Through our expanding network of BCMA Chapters, Affiliates and Partners, we attempt to offer our members a singular global perspective on branded content from across the world .
Our exclusive series, offers an insight into what’s happening round the world. We specialise in Italy and listen to from our partners at Osservatorio Branded Entertainment (OBE)
Tracing the boundaries of a market means understanding what proportion that market is economically worth, and which are the dominant subjects and dynamics that characterize that specific industry.
In the case of branded entertainment, the difficulties of finding an objective and shared definition also are reflected within the development of a reliable and effective methodology to size investments of investor companies.
In Italy, market surveys promoted by the OBE (Osservatorio Branded Entertainment), together with Havas Media, are supported qualitative-quantitative interviews aimed toward sector managers holding responsibility for branded entertainment projects. These individuals tend to pertain to 3 different clusters: investor companies, creative agencies, and production companies; broadcasters and publishers.
The questionnaire includes questions on the projects managed, the sort and extent of the budget, and eventually , an estimate of the approximate activities for the subsequent year.
The results show that the branded entertainment market has been growing steadily since 2014. As a matter of fact, in only five years, investments have increased by 161%, from 170 million euros in December 2014 to 444 million euros at the top of 2018, with growth reaching an astonishing + 23.3% compared to 2017.The reasons for this growth are many.
On the one hand, the multiplication of distribution channels which, combined with the increasing preference of ad-free mediatic contexts, leads Brands to experiment with new sorts of communication that reach their audiences more efficiently compared to the more traditional communication methodologies.
On the opposite hand, content types that are better suited to capture and maintain the eye of even very segmented audiences because of their inherent enterprising, cross-media, and cross-device nature.
These phenomena, visible on the Italian market, are almost identical if we transcend national borders. the worldwide level branded entertainment market grew quite 8% in 2017, registering 14% within the product placement segment and 14.4% within the Content Marketing segment, which most closely corresponds to the Italian definition of branded entertainment.
In addition to quantitative growth, the branded entertainment sector also records many qualitative changes, demonstrating a progressive maturation and class of the strategies implemented.
Product placement marketing has registered a decrease in its importance, seen as pure product visibility, and, therefore, as a comparatively simple and not very flexible communication tool. Authentic branded entertainment where the brand, being a producer or co-producer of the publishing project, can more effectively shape the content by integrating it with its brand message and making it according to its own strategic needs. Specifically, with 100 being the entire of investments on product placement and branded entertainment, the share of the primary went from 28% in 2017 to 26% in 2018. Therefore, in line with the international market, we will see that PP and BE are both still growing, but with an increasingly clear market trend towards this second sort of communication.
As we advance that specialize in branded entertainment, we notice that in recent years, there has been a rise in original content. for instance , innovative formats created ex-novo by client companies, compared to the more straightforward brand integration where the customer becomes a part of a pre-existent publishing project. This trend has caused original productions to succeed in 76% of the entire branded entertainment projects in 2018, compared to 73% within the previous year.
This trend has been partly influenced by the branded entertainment formats; particularly, by the increasing concentration of investments in video formats. In 2018, over 60% of these interviewed declared that that they had invested their budget mainly within the sort of ‘filmed production’.The survey went on to research the strategic goal that companies began to realize , because of a branded entertainment project. 74% of these interviewed mentioned “upper funnel” objectives, therefore linked to image building, positioning, or generically to the reputation of the brand.
It is interesting to notice this percentage has increased as compared to 59% in 2017, eroding the share of these who place themselves on a tactical level (passed from 17% to 8%) or lower funnel (from 24% to 17%).
Specifically, over 60% of respondents said they used branded entertainment to figure on brand identity and values (68%) or to extend notoriety levels (64%).
Although this survey demonstrates progressive maturation on the evaluation of branded entertainment (for example, a decrease within the use of branded entertainment as a sort of experimentation), measurement processes are still faraway from completion.
While the bulk of respondents specialise in the overall “upper funnel” objectives, performance indicators are fairly often linked to the straightforward distribution of content (audience measurement: 67% of respondents) or interaction with the buyer (engagement measurement: 73% of respondents).Engagement KPI’s (like, share, fan base increase), Audience KPI’s (average listener base, coverage, GRPs, digital views, etc), brand awareness, web traffic KPI’s, brand reputation (through web listening), brand equity, leads, direct commerce, customer loyalty/ intention to shop for increase, Company DB increase, Customer Satisfaction, Other (specify), None of the above.
Goal achievements survey results are encouraging for the sector: 92% are satisfied with the results and believe they need achieved their goals, where the 36% claim to possess met them completely.
Surely, this is often one among the explanations that caused investments to rise continuously: at the top of 2019, the market has reached 506 million euros, 14% higher compared to the previous year, consistent with OBE estimates.
