Beyond The 30-Second Spot: Online Video Trends

While online video advertising is certainly driving ad dollars to the Web, there is more to it than commercial spots. We've all heard the stampede of advertisers with slashed marketing budgets dashing online. Still, if you haven't jumped in yet, there's no better time than now to get started. So what are some online video options for digital marketers?

Brand Channel/Webisodes

We saw the demise of but other companies had less logistical hurdles and are humming along with a brilliant brand channel that includes video libraries, interactive content and a television-like experience, all delivered in the company's brand experience.  One impressive example is GE, with its Ecomagination video stories from around the world.  But hundreds of other brands are running their own online channels, from Lexus L Studio to Swiffer. Some brands like Volkswagen are creating channel for specific audiences, including international markets. Its volkswagendobrasil is a branded YouTube channel in Portuguese. With more than 80,000 channel views, this branded niche channel boasts impressive viewership.Brand channels offer tremendous flexibility and interactivity features. 



Webisodes are one element of brand channels but can also exist in other forms (for example, mobisodes) and other places (such as sponsored content outside of a company's own channel). These series, like Cisco's superheroes show, are driven by the same principles as television -- attract and retain -- and that means repetitive exposure for brands.  And to remain comparable to TV, companies like YuMe are actually creating online measurement metrics similar to Nielsen in order to measure reach and frequency from online viewers.

The value of brand connection and engagement for webisodes offers benefits that no airport banner or print magazine ad can compete with. Whether these are produced in a partnership, sponsorship or on their own, quality content is key.

Brand Videos

Marketing your company online isn't what it used to be. Words alone are not enough.  A Diffusion Group study projects that by 2013, long-form video will represent almost 70% of online-video ad revenue, up from just over 40% today.  The great attraction to this form of video is not only can company sales and marketing teams leverage a company brand video, they can push it to customers on their Web site, blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. Good storytelling, believability and creative visuals still make the foundation for a powerful brand video.

Whatever you call it - a brand video, company demo, video intro to your company - this online video represents what your company is positioning or selling in a dynamic way with motion and sound.  Apple showcases video right off its home page with its commercials and an iPhone demo. B&H in New York City has a SuperStore Experience video off its homepage, which showcases the store, products, and customer relations.

In the end, companies create online video to capitalize on the exposure that only video can demonstrate about your brand -- why you exist and what you do. How you engage online video as a digital marketing tool may vary, but it's imperative at this point to do it. If you're already there, congratulations  -- but don't sit tight too long. Interactive video experiences and interactive storytelling will be the next to hit their stride, and it's never too soon to learn how to reach consumers where they want to be reached.

9 comments about "Beyond The 30-Second Spot: Online Video Trends ".
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  1. Matthew Maginley from Maginley & Company, August 21, 2009 at 3:13 p.m.

    "Video snacking" is the trend of online video viewing.

    Advertisers can bring viewers to their website using "Vidsense" who are engaged in the video and the branded environment.

    See how it works at

  2. Jim Courtright from Big Thinking By The Hour, August 21, 2009 at 3:47 p.m.

    You not only get an "amen" from us, but also a "halleluia".

    If I had my own free broadcast station (a website) I'd be putting as many videos as I could on it. And broadcast to the world at no cost.

    Being an ex advertising creative, I believe that all those great creative minds who used to make annoying TV commercials will finally be liberated and get to make fun and interesting video content for websites.

    We started doing it 5 years ago, and believe me, you are right. Brands are waking up to the power of video on their own websites.

    We're in the process of writing a book about it. We call it "BYOB: Become Your Own Broadcaster".

    Jim Courtright
    Big Thinking By The Hour, Inc

  3. Tommy Liu from Supercool Creative, August 21, 2009 at 4:40 p.m.

    Chris, great blog post. As more companies realize the wealth of opportunity available with online video the more creative and innovative online video can become, furthering both its growth and reach. The great thing about what these companies are doing now is that online video advertising is still relatively new in that it's not a saturated medium. So, having something as little as a company demo can be somewhat alluring.

    But what about the little guys? The small businesses. They can get in on the online video action too; there are HD cameras for around $200 or get a professional video made for as little as $599.

    One good reason to consider online video (out of ten from this post: is that it is long lasting - Once uploaded to the web an online video can live forever, continually promoting your business. Other marketing mediums like TV, radio and magazines require you to buy spots. After your budget is gone so is your ad, but your online video ad conveniently sits in YouTube, Facebook, Digg and so forth for FREE.

    Supercool Creative > > - blog

  4. Walter Sabo from SABO media, August 21, 2009 at 5:55 p.m.

    The way to make those sites efficient is to have webstars introduce them to their huge fan bases. HITVIEWS makes that happen.

  5. Liat Fuchs from, August 23, 2009 at 4:20 a.m.

    Great post, and I totally agree with that. I think that many advertisers had started realizing the importance of videos.
    The idea is also to be able to measure the traffic that is being sent through the videos, and monetize their use.
    I can see it from a first source: we have more and more advertisers coming to us and applying to be part of our network - to have their videos served on - as we can distribute the videos to affiliates and track them.
    Every video is a good one: branding, tutorials, instructional, viral....

  6. Ed Madison from Engaging Media, August 24, 2009 at 10:11 a.m.

    Chris. Great post.

    What agencies and their clients have to understand is that telling engaging stories -- not that hard sell -- is what works on the web. Stories that even look and feel like traditional ads.

    We've been at the forefront of this exciting trend, creating an innovative format we call "documercials," which are story driven, as opposed to old-style commercials. We piloted Verizon's entry into video, and include Microsoft, Lamar Advertising, Nike Sport Camps, and Marriott among our list of clients.

    Check out: and

  7. Justin Connolly from RUI, August 31, 2009 at 4:53 p.m.

    volkswagendobrasil has 80,000 channel views?
    in a country of 170 million people where they sell say 500,000 volkswagens a year, I'm not sure it's an example of "impressive viewership."

    not to kill your thesis, but brands really only get the lift when they are associated with hits. and if they can't make their own programming into hits (always a major risk, ask any producer), they have to buy into other people's existing hits (a safer bet - the audience is already there).

  8. Chris Lawing from Mercury Multimedia, September 3, 2009 at 11:51 a.m.

    Thanks to all for your insight and responses. So many more industry examples could have been included, and right after I wrote this Pampers launched their webisode series.

    Justin, about your observation on channel views, I only had space to share part of the picture. On top of the channel views, volkswagendobrasil is high on the all-day most subscribed channel and regularly gets on the weekly most viewed list. Ranking factors for YouTube SEO are certainly complex and worth their own article. Plus, let's not forget that quality of viewers is just as if not more important that quantity of views. In terms of buying into other's hits, that's basically the point of sponsoring the channel on YouTube to buy into existing YouTube views, but I certainly won't argue against traditional broadcast exposure, which is certainly alive and kicking, contrary to some industry perceptions.

  9. Kyle Lake from Done In Sixty Seconds, LLC, March 30, 2010 at 5:39 p.m.

    Great Article Chris.
    That submission process to post a comment took so long I almost forgot what I wanted to comment on...oh yes,
    absolutely couldn't agree more with the brand video points. Companies are now figuring out that with video it goes WAY past just being a static logo. Take the UPS guy on the whiteboard or the apple vs. PC stuff...keeping it tight and succinct with video. Our company allows organizations and businesses to create their own branded videos for advertising or informational purposes. I like the term, "infotainment". Looking forward to some content coming from mediapost.


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