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How Does Henkel Coordinate Hundreds of Campaigns on YouTube?

The consumer goods giant uses real-time data to see how well ads work on YouTube - with this strategy.

YouTube is increasingly outpacing classic TV as a campaign channel for moving images. That's why even huge brands with a global footprint are building the right strategy for the platform. And what this could look like is currently being demonstrated by the German consumer goods company Henkel. The company runs YouTube ads worldwide and has found a clever way to measure its effectiveness.

You probably remember Henkel brands like Persil, Somat, Schwarzkopf, and countless others, especially from TV commercials. In the hunt for the right target groups, such "TV corporations" have also discovered YouTube as an advertising channel - after all, 49 million adults in Germany visit the video platform every month (according to GfK Crossmedia Link, DE, May 2021. Monthly reach among online population 18+ years). Now it's just a matter of approaching the topic strategically and cleverly. "We have many brands - and are active in many markets. You quickly find yourself on air with many, many YouTube campaigns in parallel," says Hanne Baasner, Head of Digital Media at Henkel. To keep an eye on all these campaigns and especially their performance, the company has now set up its own dashboard. We show how this helps to optimize and plan campaigns.

Set and review goals

Henkel faces challenges in its campaign planning that many larger companies have. Marketing goals and target groups are defined for the advertising measures, which are then translated into a marketing strategy. But these turn out differently depending on the brand or market. In the end, Henkel has to check whether these countless goals and target groups have really been reached. And the company doesn't have it so easy. The products are not only sold online but also in retail stores. The connection between advertising on YouTube and purchase is not so easy to establish.

And that is precisely why Henkel is launching a global dashboard for measuring YouTube performance in autumn 2020 in collaboration with Google. "To be able to analyze all our campaigns, we have been using global platform solutions for years. The Brand Lift dashboard is now the next step in this direction, allowing us to check and optimize the effect of our campaigns in real-time," says Hanne Baasner. For example, Henkel can quickly see how the same campaign works in different markets.

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How efficient are the campaigns?

Henkel's dashboard is based on Google's Brand Lift tool, which can be used to measure the efficiency of YouTube communication. Two sources are crucial for this: search queries from users and survey results on the video platform. Users who have seen the advertising material and those who serve as a comparison group and have not seen it are surveyed there. The following key figures can be recorded in this way:

  • Ad recall: Can users remember the advertisement?

  • Brand Awareness: Is the brand perceived?

  • Consideration: Does the ad contribute to users considering the brand?

  • Brand Message: Do users agree with the brand message?

  • Purchase Intention: Do the respondents intend to buy the product?

For Henkel, the Brand Lift approach offers several advantages. In the dashboard, there is now a uniform basis for campaigns with different objectives. The data provides objective indications of the efficiency and effects of the measures - in real-time. In this way, the group's marketing team can quickly derive learnings and optimize the campaigns during their runtime.

Optimization - step by step

As a basis and central location, the dashboard works immediately after its introduction. Now the team has to compare the resulting benchmarks with the performance of running campaigns and optimize them. Another advantage of the strategy is that the learnings make it easier to set goals for future campaigns. At the moment, Henkel is testing a great deal in the optimization process: "This involves a large number of detailed questions," explains Hanne Basner. "We compare different creatives, different targeting approaches, different formats. For example, what is the point of using bumper ads, and in what order should our videos be shown? It is essential to change only one parameter at a time, if possible, in order to arrive at meaningful data."

The Google tool Brand Lift is particularly useful for optimization. It can record values in real-time across the entire customer journey. As a central location, the internal Henkel dashboard then helps to identify global effects and create synergies across different markets, brands and teams. And it creates a fundamental understanding of target group behavior on one of the most important marketing channels.


In the meantime, it has become apparent at Henkel that the dashboard is being accepted globally. A cross-functional team is already working on the further development and optimization of usability. In the process, new KPIs are also being introduced that have become important as a result of the experience gained (e.g. cost per lifted user). Now the dashboard is to be linked with other internal tools to compare the efficiency of YouTube campaigns with other campaigns on other channels.

Click here to read the original German article.

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