie:
Get it?

Dane:
You’re coming from a numbers perspective.

Tommie:
Absolutely.

Dane:
You’re focused on what can get x% higher conversion rate. You’ve already solved the part about the main body of the video and the intro is what can I get this particular niche audience to pay attention to long enough to get to the meat and potatoes and then stay.

Tommie:
Yes, and creative people love it because we’re conversion and numbers focused but a lot of time, when you do too much of that, creative people … You’ll suffocate their creativity like that. By having this extra element, they love it and it works great for me because, from a testing perspective, I know that I need to test things. I give them a rope to just be creative with it but it has to be relevant to what we’re doing. They love that because they get to really allow they creative juices to flow and it’s a big win like that. Whereas, in the past, historically, we wasn’t always very creative-friendly, because it was like, “The numbers and the data and converts and da-da-da-da-da.” Creative people don’t always want to hear that.

Dane:
Stifles them.

Tommie:
They just want … yeah, exactly.

Dane:
I got two questions. One is from a Facebook versus YouTube perspective. Particularly with Facebook but also with YouTube, when you put a multivariate test out there, you put the same thing with five different versions in the same campaign, the algorithm will decide for you which one is better. How do you give it enough length? Do you try to run them as entirely separate campaigns with a specific, so that they … Within the same campaign, a winner isn’t decided too soon. How soon is too soon?

Tommie:
We split them in ad sets. We’ll do … Let’s say we got three versions we want to test to the same audience. We’ll put one ad in one ad set and put another ad in another ad set and another. We’d have three ad sets with a different add in each running to the same audience so that a) we do get the value of the algorithm but we don’t give the algorithm complete … Sometimes the algorithm won’t favor conversion as much as it’ll favor engagement. There is a balance between the two. You have to have … It has to convert in order for us to get a return on the money that we’re spending so these guys want me to spend more of it. At the same time, it has to be engaging because Facebook isn’t going to give you … Your ad probably isn’t going to do that well if it doesn’t.

It’s a balance between keeping some control over what we’re testing while also allowing the algorithm to do what it does. Typically, what’ll happen we’ll be able to … From a numbers perspective, we’ll determine which ad set, which ad, is actually the better one. Then we’ll then allow that one to run or we can then take it and maybe put it in front of another audience or whatever the case may be. The goal then is to go wide, to go broad. When we find something, we want to go broad with it and we want to open it up to a bigger audience. That’s how you really scale. You got to have a larger audience size, so.

Dane:
If I am hearing you right, you’ll do three different ad sets to compare three different intros to the same video. Same audience, same time of day, same amount?

Tommie:
Everything. It’s a traditional A/B test. The only thing that’s different is the intro. It’s the same goals for in-stream on YouTube as well. It’s by ad groups. It’d be three different ad groups targeting the same audience, same device, whatever it is. I can’t target desktop and mobile separately with a different ad that I’m testing against each other. Everything has to be the same and only one variable can be changed if you’re really doing a true test for that specifically.

Dane:
What is, when you look at the metrics and the results– You’re comparing two factors, it sounds like, both the length of time that they’re watching or maybe some other likes or shares or things like that. Then you’re also looking at how many clicks to the offer. Or are you looking not just clicks but actually purchasing the offer? What are the variables you need to consider?

Tommie:
The primary thing we look at is revenue. I use something called revenue-based tracking and that’s really we’re tracking based on the revenue. I don’t care which one gets more clicks than the other. I want the one that’s going to generate me the most revenue or give me a better … We’re not … That’s like Facebook algorithm kind of stuff or whatever. There’s not anything wrong with looking at those numbers. We do look at them but we primarily is basing it on which one is going to give us a better return. That’s really what it boils down to.

It’s not always as easy as to get done and it’s really not a zero-sum game. At its core we’re trying to isolate as many variables as possible to focus on the future few because, if you don’t … If I got two or three different things that I’m testing at the same time, how do I really know which one had the most impact as it relates to the specific metric that determines success?

Dane:
Will you do this weeks ahead of a campaign, day before? Will you ever actually do it after the campaigns been going for a while? Will you say, “You know what? Let’s test that other variable at minute one, when that guy jumps out of the airplane,” or something like that?

Tommie:
Yeah, the beauty of testing is you always need to be doing it. The thing is, like I said, it’s all about first do you have a message with the meat and potatoes of that message that actually resonates with your audience, with a large, broad-size audience even? We’re talking about scale. If I’m just purely wanting to niche it down or really be targeted, then maybe you don’t do these. You’ll adjust based on that but I’m really going after scale. A lot of times, I’m with people that want to spend $5,000/$10,000 a day. I can’t be worried about a $50 a day ad that’s super targeted and all of this stuff. We’re trying to find that message that has the meat and potatoes to a broad-size audience where then we can do different things to iterate around that, where we can get a better lift, if you will, for that message.

When we’re doing these tests, that’s basically what we’re trying to … We’re trying to get a lift with that creative in a broad sense that drives revenue because that’s what we’re looking at.

Dane:
Did you say that you considered the intro to be the first 10 or 15 seconds? Is that what you said?

Tommie:
Typically is short. A minute-long video you probably talking five second because … Obviously with YouTube specifically, you got five seconds before they skip it, so. Usually, yeah, 10 to 15 seconds is where we’re at when we’re talking about alternate intros as it relates to a scaling technique where you’ve found that meat and potatoes message and now we’re just going to switch out the first 10 or 15 seconds and iterate through that. Yeah. Even if it’s a two-minute, five-minute video, roughly speaking, it’s not always exactly that but generally speaking, yeah, about 10 to 15 second.

Dane:
Tommie Traffic, you have delivered for this podcast something we haven’t really covered before ever, I don’t think. The valuable stuff and after we produce this, I’m going to listen to it again because it’s good stuff and I really appreciate you being on. Where can people find you and more about your services and maybe even learn a little bit more of your techniques?

Tommie:
TommieTraffic.com like my name, Tommie, TOMMIE, Traffic.com. you can find me there. I’m at Facebook, Tommie Traffic. I’m at Twitter, whatever else it is out there. That’s how you’ll find me, just search Tommie Traffic and you’ll find me.

Dane:
Can they network with you at VidSummit this year?

Tommie:
Yeah, absolutely. I’m looking forward to it actually. I’m expecting this to be the best VidSummit that … ever before. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about it.

Dane:
My name’s Dane Golden. I’m @DaneGoldenEverywhere or find me on Hey.com. I help businesses manage their YouTube channels. Also check out Jeremy Vest. He’s at @VidpowBam on Twitter or @Vidpow.com. Vidpow offers great channel management and sales videos for businesses. Until next week, keep talking tube.

Dane Golden

Dane Golden is CEO of HEY.com, a video content marketing agency. His mission is to help brands get viewers to come back to their videos again and again through use of helpful how-to content, driving loyalty, conversion and ROI. Please connect with Dane on social media using the links below:

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