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The Power of Video

The Power of Video

Online video has been around ever since I can remember, I grew up with it - even if it was through a dodgy dial-up connection. But video advertising has also been around since I can remember, and it’s not all been as positive. Don’t get me wrong, when advertisers get video right, they really get it right, like this famous ad from Cadburys. But why are high-quality, memorable and relevant video adverts so few and far between?

Gone are the days when advertisers could spend weeks and months planning the perfect advertising campaign for a billboard or magazine page. We’re now living in a fast-moving, rapid-consuming world, we want video and we want it now. There’s a panic amongst advertisers, millions of videos are being watched every day and adverts need to follow that audience. And so, rushed, ineffective and non-engaging video ads are born, in an attempt to get something - anything - into the video space, ignoring quality and only focusing on the quantity.

And that’s just where the advertising industry has gone wrong. There’s such a rush to get into the video space, in front of an audience, that the most important thing has been forgotten...the people watching. There’s no use putting a message out there, if it isn’t high-quality content, if it doesn’t engage and if it’s not relevant.

Videos can be powerful, but we need to learn to harness that power to win over audiences once again.

Last week, we hosted a breakfast event all about digital video, called The Power of Video. The aim of this event was to discuss the current state of the online video advertising industry and how to unlock the power of online video.


The IAB’s Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, Mike Reynolds, presented first, focusing on video trends and creative research. He shared some research to emphasise the huge growth of the video market.

Video is driving market growth

X3 | The time spent watching short video clips online has tripled in the last three years.

Source: IAB / YouGov consumer insights, October 2017

£699m | Online video has overtaken banners as the largest display format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

But he also touched on how mobile is such a big influence on advertising spend.

Mobile video is also driving growth

68% | Mobile video is up 68% year on year, making it the fastest growing format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

Lastly, he spoke about the IAB’s research, ‘Fit for Purpose’. This research looks at how advertisers tailor creative video ads for mobiles. If you would like to find out more about ‘Fit for Purpose’, the IAB are hosting the official research launch on 20th March 2018.

Next up was Coull’s very own Director of Agency Sales, Alex Wright.

Alex asked the question, why are videos so powerful? The answer: it’s part of our DNA. Paying attention to motion and avoiding cognitive strain are just a few reasons why we are hard-wired to favour video over any other format.

Perhaps more importantly for brands, is that videos can generate far more emotional cues than a photo can, with the ability to tell an extensive story and appeal to a wider range of senses.

It's ideas that evoke specific emotional responses: joy, sadness, anger, laughter etc. These emotions fuel passion and drive human behaviour while building a brand relationship with an audience.

Emotions form brand connections

But, as Alex went on to say, that power is being diluted through poorly made videos that don’t take their audience - or the device they’re watching on - into account. However, here are the 4 action points from Alex on how to get the most out of your video advertising:

Follow these steps and we can say goodbye to videos that make little to no impact and say hello to engaging, high-quality videos that connect brands and audiences.

Are you unsure of the best way to follow-up a pre-roll? This is where we can help.

We enhance the impact of your pre-roll by giving it an immediate follow-up within the video player. We can offer a variety of follow-up options from within our OverStream Suite. When you pair our OverStream formats with pre-roll, we call this DoubleUp.

Our OverStream Suite formats:

Banner

Our simplest format that delivers results from inside the video stream.

The Banner appears for 30 seconds, offering brand engagement opportunities. The user can choose to dismiss the advert at any time with a clearly distinguished close button.

 


 

Expanding MPU

Grabs attention and encourages action, with your audience in mind.

The Expanding MPU format appears in the corner of the video player for 5 seconds before minimising to a small ‘ad-expand’ icon that re-expands on user interaction. The user may then engage with, or close, the advert at their discretion.

 


 

OnPause

An intelligent ad format, shown when the audience clicks pause.

OnPause delivers an ad on the video player each time it is paused by the user. This is easily dismissable via the ‘dismiss’ button or automatically when content is resumed.

 


 

 

However, we see the value of both high-quality pre-roll and high-quality video content. Our aim is to add value to any video. So, if you would prefer to not use pre-roll, you can still reach video audiences solely through any OverStream format, so you can still make use of a valuable and viewable online space.

