Keeping Video Growing: Our Shared Responsibility
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that "in the first six months of 2010, advertisers spent $627 million on video ads," a significant increase from the year-ago period. This statistic makes it clear that online video's combination of sight, sound and motion is an especially effective one for advertisers, something that comes as no surprise to broadcast veterans. The addition of interactive capabilities further enhances the user experience and increases advertiser benefit.
What's also clear from this figure is that marketers, agencies, publishers, technology enablers, industry groups and networks have done a tremendous job of creating and nurturing a growing segment of advertising that delivers value at virtually unprecedented scale. But in order to maintain this pace of growth, each of the stakeholders need to rally around maintaining advertiser value. For the ecosystem to thrive, all parties need to ask themselves: "Am I delivering on the marketer's goals?"
1. Creative counts. I've been evangelizing for years the benefits of tailoring creative to an online audience, as opposed to repurposing a TV :30. Executing interactive pre-roll at scale has even been shown to generate a lift in in-store sales. Today, companies are offering users more choice about the video ads they want to see, but the underlying creative still needs to be compelling enough to drive purchase behavior.
2. Placement is everything. The surest way to reduce marketer confidence in online video is to burn them by not delivering value. There are varying degrees of video ad quality, and pros and cons to each, but we should all agree that it's always unacceptable to run a video ad in a placement where it's unlikely anyone will ever see it. Low-quality placements are increasingly being optimized out of buys anyhow, as marketers come to rely on ad verification tools and command broader reporting and research suites from sellers.
3. Enable data-driven buying. Video has reached the scale where, like display, buying decisions can be based upon rich pools of data available from multiple sources, including the marketers themselves. Data targeting better positions marketers to achieve their campaign goals, while empowering sellers through a strong differentiator. But it's just as important to thoroughly analyze post-campaign analytics as it is to target the right segments in the first place. For instance, a low click-through rate may not in fact have any bearing on a campaign's actual success metrics. Sellers are well advised to understand their marketers' goals prior even to completing the RFP response, to ensure that the right data sets are used in targeting and optimization, followed by a results analysis that adds value to both sides of the discussion.
It is in the entire online video ecosystem's best interest to clearly differentiate video offerings and avoid massive commoditization. Constantly innovating around ad units and creative, running campaigns in responsible placements, and enabling data to drive planning and analysis will help insure that the space continues to grow.