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Success in Online Video: An MBU Story

June 7, 2016
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Posted by Jennifer Schmid

 Above, Bryce Chapman from MBU describes their partnership with Dovetail.

Traditionally, TV production is costly and the media schedule to run spots on TV is even costlier. Now, with the success of online video ad platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Hulu, to name a few, brands with modest budgets are able to explore the possibilities of video advertising. This has proven to be great news for our higher-education client, Missouri Baptist University.

MBU, a private, not-for-profit university in St. Louis, has seen much success with the branding campaign our agency developed for them. The “Shine On” campaign made its debut in the St. Louis market in 2013 with the launch of a fresh, new logo, a responsive website, online display advertising, :60 radio and strategically placed billboards. All vehicles had to work extremely hard for MBU given the school’s limited marketing budget. And they did. The campaign exceeded expectations with a significant increase in website traffic and a noteworthy increase in undergraduate admissions. The campaign was integrated throughout the institution and has been embraced at all levels – by the President, faculty, administration and students.

 

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MBU has an intensive number of competitors in the St. Louis market and was able to break into the consideration set of high-schoolers looking for something different in their college education. The entrepreneurial spirit and swagger demonstrated by the Shine On campaign was making a measureable impact. However, their competitors had something that MBU did not: a TV presence. Every spring and fall, Webster University, Fontbonne College, Lindenwood University and others hit the airwaves with multiple spots on primetime TV and cable. This was a cost-prohibitive media venue for MBU. So, we continued to pursue our brand-building campaign. Good news: the campaign continued to drive positive results, even on a flat budget and in spite of the crush of competitive TV commercials.

During the campaign’s third year (2015), and with a flat budget, we saw a new option: online video. Brands have been making the leap to online video with fantastic results. Overall, digital video advertising has grown to $4.1 billion this year, with much of that growth coming in mobile video. That number is expected to rise to $8.04 billion in 2016. By contrast, direct response and television ads are expected to experience a sharp spending drop as more advertisers search for more effective ways to reach their customers.

In the past, professional-grade video has been an expensive proposition. Shooting, editing and production required specialized equipment, expertise and a substantial budget. Fortunately, advances in technology have made even professional videography more affordable than ever. So, it was the optimal time for MBU to include online video in their media plan and go into production of their first :30 and :15 online video spots.

The creative team had their work cut out for them. Not only was there a need to evolve the Shine On campaign into something even better than before, but we needed to adapt that excitement and energy into a new medium using short video bytes that could live up to Shine On standards and client expectations. During the creative process, the mantra within the agency was “expect the unexpected.” This captured the essence of the Shine On campaign and motivated the team to push even further. Everything was evaluated using this filter. The first presentation brought a number of fresh, new creative concepts forward. Using the technicolor Shine On color palette, with inspirational and impactful words and imagery, we were able take the campaign to the next level, and you can see it here.

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As we continue to track the success of the campaign, we now have much more rich data to analyze with online video. Who, when, where and how are now trackable questions. Platforms such as YouTube and Hulu provide plenty of data about video metrics such as views, minutes watched, likes, shares, subscribers, etc. However, the biggest advantage that online video holds over traditional TV is the ability to track clicks and engagement with your website. We have seen tangible results in this area exceeding impression goals and delivering excellent click through rates.

These online video platforms are still fairly new, but it’s clear that more brands and agencies are shifting to a video approach to reach a new audience and more eyeballs. Videos have the ability to bring your brand to life and drive prospects directly to your virtual doorstep wanting more, which is more than TV commercials can promise. To see the Shine On campaign work, click here.

 

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