If you’re interested in how Coull can help you harness the power of video advertising, check out The OverStream suite or contact us.

 

Take a look at the photos from The Power of Video...

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Christmas is coming…and so are the adverts!

Christmas is coming…and so are the adverts!

Meet Daisy, a 14 year old junior intern. She visited the Bristol office last week for work experience and to learn all about Coull.

This is her first taste of marketing! Check out Daisy’s favourite Christmas adverts and our festive advertising top tips…

1. John Lewis – Monty the Penguin

What is it about?

This advert is about a boy who has a toy penguin, represented in life form. The boy decides to give the penguin a companion for Christmas, to keep him company. This advert may not have any words, but it still shows emotion in a playful and powerful way.

Why do we like it?

  • John Lewis talks beyond their brand and convey an emotive message, for example, “Christmas is for sharing”.

  • They use memorable, impactful music.

2.  Coca-Cola – A Coke for Christmas

What is it about?

Coca-Cola have become quite iconic in the Christmas advertising world and are allegedly responsible for Santa being dressed in red. They’ve managed to market a product, that’s arguably not very healthy for you, and make themselves a worldwide brand. This advert depicts a family Christmas and everyone sharing and celebrating with a coke. ‘Family time’ and ‘sharing’ are common themes in Christmas ads.

Why do we like it?

  • Coca-cola have created a worldwide tradition by dressing Santa in red, in a clever way to reinforce their branding.

  • They show a family Christmas, really speaking to their audience on a personal level.

3. M&S – Mrs. Claus

What is it about?

Marks and Spencers made a comeback in 2016 when they released their Mrs Claus advert. This is a heartwarming and funny advert, targeting their audience with the main character (Mrs Claus). As well as all this, there’s a theme of feminism throughout, empowering Mrs Claus as a more important part of Christmas.

Why do we like it?

  • It shows a different side to Christmas, a ‘behind the scenes’ look.

  • This advert speaks directly to their target market.

  • This is an empowering message for women.

4.  Sainsbury’s – 1914

What is it about?

2014 marked 100 years since that start of World War 1, and Sainsbury’s decided to mark this pivotal point in history with this ad. This advert shows soldiers in the trenches, creating a strong sense of patriotism as well as showing the importance of kindness and friendship.

 

Why do we like it?

  • This advert speaks to British audiences, making them feel proud of their country and heritage.

  • It also reminds us of the core values about Christmas: sharing and kindness – a running theme in these Christmas ads.

5. John Lewis – The Long Wait

What is it about?

This 2011 advert shows a little boy, waiting patiently for Christmas and it ends in a heartfelt moment of present giving. What this advert does well is it takes a different point of view, taking it back to our own childhood memories.

Why do we like it?

  • This ad tells a very emotive message to the viewers, similar to the other adverts.

  • There’s no speech, only a well-chosen song, this makes more of an impact and makes the advert visually compelling.

 

Top tips for a successful Christmas advert

  • Emotional imagery speaks louder than words.

  • Use impactful/memorable music – sometimes speech isn’t needed at all.

  • It can be fun or serious, but think outside the box to help it stand out. For example, take a different point of view like the Mrs. Claus character.

  • Know and speak to your audience.

  • Use events from the past that convey a strong message, like the Sainsbury’s ‘1914’ advert.

  • Think beyond the business or the product, viewers react more to emotional, relatable messages.

 

What are your favourite Christmas adverts?

Tweet us @Coull

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment
A digital fad or valuable ads?

A digital fad or valuable ads?

Ten-second selfies took the world by storm five years ago, in the form of Snapchat. Millennials flocked to the app like bees to a hive, and now, 166 million users send snaps daily.

Amongst features such as ‘Filters’, ‘Stories’ and ‘Discover’, a new addition arrived last month: the ‘Snap Map’. This enables Snapchatters to see their friends locations and popular local stories all over the globe. As you can imagine, this feature didn’t come without controversy.

But the point is, Snapchat is feeling the pressure to innovate. Although the app’s popularity has had steady growth over the years, one social media platform has been stealing the limelight: Instagram.

