Beating the Classic Display with Programmatic Techniques (DBM/DCM)


As one of the largest international players in the film distribution industry, the objective for them is always to create as much awareness as possible for a movie’s release in order to bring the most amount of people to theaters.


The main objective always remains the same – maximum awareness. However, each movie is faced with its own specific challenges regarding the creation of said awareness. More specifically: what is the main target audience? Does it have popular source material? Does the movie have prequels? What is the movie genre and is the cast well known? Etc… Based on the strengths of each movie, we advise the client on which media to buy in order to reach that top of mind position with the users.

For this particular movie, they needed to have a large reach in multiple age groups preferable with impactful formats in order to give the film a really strong positioning in the market.

Technical Tool : YouTube Rollercoaster

A custom planning framework was created for this advertiser in order to best organize how and when they should ‘push’ content. Since creating awareness is the main goal, the YouTube Masthead had been an integral part for the advertiser’s campaigns as it is also sold by Google as the tool for reach and branding/awareness on Youtube

However, after having analyzed the results from several masthead buys, we realised that the awareness they could generate was, in fact, severely limited. Generally, the masthead had a high reach but it was not frequency capped, did not offer any targeting options and only had a small amount of interactions. This meant that the audience was not reached effectively since the video, and thus the core message, were hardly seen by the audience.

In order to achieve better results, we advised our client to challenge the classic YouTube masthead reservation and so we started to develop a custom product, aptly called “the YouTube Rollercoaster”, which consists of 3 major parts :

  • The first element is a YouTube ad that targets the homepage, essentially making it an unreserved YouTube masthead but with a more limited budget. Doing it this way has the advantage that the delivery, frequency capping and targeting of the ad can be controlled. This allows the advertiser to generate the initial reach & awareness. In other words, this is the ‘get-to-know’ phase of the Rollercoaster.
  • Secondly, at the same time we advise to launch a YouTube in-stream pre-roll (with a higher budget than the unreserved masthead) with a very low cost-per-view bidding and a very low frequency capping on a large target audience.
    Additionally, we also strongly recommend to utilize the first 5 seconds of the video creative as much as possible so that it become a ‘mini-trailer’ before the actual content. With such a large target audience and optimally created video creative, the reach and potential for brand awareness are very high.
  • Lastly, to ensure that the advertiser’s video content is also seen on the currently relevant & trending videos which are often more competitive, we employed a bid multiplier for popular content in order to maximize the reach on those videos.

Results and Business Insights

The results of the campaign, compared to the average reserved masthead buy were outstanding as numbers speak for themselves :

  • Increase Unique Users: +121,63%
  • Increase in Interaction/View Rate (100% Views): +1.118,55%
  • Price Difference: –27,36%
  • Frequency Per User: -71,2%
  • Active Campaign Time: +200%

The advertised movie also entered the theaters as the top movie in Belgium at the time. Furthermore, this solution actively transformed our advertiser’s media plans as the YouTube Rollercoaster became a staple element in future campaigns.