What type of content will surround our ad? How many people will see our ad? As the 2011 upfronts grow nearer, and we see what is proving to be just the beginning of the massive shift of marketing dollars from TV to online video, these are questions that face all of us in the digital world every day.
For years, content, and context for that matter, has been king, with mass distribution not being queen, but rather a very distant prince. The content being king argument is a powerful one. However, as marketers seek brand-safe methods of scaling out their message to the appropriate audience, making smart use of video ad networks is now more important than ever. So now, those questions become, how can I push out this video in a scalable manner to my audience, with knowledge of where my ads are, in a safe environment, and as efficiently as possible.
A recent study by Forrester claims that 2010 will be the year that marketing spend in the online video sector crosses 1 billion dollars, and even more amazingly, found that 85% of U.S. Web sites accept in-stream ads. So it's crucial to have full transparency about what you are getting when you are purchasing an audience from an ad network.
You will get the scale, which has become something of a commodity these days. You will get efficiency, especially as more video inventory is released, and CPMs decline, potentially endangering the delicate supply and demand balance. Simple Econ 100. Maybe you are being promised a solid number of the web's most premium content sites. Are you sure that you aren't just getting a "wish list"?
Purchasing an audience can be just as effective to the back end ROI goals, if not even more so; just make sure that you get what you pay for. Ask if your video network partner offers site level reporting. Ask if your media placements are backed by a third-party media verification service. And if some of the sites on the site list seem too good to be true, ask for proof that a contract is in place.
As the online video market grows and evolves, we are all responsible for protecting the brands' images. A safe environment CAN be had by using networks. Just be sure to ask the right questions, know what you are purchasing, and hold your vendors accountable.