Instagram haven’t hidden the fact that they’ve replicated many of Snapchat’s features, such as ‘stories’. They tapped into the care-free approach of Snapchat, allowing quick sharing without leaving a footprint. Originally, Instagram started out by offering users a way of posting well though-out and edited posts. But now, Instagram has both options and as a result, the appeal of the app has skyrocketed.

How can Snapchat win back users?

  • Make it easier for people to find brands on Snapchat

Discovering a brand on Snapchat is difficult because the exact username is needed to add someone. Brands are struggling to see the benefits of using Snapchat and are either changing their tactics or switching to a different platform altogether. If Snapchat is able to change this, it’s likely that many brands would return and the users would follow.

  • Focus on creativity and functionality

Snapchat’s main message at Cannes this year was, “Bigger isn’t better” (Although their huge Ferris Wheel conveyed a slightly different message). They’re clearly aware of their growth levelling out and are putting the focus on the app’s creativity and functionality. This makes sense because, no matter how exciting an app’s features are, the duplication of these concepts will inevitably appear on competing platforms.

If Snapchat can concentrate on keeping their users happy with fun new technology and simple functionality of the app, users are more likely to stay loyal.

  • Involve influencers more

Multiple influencers are finding it harder and harder to get the support they need from SnapchatSallia Goldstein has a large Snapchat following but was recently forced to make the move to Instagram due to technical issues on Android. She told Buzzfeed, “It’s not because I want to move everything over to Instagram. It’s because I have to.”

Also, a Snapchat executive reportedly told another influencerSarah Peretz, “Snapchat is an app for friends, not creators.” when she told them she was leaving the platform.

By limiting their app this way, they’ll lose both influencers and their audiences. Some dedicated support to influencers could change all of that.

  • More monetising options

Publishers prefer Instagram because they present more monetising options. For example, Instagram allows creators to link to external sites. And the increased length of videos have enticed many publishers.

Whereas, at the moment, Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ page is one of the only places to advertise — and the access to this is limited.

Snapchat is in a very powerful position, if they can appeal to advertisers and publishers on a larger scale, it could put them ahead of the game.

Coming back to the Snap Map, this could become a valuable opportunity for brands. It could potentially offer location based mobile advertising, leading to a more targeted reach and increased engagement. This could be the way to surpass the social media war and could provide some healthy competition against the Google/Facebook duopoly in the mobile advertising world.

Changes on the horizon?

Snapchat are on the look out for ad tech companies in an attempt to increase the efficiency of their ads and in turn, appeal to more marketers. There have been acquisition talks with AdRoll, the programmatic advertising platform, but no offers have been taken up yet.

Only time will tell if Snapchat will survive the social platform wars or merely become just another digital fad.


At Coull, we recognise the value of video content on the web and see the importance of keeping fun and exciting content accessible. We provide technology to monetise videos that effectively tell a brand’s message and keep content creators happy. Want to know more about what we do? Talk to one of our team.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment

The importance of targeting

Targeting in your platform is usually a fairly simple operation – it’s easy to setup and you expect it to work based on the rules you implemented. However…

  • How many of you audit your targeting – do your publishers send you the correct information?

  • How many of you are speaking to your demand side to ensure that your targeting is matching their targeting?

  • Are you seeing misaligned CPM’s and wondering why?

The chances are that your targeting rules are misaligned. Most of the tags that we send out are price matched against either domain lists, player sizes and/or geos. I personally do not see much misalignment against domain lists or geos, but I do when it comes to player sizes. The publisher is expected to send a certain size via a particular tag. And due to the strict targeting we apply on our demand side, you’re probably losing revenue and decreasing your fill rate.

Audit

Recently,  I completed an internal audit across our supply chain – I wanted to know the amount of requests we received, where we were unable to detect/receive the following:

  • page_url

  • player_width

  • player_height

In a 24-hour period we received 180k requests where we were unable to pass required information to our exchange. It’s a small percentage of our overall traffic, but add that to misaligned pricing channels and it starts to add up – especially when you sit in a chain of other ad servers.

At Coull, we’re happy to audit your traffic and let you know where sales are going amiss. Equally, we have another amazing option – it’s called multi-price floor targeting. We are not the first to use it. But it does make sense!

We only need to supply you with one tag:

  • Tell us what CPMs you expect and we’ll handle all the necessary targeting.

