The above video interview is from the ANA TV & Everything Video Forum.                               
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Fernando Arriola, VP Media and Integration, Conagra Foods, recently participated in a panel discussion at the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) TV & Everything Video Forum in NYC. The panel was on Social TV.

There is a clear correlation between social media buzz and television ratings. The social TV phenomenon has been fueled by the explosive use of other screens-notably phones and tablets. Consumers are no longer simply passively watching television. Rather, they are connecting with other fans to chat about their favorite shows. This has important implications for marketers as brands now are also able to become involved in the conversation. The panel focused on opportunities provided by social TV for brands.

I sat down with Fernando to talk about the panel and Conagra’s digital and online video strategy. Everyone on the panel made it clear that we’re still in a learning phase when it comes to social TV. There is a lot of opportunity for those who gain insights into social TV to exploit the insights on behalf of their brands.

TV & Online Video Upfronts

Conagra is moving a lot of marketing dollars to digital. A fair amount of Conagra’s upfront spending is moving towards online and mobile video, in addition to broadcast and cable. Conagra wants its brand managers to think of video as one ecosystem, rather than broadcast, cable and online silos. This point is echoed by Alan Wurtzel, Head of Research for NBC (will publish that interview shortly).

Content Marketing

Conagra is also moving beyond the 15 – 30 second spot towards “brand as content producer”. Conagra wants to distribute its owned media through multiple channels and platforms such as Youtube and Facebook, portal partners such as Yahoo and MSN, mobile and Web. Distribution is one of Conagra’s biggest challenges for original content creation. How does the brand get the content it has invested in producing in front of a million people, rather than fifty people? While the company will still run banner ads and do traditional online advertising, Fernando is excited to create and distribute content directly to its target audience and brand fans.

Metrics of Success and Key Performance Indicators

Fernando likes to look at completion rates for both the creative and the distribution channel as a good indicator of how involved the audience is. The brand tries to run attribution models around how the actual content tracks to sales. Fernando acknowledges this is a bit more difficult given that most sales are in grocery stores.

Scale vs. Targeting

Online video creates opportunities for brands to hyper-target very granular audiences. However, the more a brand targets, the less audience there is to reach. So brands have to balance broad reach versus hyper-targeting. A brand such as Orville Redenbacher, which has broad consumer appeal, will do a network media buy and supplement the buy with some online video targeting. Slim Jim, on the other hand, has a pretty narrow target demographic. The company will buy small cable networks such as G4, Fuel, and MTV2, and spend online to reach consumers on niche gaming Web sites.

Brand Safety

Fernando responds with a question: Does your agency have the culture and infrastructure to really know what they are doing? What are your partner trading desks strengths and weaknesses in terms of execution?