Commentary

Top Reasons Your Online Consumers Just Aren't That Into You

The focus of IAB's Innovation Days conference during Internet Week NY is "Content may be king, but all the power still lies in the hands of consumers." As advertisers increasingly embrace branded content and online video as a primary marketing channel, this concept could not ring truer.

While research companies like Nielsen charge ahead in measuring and quantifying how different consumer groups respond to online video and advertising, I thought it might be helpful in the meantime to share what I think are the top reasons your target audience just isn't into your online videos:

1. Your targeted audience can't find you. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Marketers have to make it as easy and strategically sound for their users and their content to meet. If you're focusing solely on howmany potential eyeballs as opposed to which set of eyeballs your content will reach, you run the risk of missing your audience completely. Understand that it's quality of interaction, not necessarily the quantity. Forward-thinking technologies across video ad networks like creative sequencing, for example, is a savvy way for marketers to serve up ads to consumers across various websites based on a user's behavior. (e.g., someone may click on and a webisode on People.com one morning. When they visit Cosmopolitan.com that afternoon and click on the same video player housing the content, they're prompted to view the second webisode in the series.)

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2. You don't allow your consumers to share or "like" your video. If you want that coveted "viral" effect, the first step is to make it easy for your consumers to spread your content. Marketing studies have long argued that consumers are more likely to view something sent from a friend or relative than a brand - if you're not empowering consumers to spread your content, you're missing out on that enriching two-way social conversation. The same goes for "liking." If experts such as Mashable's Pete Cashmore are right about Facebook's now pervasive "Like" button (in that it may very well surpass link-sharing as the way to express interest in a piece of content), marketers had better start paying attention.

3. You're not creating original content. When venturing into the online world, many advertisers assume that repurposing their 30-second TV spot will do the trick. What many fail to understand is that the Web is a different animal than TV: in this world, ads are even easier to ignore. If you truly want to engage your audience with your online video content, my advice is to take advantage of all the unique interaction techniques on the market today. Here, the possibilities for creating original content are endless.

4. You're too concerned with branding and not concerned enough about entertainment value. Brands that are too concerned in making sure that all of their messages are crammed into their online videos often sacrifice quality. If you focus on the entertainment value (and work your brand into the content in a subtle way), it's likely that consumers will be more accepting of your content - and hopefully be more willing to share it. We're in an era where consumers can switch you on or switch you off with a click of a mouse. The more quickly you come to grips with this, the better your online content will become.

9 comments about "Top Reasons Your Online Consumers Just Aren't That Into You".
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  1. Jordyn Haas from NetElixir, June 8, 2010 at 1:43 p.m.

    This is excellent information! Video content is still so new and it's nice to have some guidelines.

  2. Kimberley Blaine from The Go-To Mom.TV, June 8, 2010 at 1:59 p.m.

    Excellent points. I really look forward to all this information as it helps me with all my online endeavors. Thank you!

  3. Eric Steckel from Turnpike Digital, June 8, 2010 at 2 p.m.

    Can I posit a 5th?

    You haven't found a way to adequately fit your video into your existing marketing (and PR) mix. We have seen too many instances where the decision to use Online Video because it's "got to be done" means that the content that is created exists in a silo. The existing marketing and PR mix don't effectively support or drive viewers to the content. If viewers aren't driven to effective content, it exists in a vacuum.

  4. Tim Tevlin from strapps - social transaction apps, June 8, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.

    Thx for a good post Chris and re point 2 you are bang on in suggesting that enabling video content for to be easily shared is ultimately going to be recognized as essential. How to do it is through a video 'player widget' that can be shared across FB and dozens of other social networks. Perhaps I'll submit an article on this subject right here! thx again Tim Tevlin

  5. Keith Robbins from Musical Stairs, June 8, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.

    Right on the money. The music industry needs lots of help here and there is a great opportunity for brands to help them while helping themselves.

    To Point #1...Most bands can't even get their own videos to show up in searches on YouTube. I know one major band celebrating its 20th anniversary that includes only the song names in its video titles assuming that people are on their channel already. With 8,000+ videos, theirs don't show up in the first 20 pages of search results.

    To Point #2...Many bands and record labels do not allow embedding of videos they posted. For smaller acts, this usually means that blogs or concert venues only have fan videos available to embed in stories.

    To point #3 (specifically repurposing) With limited budgets, they repurpose content without editing out any lead-in or intro content. The first second of the video better be the first note of the song. You have to give a lean-forward viewer what they want.

    To point #4 Quality (my application is a little different than most but the concept still holds) The quality of the video and desiribility of content is what retains viewers and causes third parties (who have credibility with the viewer) to embed. Attn Brands! Fans are not that interested in interviews. Search any band and you won't see them come up in search results. The only reason you see so many being made is that they are cheap. Quality performance videos are embedded in concert venues websites to help fans make a decision. Can anyone think of a type of brand that might want to be seen by fans (hint: age 21 and over) prior to them attending a concert?

  6. Ed Personius from Looknglas Window Video Systems, June 8, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

    All points very well taken. Regarding the last point, entertainment is much more important online and in the social networking media. Video that is displayed at point of purchase, or on the storefront Window Video System, needs to be about both attraction and selling proposition. So the media venue dictates the content and method of message. Your point about merely translating a tv commercial to a different video venue is spot on: a tv commercial won't work online because the viewer expectation is completely different. I hope someone's listening!

  7. Russ Somers, June 9, 2010 at 12:32 p.m.

    Great post. Too often producers of content forget to put themselves in the consumers' shoes. Why should they care? If they video's not entertaining or relevant, you've wasted your budget and their time.

    There are different types of relevant, of course. At Invodo (full disclosure: yep, I work there) we focus on video that helps a consumer make a purchase decision, often right on the product page. We like working at that inflection point because it's a direct contribution to the retailer's bottom line.

    In that context trustworthy tone and useful content are the key elements. Repurposed TV spots fall short there because they don't address the consumer's key questions about the product. And the content has to engage and entertain, but not in the same over-the-top way that's needed for viral success.

  8. Fredy Mfuko from Mission 101 Media, June 9, 2010 at 7:28 p.m.

    Online video is very important...There is so much that we can do, I don't think many brands are comfortable yet to take full advantage...

  9. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., June 10, 2010 at 6:38 p.m.

    The Final Reason: You (mr. brand) and your advertising agency are gutless wimps, pussies of the first degree - willing only to try things that have established rules and desired results in a world that's shifting like the gears on a dragster at 200mph. You all give endless lip service to "being out of the box" when, with your idiot flash video pull-down-popup-and-out standards of standardness in fact DEFINE the most mediocre and banal in this industry.

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