  • Use subID’s only to identify sub-publishers rather than price points.

  • We will never undersell your inventory.

  • All targeting criteria is immediately lined up with our demand stack, ensuring the best connections.

We care about the quality of our traffic and continue to develop technologies and communications that improve the transparency of inventory. If you would like your traffic to be audited, please reach out to your account manager. We are more than happy to help!

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

RTB 2.5 – new features that affect video advertising

DPS2-880x495.jpg

With the release of the draft spec for RTB 2.5 there are some super interesting new ideas around how to describe video adverts. Here we’ll take you through a few and how we see them being used.

1 video.placement

This addition allows publishers and SSPs to describe the type of placement that an ad is being requested for. We’ve all seen 300×250 ad placements come through, and we all know they are in banner requests – now we have a way of saying that explicitly.

2 Data Encoding

You can now specify a data encoding header that should be handled by the bidder. A good example of this would be specifying gzip encoding of the bid request – this simply compresses the traffic over the wire from exchange to bidder and back, saving on bandwidth and ultimately money.

3 Bid Changes

There are a few changes to the bid object. A bidder now has the ability to provide a Billing Notice URL (burl) and a Loss Notice URL (lurl).

For Coull, this added layer of transparency is something we’ve been passing to bidders for a while now, albeit relying on our own tech to make that possible. It’s an important inclusion as 2017 will be the year brands and agencies demand more clarity about what they’re bidding on and the result of the auction in real time. We allow the bidder to see if they’ve won or lost, and what the winning price was, which only helps optimise the whole process.

The addition of these 2 features introduces a subtle but important change to the data a DSP can get from an auction. The win notification can now be thought of as just that – the price you offered was enough to win the auction but it doesn’t guarantee anything.

The burl is a great addition, as it’s stage further on from the current win notification. The burl will provide a more accurate way of tracking spend based on delivered impressions, as it’s connected to the impression – it’s saying this impression cost $x.  Splitting these 2 things up enables DSPs to track things like failed impressions and possibly partners that may have issues with their player.

The loss notification adds another dimension to this information. It enables the DSP to immediately know that the spend that they had assigned to the auction is now free – there will be no impression. Coull has been offering loss notifications since the introduction of its Exchange and we’re pleased to see this finally make it into the RTB specification

4 Source

The new Source object lets the exchange pass on some data about whether or not there will be a decision made upstream from the exchange. Header Bidding is the obvious example here, but more and more Ad Managers are holding client side auctions to increase the amount of demand an opportunity sees, and it’s normal now to see sideways connections from exchange to exchange, again to increase the amount of demand available in an efficient way.

There are some more changes, little and big, to the spec but I’ll leave it there for now. The above represents what we believe to be the most interesting ideas in the new spec. It’s great to see some positive changes have been made in the is latest update, and again we’ll look for yet for improvements come version 2.6.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

How to identify and avoid invalid traffic fraud

Recent reports from the IAB show that digital ad fraud is second only to the opium and cocaine trade in terms of crime rates and revenue. That’s a pretty devastating stat for anyone working in the ad tech industry, and anyone buying media.

But it’s not end of days, in fact programmatic is lifting its game and those who can’t or won’t comply to providing better will find themselves ousted come 2017. The most important thing we need to do right now is help publishers understand what forms invalid traffic takes and how to recognise it. And to help buyers ensure efficient and valuable return on campaigns by evading traps and buying blind.

There are many players in the programmatic ad world, many pipes connecting many different suppliers to advertisers, agencies and brands. At the end of that supply pipe exists many different forms of fraud. Understanding what types of fraud exist is important, and we are taking steps to educate our partners about exactly what they are.

Here are some of the most common types of invalid traffic fraud and how to catch them out:

Ghost sites

We can prove that ghosts exist because we have an abundance of evidence – here’s how to spot a cyber spook:

Ghost sites are made to resemble real web sites that host a multitude of advertisements but when scrutinised further it’s easy to tell a real site from a false one.

Ghost sites will usually use a standard blog template, meaning that they often look exactly the same as each other and appear to be legitimate sites.. The domain name of a ‘ghost site’ will nearly always describe a contextual category (e.g. food, automotive, fashion) that appeals to advertisers.

