Video. The bête noire of marketers and advertisers. When it’s good it’s really good, when it’s bad it’s really bad.
Thankfully, there are at least a few in the industry that understand the medium in great detail. Abigail Howson, Global Head of Video at Jellyfish, is one of them.
As ever, before we start, here’s your weekly reminder to check out all the digital marketing and ecommerce jobs listed on the Econsultancy jobs board.
Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do?
Abigail Howson: As global head of video, I oversee the strategy, creation and delivery of video for our clients ensuring we have a consistent standard of quality and excellence.
I manage a talented and creative in-house team and together we work alongside the wider Jellyfish team with the ultimate aim of delivering seamless experiences for our end audiences.
E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AH: I have been with Jellyfish for four years now. My peers are our creative directors and other department heads. I report to our chief creative officer, Mark Deeprose.
E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AH: You have to care deeply about the entire lifespan and aims of your creative assets. Not only is this information critical to your decision making with regards to concept, format and execution, but if you aren’t constantly asking for feedback and performance data, then how can you refine your campaigns?
In our ever-changing digital space, platforms change their criteria and functionality frequently. To be able to push boundaries and stay ahead of the curve, we must constantly re-assess our knowledge.
Abigail Howson, Head of Video at Jellyfish
E: Tell us about a typical working day…
AH: I always start the day by spending 20 minutes reading industry news bulletins. The rest of my day is made up of everything from developing new strategies and concepts for clients, to reviewing edits, and catching up with staff in other teams to ensure we are constantly aligned and are sharing knowledge effectively.
The cool thing about having offices across the globe is that there is never a lull in energy as when we come to the midpoint of our UK working day, the US teams are starting their day.
E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?
AH: We service our clients globally, which makes for a great opportunity to travel. From Zurich and Miami, to Amsterdam, Chicago and Belize, we’ve filmed at some spectacular locations. A real highlight is meeting new people and hearing their stories. It’s a great privilege and not one I take for granted.
Having worked in standalone production companies in the past, I must say I love being at a full-service digital agency. There is so much to learn and so many cross-discipline experts to glean information from, it’s impossible to get stuck in a rut.
The thing that sucks is that I can’t physically be in every office at once and therefore can’t be there to encourage our global teams as much as they deserve!
E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
AH: Goals for video performance vary drastically depending on where in the funnel the content will sit. It isn’t always about views.
For example, for brand awareness / upper funnel content, KPIs often relate to generating good quality views and increasing the number of subscribers or audience growth. The duration watched is also a useful metric. Increased share of voice and brand mentions are also key and can be monitored with uplift studies and surveys.
For direct response / lower funnel content, KPIs will likely be the number of clicks through to site and then the conversion rate after that click through, be that purchases, filling in a form, or enrolment.
Today, we have access to a huge amount of data but understanding which specific insights to use for content with different aims is critical. You can deliver excellent work but if you are measuring the wrong metric, then you will be in the dark as to its performance and will have no learnings to take forward.
E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
AH: For production we strongly believe in selecting kit that is fit for purpose, that may be using a phone and rig for social videos, a drone for sweeping aerial shots or an Alexa for higher end work, so I suppose our favourite kit is that which is appropriate for the job.
For post production, we favour the Creative Cloud suite and bolster with plug-ins, and free tools such as handbrake.
E: How did you get into video, and where might you go from here?
AH: My love for video and specifically digital video principles started a long time ago, way before I understood what that actually meant.
I excelled at art throughout school and then went to Central St Martins, first for my foundation course and then my degree. I specialised in moving image very early on at university and I loved the critical thinking that surrounded it.
I developed a strong interest in the delivery of video early on. In my first tutorial at St Martins, I showed my tutor my work, which happened to be on my laptop and he simply said: ‘Why did you choose to present on a laptop, what does it mean?’ That useful lesson, that context is key, stuck with me and is my approach to all work I have created personally and professionally since, whether it be in the third sector, as a freelancer and even now at Jellyfish.
My personal aims are to continue to understand context, by absorbing, learning and moving with changing technology and as a result, producing ever more innovative creative.
E: Which brands do you think are doing video well?
AH: It is easy to think of brands with excellent hero content and brand awareness content like Volvo, Honda, Ikea and Old Spice, but I tend to judge brands on how they use video holistically. What hub and hygiene content are they providing for their audiences post discovery and how do all their channels and properties work together?
Having said that, a clean and well organised YouTube channel always gets a thumbs up from me!
I am not sure anyone does online video perfectly, but those that consider the funnel and create video covering a range of purposes are definitely my favourite.
E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in video?
AH: Be a geek! Making nice looking video is not enough. It’s important to understand video in digital and know how it differs from video in broadcast. Within digital, know for example how video for organic social is different to video for paid social, and how video varies across display and Trueview.
Ask lots of questions! If you’re making content, assess how it’s performing and understand why it has performed in that way.
Don’t be afraid to test things out or suggest something new. It’s how we learn.
If you’re as in to brand and creative as Abigail is, why not check out the Festival of Marketing 2017, London Oct 4-5.