First YouTube Campaign Results and Target Marketing

Time to breakdown the results after my first YouTube ad campaign. The good news: I learned a great deal about marketing my work (which I’m about to share).

The bad news: this campaign had a very poor outcome. But that’s ok. I know why it was so ineffective.

What Went Wrong

The ad did very little, if anything, to grab the viewer’s attention. Visually it’s very weak. YouTube did not grant me permission to pick a thumbnail for the ad, and what I ended up with is a boring screen grab from the video. But that’s not the main reason for the ineffectiveness.

The main reason this video failed to have an impact is very simple to understand yet complicated to correct. What needs to be adjusted for future marketing is the audience I target these ads to, and reaching a target audience cannot be done until I first define my target audience. Failure to do so ahead of time put my ad in front of +380K viewers who completely ignored my video.

If we look at the numbers, we can learn a few other things:

  • Starting off, 380k impressions lead to 55 views (.014% effectiveness. Terrible!)
  • Of those 55, 8 clicked to The First 5 Minutes (14%. Better but not great).
  • The 8 viewers who watched The First 5 Minutes all went on to the movie. (100% click through: That segment works great for now)

The start of this 'flow strategy' is the weakest of the chain, which was caused by not targeting an audience, so it failed to reach people who are looking for something like Master of Inventions. This is a great representation of the bigger problem: My film is in plain sight but no one is paying attention. Why? It’s not being targeted correctly.


Targeting your Marketing

Most marketing materials and top marketers stress the importance of finding your target audience and marketing directly to them. Besides the handful of people on my mailing list and followers online, I have no strong connection to an audience for the film, and that’s a result of not defining the audience in the first place. I'm going to start marketing to groups I feel would be interested in an attempt to build my audience.

Recently I'd been seeking out indie filmmakers and online content creators. That isn't a strong ‘target audience’. It’s a very general description, and I am now realizing most people who identify themselves as a filmmaker is also interested in a certain level of production craftsmanship Master of Inventions doesn’t have. Also, most filmmakers would rather have people watch their stuff than watch others.


Importance of Targeting

Most filmmakers cannot define their audience. Very few have an understanding of who’s watching and why, most filmmakers don’t consider their audience until their work is finished, and most never stop to think who their audience may be and how to get their work directly to them. As a result their work goes ignored or performs far lower than expected. They become bitter and confused and blame it on the content or the fact they didn’t get ‘lucky’.

I’m finding it’s crucial to have your audience defined, the earlier the better, so they’re waiting for you to deliver your art AND become your support system in getting it to other people. Word of mouth is now and forever the best form of marketing. In this age of content overload, everyone listens to his or her friends.

I had a bit of this foresight going into making Master of Inventions, but my audience upon delivery were mostly friends and family, who’s support was great, but not strong enough to propel the film in front of a larger audience.

In order to get your film to spread, you need to ignore the thousands of people who will continue to ignore you and seek out the very few who care about your film; its content, subject matter, message, etc. At first it would seem that a small group of people couldn’t possibly help ignite a sizable buzz for your film, right?


How It Works

Your target market is the springboard for which the word of mouth of your film will spread. If it's good enough, the original target audience will spread it to their many circles, most of which will not be related to your original target market.

Think about it: you have friends who are super passionate about certain things: crafts, beer, comedy, whatever. They put time into it. When you want to know the good stuff, you ask them. They do the research for you. Sometimes they proactively tell us about the things they’re passionate about. When we find things we love, we tell lots of people, most of which aren't as geeked out about it as we are. Your circle listens to you because you cut through the noise. This is the nature of word of mouth.

This is covered in great detail in The Tipping Point and Purple Cow. You go after the geeks or early adopters. If they love it, they tell everyone in various circles, those circles listen, consume, and if they like it, they spread it to other circles, and so on and so on. Phenomenon and disease spread in the exact same way. Below is an illustration of Technology Adoption Life Cycle. If successful, the buzz moves from left to all the way to the right, hitting each group:

Chart courtesy of Wikipedia.

It starts with the innovators and early adopters a.k.a. the people who give a shit. They’re actively looking for the thing you’re marketing. If you connect with them they will gladly take a look at what you’re sharing. If they like it, they will tell others; it’s what the early adopters do. Get enough early adopters spreading your message and your message will spread to the majority.

It should be pointed out the majorities are the group that don’t pay attention at first and wait to hear from the early adopters before trying. Don’t try to go after the majorities first. They are masters of ignoring you.

My original campaign was not targeted to any group or audience. I have to define my audience first. I feel a good group to start with would be the ‘inventors’ crowd. Trying to reach a group that identifies themselves as inventors or are passionate about gadgets and innovation. There are smaller groups with in those groups, but for now I’m going to narrow it down to that before sending out my next ad campaign.

What do you think? Please comment below. This is a work in progress so add to the conversation.