Some basic signs of a ghost site are:

  • Ghost sites referral traffic often comes from an unsafe location such as a porn site but will be camouflaged with another url – usually one that doesn’t link to anything because it’s not real.

  • Links within content don’t work

  • Social media links don’t work or direct you to a page that’s pretty much empty

  • Videos within the content will take an age to load because the player is requesting as many ads as it can. Ads can appear behind the page itself, be hidden in the page or start to load  a ridiculous amount – often that you’ll never see.

  • About us and contact pages will have content that is scraped from other sites

  • Try emailing the support or sales team – the email will invariably bounce

  • The page will have incredibly high bounce rates

  • Real, quality site domains will be copied and the same url with a different path such as .tv will be purchased.The site will look very much the same as the .com version but the content won’t change much. Company addresses will be false and you will often find the layout of ghost sites have many similarities or are exactly the same template.

  • Copy is scraped from other sites so if you search for it, you’ll it appearing in other places and will eventually find the source.

Got time for a quick test your ad fraud knowledge activity?

Both these sites are blacklisted by Coull  – can you identify any of the above ghost site tell tales?

Gardengirly.com

http://fashionitch.com/

Domain Fraud

Domain fraud relates to a issue with the actual domain being sent through to us, this will often require a supply partner to block said domain. Domain fraud can come in many different forms, there could be a mismatch between the domain declared and where the ad is actually placed for example.

Domain spoofing can be one of the most difficult to detect as well as prevent and can therefore be the most lucrative form of invalid domains. Those spoofing domains declare inaccurate domains in order to make advertisers believe that invalid, or low quality domains, are reputable and often highly sort after.

Watch-Movies-Online.cc → Changed to show → usatoday.com

IVT (Invalid Traffic)

Invalid traffic relates to the traffic running through a domain being undesirable, this does not mean the domain itself is bad and therefore would not require blocking. However the source of the traffic needs to be found and removed. Here are types of invalid traffic:

Proxy Traffic

A proxy allows access to the internet anonymously and can browse the internet without leaving any kind of footprint. This means all ad requests will go through a proxy, so for those monitoring the requests, the only thing visible is the proxy – there’s no way to know who’s behind it.

No proxy: User → Domain

Proxy used: User → Proxy → Domain

People using proxies are usually trying to hide themselves – although there can be a few legitimate reasons to use proxies they are more often used to hide malicious activity.

IP Reputation

IP reputation means that the detected IP has historically been shown to be high risk due to being associated with characteristics of fraudulent activity.

Automated Traffic

Automated traffic refers to malicious bots or non-human traffic, designed to generate false ad impressions, or serve hidden, unseen ads, all while avoiding detection. Often they take over a user’s computer, running in the background whilst the user is unaware of the issue.

Spoofing

Spoofing is a practise where a user’s browser and/or device are manipulated to resemble a different browser and/or device. The malicious party impersonates another device (or user) on a network in order to show ad requests from more reputable sources. This is often used to simulate traffic from multiple visitors and therefore increases the amount of potential impressions running through an exchange.

Transparency is key to fighting cyber crime

We’ve put a huge amount of time, effort and investment into eradicating invalid traffic from our platform and have added new features to our publisher dashboard to enable our publisher partners to see when we detect any invalid traffic coming from them. We alert them to any problems and help them to clean it up so the value of their inventory and relationships with agencies, brand and advertisers is always credible, and buyers transact with confidence.

Having an ethos of transparency is key to fighting cyber crime in all its formats and we believe in providing unique creative offered at programmatic scale, that’s trusted and efficient.

We have introduced our Traffic Quality Assurance program to help publisher partners reach the quality required to partner with Coull and to help our advertisers buy media with confidence, making the most efficient use of their budgets. We’ve developed a stringent program in line with the MRC’s Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines and we detect and block against (GIVT) and (SIVT) as defined  by the IAB, MMA and MRC.

Our platform gives publishers the opportunity to see when they are sending us invalid traffic and work with us to ensure it stops. This strategy has been enforced to ensure we don’t allow invalid media to exist in our platform, helping our publishers increase the value of their inventory and providing a trusted market for brands and agencies to buy valid opportunity to reach their audience.

