Hershey's Looks to New Video Metrics for Cool Blasts Videos

The Candy Brand Uses Video Share of Voice Tracking from Visible Measures

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Hershey's is betting on branded videos to spike interest in its new mint-like product Ice Breakers Cool Blasts, and innovative metrics are backing that effort. That means gauging how the videos fare compared to the competition through new metrics from partner Visible Measures, which aims to measure the impact of video campaigns beyond just paid placements.

"Hershey's is a very metric-driven company," said Marty Baker, senior manager of global digital content at The Hershey Co. The candy maker has worked with Visible Measures since 2013, and has been using the new Share of Attention and Share of Spend metrics from the company, which today will unveil a new planning tool incorporating those metrics.

"We wanted to put more of our data in the hands of clients," said Visible Measures founder and CEO Brian Shin of the True Planner tool.

Like share-of-voice measurements in TV advertising, the Share of Attention metric from Visible Measures takes into consideration analysis of over 10,000 video campaigns, estimating organic and paid viewership of a brand's videos in comparison to those of its competitors. Similarly, the Share of Spend metric is based on spending estimates for paid placements. The measurement firm factors in the possibility of paid viral or astro-turfing efforts, also. When companies pay to help get their videos spread virally, "You don't typically see as many comments or shares," said Mr. Shin.

The ultimate goal for Hershey's and countless other marketers is to figure out how that viral pass-along translates into actual sales. "That's of course the tough question we're all asking," said Mr. Baker. He wouldn't go into detail, but he said the company is working on programs this year to do just that, by tracking "sales at retail stores."

The Cool Blasts video campaign follows Hershey's NCAA March Madness related Let's Go Reese's video campaign in 2013 and 2014, which it also tracked with Visible Measures. The company grabbed more than 500,000 paid views from the campaign, which was syndicated across the web to target passionate NCAA fans. When adding in organically-shared views -- what Visible Measures calls True Reach -- that number hit more than 1.2 million views.

When brands like Hershey's post TV spots and other video content to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other contextually relevant sites, they don't always have a clear picture of how those videos are shared organically or how their content is performing in comparison to competitor content. The True Reach metric, one Visible Measures has offered for years, aims to show clients reach, taking into consideration viral sharing beyond paid placements.

"It shows how much basically that we were getting in earned media," said Mr. Baker.

One video for Cool Blasts, a breath freshener that looks like gum or a mint but dissolves rapidly, was produced by Los Angeles-based studio McCoy Meyer. The video, running online only, features a curmudgeonly older gentleman who's skeptical that things like the high-five or motorcycle were actually innovations in "cool." The air guitar solo? "That's just a kid with no job," he declares, before trying Cool Blasts, which he seems to agree are "a totally new cool." The Cool Blasts video campaign, intended to amplify the product launch, started in September and ends next week.