When it comes to posting videos, timing is everything.
Should a marketer plan posting times by observing regular patterns of usage or evolve the placement in real-time based on results? The answer is a combination of both approaches, or what I like to call the one-two punch video posting strategy.
Here's why posting online videos requires both the use of traditional dayparts along with a real-time approach:
Scheduling your videos based on traditional day-parts still works
Studies show that viewership of YouTube videos peaks on weekday evenings. Those posting videos should do so in the early afternoon, like 2 pm, to give YouTube time to index them properly. Viewership tends to ramp up further on Thursday nights and continue until Sunday night when the workweek once again looms strong.
Broadly speaking, people use their smartphones and desktops in the morning. An eMarketer study showed that at 9 AM, more people are turning to their smartphones than to their other devices, probably because many are commuting. Of course, we turn to our smartphones throughout the day. 11 AM is another peak time. So is 11 PM.
Primetime for desktop, meanwhile, continues to come during the day as many of us are trying to get work or shopping done. At night, tablet and connected TV use spikes, indicating that many consumers are in "lean back” mode and arguably are more receptive to advertising because they're in less of a hurry.
Real-time posting creates new opportunities
Of course, there are limits to the use of dayparts.
In practice, marketers must double down on placements that are working and easing back on ones that aren't. For instance, though I tend to grab my smartphone first thing in the morning, some mornings I jump to my laptop first because I need to get something pressing done. Sometimes, when traveling or in meetings, I have more time to check my phone or tablet.
This way, marketers can get real-time results like completion rates that indicate that a video is hitting the mark. In such an instance, it's a good idea to throw out the rulebook and seize the moment.
Emotion is one reason to loosely follow dayparts but be flexible about targeting. Every day is different and consumers' emotions also play a big role in how they receive ads. You can serve an ad at 8:05 AM one day and the consumer will be rushed and in a bad mood. You can serve another at the same time and the consumer might be in a great mood. As we get better at reading consumers' emotions, we'll be able to refine our placements based on such data.
The other variable is the strength of the creative. A really compelling video will change usage patterns. A viral video will travel from Facebook to email to YouTube on various devices. At such times, there's no point in sticking to a static script about usage patterns.
Part of the reason that there's no standard guidebook for posting times is that digital media is still pretty new and cross-device usage is still evolving. In effect, we are still writing the script as we go. We learn from every campaign and every interaction. For now, following the one-two punch video posting approach is the way forward.