To find out more about the benefits of working with the Coull Platform, get in touch or visit our OverSteam page to see our video as formats in action.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment
How to avoid the digital ad grinch this silly season

How to avoid the digital ad grinch this silly season

Don’t suffer at the mercy of the Christmas Grinch of the ad world this season. We’ve got some tips for avoiding invalid traffic, making your campaigns stand out and ensuring your audience is reached through the clutter of sparkling tinsel and the ho, ho, ho of the big fat man.

Sad and frustrating as it may be, Christmas time is prime time for fraudsters trying to make money from your end of year media budget. Make the boss happy by ensuring you only pay for valid, viewable traffic that’s exactly what it says it is.

When it comes to unwrapping presents on Christmas day, one of the biggest excitements is not knowing what you’re going to find under all that wrapping paper. The same cannot be said for the media buying world.

When you purchase inventory for your brand, it’s pretty darn important you know exactly what you’re getting.

  1. Make sure you work with a compliant and transparent platform or ad network with rules in place about what inventory is sold and what is accepted as valid, in view and brand safe. We have our own invalid traffic score that’s applied to each individual publisher partner and we work with them on a one to one basis to ensure their inventory is compliant. Buy safely and efficiently.

  1. Talk to your account manager about what inventory is available and at what price to ensure you get the best match possible.

  2. Don’t just buy on one metric – although you may be buying inventory based on a viewability percentage, that’s no good at all if the inventory is fraudulent. Cutting corners is not the way to get that Christmas bonus. Frame you KPIs around what matters in programmatic now and ditch historic measurement models.

Make your ad campaigns count

  1. Be as relevant as you can this season by running PMP deals. Talk to your account manager about the best option for your campaigns rather than diving blind into a pool that’s lacking in what you need, or flooded with traffic that’s not validated. Again, work with partners you trust.

  2. Choose ad formats that will be seen by your audience and that have a track record of high CTR like Coull OverStream which performs 10x  better than a standard display ad.

  3. Engage your audience on the move with mobile friendly campaigns

  4. Engage your audience across their favourite content format – video. The IAB and PWC’s latest report shows massive growth in video ad revenue, especially on mobile so be where your audience are.

  5. Let us know what you want – communicate what you want to your platform so they can find the right inventory for you.

Formats

  1. Work with your agency or creative team to make your ad unit do the work for you. Choose the right ad format for your audience. Annoying and interruptive advertising is not the way to get your audience’s attention. You want to engage them when they’re thinking about purchasing, but you don’t want to offend them so be discerning when choosing creative.

  2. Talk to your SSP or Ad Network and find out what formats are the most engaging and efficient for the content you’re buying. Not all ads are born equal, running multiple formats that compliment each other and give you the best chance of being seen will help your media budget work harder.

Check out our OverStream Suite of advertising formats.

Target

  1. Tis the season for re-targeting – with so many purchase decisions being made on specific days, run a re-targeting campaign a few days before black friday to coincide with black friday purchase decisions. Get in early to get that customer.

  2. Target specific devices and locations you know your audience will be buying across. Don’t limit yourself to chance.

  3. Buy across specific categories – knowing what video inventory you’re buying is important when it comes to conversion so ask what’s available.

Keep these tips in mind when planning your upcoming campaigns and get the most from your spend (and keep that mean, green critter away).

Merry end of year ad campaigning to all of you!

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

The Coull ad request journey – Whatsapp style

An ad request really is like a group discussion with everyone bringing something to the table. Our Invalid Traffic Detection looks pretty straight forward but is actually made up of multiple fraud detection vendors as well as our in-house compliance team. And our QUASAR tech has some amazing layers to it that help us ensure the best inventory and brand match. The right conversation means we get the best possible performance every time.

We hope this helps to clarify the ad request process and get some more conversations going.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment

Coull Quickie October – The one about ad fraud

 We’ve spoken about ad fraud before, it’s making headlines, lots of platforms and vendors are saying they’re doing something about it, but the proof is not in expensive marketing campaigns claiming miracles, it’s in the investment by tech companies to make a real change to the way digital media is bought.

Let’s break this down, discard the sugar coating and get real.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video