Branded entertainment is thus confirmed together of the communication levers with one among the very best growth rates on the market, with an overall value so vital that it are often fully credited to the critical tools within the hands of companies to succeed in their consumers.
Effectiveness and KPI: Digital video branded entertainment
One of the foremost critical and debated issues within the world of communication is that of measuring results.
In the case of branded entertainment projects, influencer marketing, sponsorships and, generally , tools aside from the design of commercials and classic display advertising, the topic of measurement is formed even more critical by the absence or lack of precision in identification of serious and shared KPIs.
To answer the market, in 2018, OBE (Osservatorio Branded Entertainment) decided to create a model for measuring the effectiveness of branded entertainment, ranging from the digital sector and especially , the video format. the selection was dictated by the trends within the branded entertainment market in Italy, where the video and digital sector are growing, both in terms of the amount of projects completed and investments.
To identify significant KPIs and to define a measurement model, we started from the analysis of digital video branded entertainment projects produced in Italy. They were segmented and selected supported criteria of significance and representativeness until the identification of the 150 video objects of the research.
The analysis also led to the definition of 8 content categories during which to segment digital video projects:
Short films: short films during which the plot / story is scripted (fiction) and includes the utilization of actors.
Tutorial: video with an academic approach that explains / shows / teaches the way to do something.
Music video: music video during which music is that the protagonist.
Docu-factual: production that mixes scripted elements with “improvisations” / real-life scenes. The actors/participants are “prepared” to interact within the assembly . It are often one video, or it can include multiple episodes.
Comedy sketch: videos shot in situations (generally one per episode) supported interaction or comedy. The set is usually unique, and therefore the format is scripted with actors.
Web series: serial series built for the online whose story follows seriality and is entirely scripted.
Social experiment: a video that involves ordinary people and plays on unscripted, or on the reactions that folks can have once they haven’t been prepared/are not actors.
Talent / Talkshow: productions that involve people that confront or compete to win something / become someone. it’s a contest/play component, generally involving a presenter and ordinary people, and is shot within the studio.
After identifying the case histories, the analysis was divided in two phases. One first exploratory phase, which involved 50 people through a digital qualitative path and allowed the identification of the 18 most relevant factors for the development of a model of effective measurement. A second phase involving extensive measurement and mapping, during which 10,000 interviews were administered on a digital population between 18 and 64, which, additionally to generating strategic evidence and fundamental insights for the development of active branded entertainment, led to the creation of the measurement model.
The factors on which to guage the effectiveness of digital branded entertainment video are segmentable into three areas, consisting of 6 elements each:
Video features – the elemental factors for the evaluation of a video, regardless of the objective, characteristics, and distribution. They constitute the structure of a video, no matter the media utilized in the distribution phase, online or offline, and regardless of whether it’s content created by or for a brand: actors – the protagonists of the video, famous or not; music – the soundtrack of the video; setting – the setting of the setting; duration – always important factor that assumes, thanks to the medium, an increasing importance; history – the story/plot; video quality – technical quality, from directing to production.
Content KPIs (digital) – the weather that give us the effectiveness of the thing of study as video content distributed during a digital environment: appeal – the overall appreciation almost like the social concept of likes; relevance – the power of a video to travel beyond satisfaction by stimulating audience interest; catching – during a hyper-crowded environment, is that the ability to “activate” the video; stucking – the propensity to observe the video in its entirety; continuity – the horizontal tie, the will to ascertain similar episodes or subsequent episodes; wom-ability – the power of the video to get desire for sharing.
Brand KPIs – necessary elements since Content KPIs aren’t sufficient to create a solid model of branded entertainment analysis which, to be effective, must also (or above all) generate a return for the brand that funds the project: uniqueness – the unique relationship between the brand and therefore the content (as for traditional advertising, the rule holds that if a campaign are often adapted to multiple brands, it risks being ineffective for everyone); right presence – is that the “balance” or balance of the brand within the video; brand fit – is that the consistency between brand and content; discover – the power , through a discovery to extend the “familiarity” of the brand (elements, values, associations, perceptions that involve an upgrade of brand name awareness, a change within the relationship between consumer and brand); brand lift or image improvement – often a consequence of the point , or the power of a video to enhance the perceived image of that brand. A content, however effective, cannot modify the positioning but, as during a kind of Lego strategy, it’s important to structure it so as to feature a coherent brick on the brand equity tower. Finally, brand consideration – a rise within the propensity towards the brand, which can involve a better intention to shop for or maybe generate the will to possess more information by visiting the shop , the location or becoming an Instagram follower.
The CO.BRA. model and Brand Consideration
These are the 18 elements on which OBE has built the measurement model of digital video projects, called CO.BRA. from the initials of the 2 keywords: Content and Brand. But not all the weather have equal importance for the measurement, the impact of those on the effectiveness of a project has been evaluated supported the power to influence the brand consideration. A culinary maxim states that “in the kitchen, spices are important, but there are more important ingredients.”