Focus: Making the Switch

Better online branding through video is more than pre-roll

Growing faster than any medium in history, online video could supplant text as the preferred method of disseminating information and entertainment across the Internet. More content begets more viewers and vice versa. Advertisers are now cognizant that this digital ouroboros offers opportunities to connect with consumers who are quickly adopting the medium. To wit: online video ad revenue increased by 125 percent
last year and is expected to top $4 billion by 2013, according to eMarketer. The rapid growth in popularity is a boon, but it isn't as simple as slapping a pre-roll down along the video stream. Doing so would be a major step in the wrong direction.

An expanding audience means a fractured audience. Watching a baby laugh maniacally is great once, but people are inevitably going to gravitate to their interests. The result of this affinity migration is a fragmented audience that can quite often have little to nothing in common. This is why simply serving an ad is not an effective way to utilize the medium. Jamming a square peg into a round hole doesn't work elsewhere, so why would marketers think that notion is suddenly applicable here?

The glut of new information and insights now available ensure that smart networks are able to connect marketers to the right audience. Or, put another way, instead of serving ads or content, networks can effectively use the data available to serve up an audience to advertisers. 

The merits of an audience network can be determined through its targeting and measurement capabilities. New metrics continue to pop up as technology advances. The click-through - once the statistic for determining campaign success - doesn't mean as much anymore. For example, in video, the click is more telling than the actual click-through. A click shows engagement: The ad was compelling enough to the viewer to interrupt the video stream and focus elsewhere. That's a powerful moment. From there, the networks with top technology will be able to cull the information on the who, when and why of viewer engagement.

In addition to new technology changing measurement metrics, innovative models of video delivery are also forcing marketers to rethink accepted practices. The "push model" is an example of this. This type of distribution - a combination of the tried-and-true methods of video destination sites and the aggregated audience reach and targeting of a network - lends itself to new methods of determining ROI.

The video is now being delivered directly to the viewer in different formats and environments. With each unit served, more data is being compiled to better optimize the campaign and give advertisers a better sense of how consumers are interacting with the video content. Think of it as a self-policing ad campaign that automatically adjusts for optimal performance, and it's clear that the traditional methods of measurement almost become moot.

The way people interact with the actual video player and the content will also provide valuable data for marketers and producers of the content. Video manipulation - started, paused, stopped, full screen, mute, sent to a friend, etc. - can tell a lot about engagement levels and what content and aspects of the brand are ultimately engaging the audience.

Online video advertising will continue to evolve as more eyeballs switch from tv to computer screens and advertising dollars follow closely behind. The technology and the methods discussed above are already being implemented by networks that realized the potential of online video early on - allowing the number of advertisers tapping into online video's potential to grow as fast as the medium itself.

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