2012 Predictions: Are Growth Estimates Actually Too Low?

Who the heck knows what the future may bring, right?  Well, with New Year 2012 coming up fast, I’m not going to let that stop me.  I’m going to give you some predictions, all expanding upon trends and developments several other writers and I have been noting in this column throughout the past year.  It will be fun in December of 2012 to take a look back at this piece to see to what extent these prognostications prove to be accurate.

Without further ado, here are some predictions for the New Year in online video:

Online video growth exceeds projections. While some people have dismissed the robust growth predictions for online video as being too Pollyannaish or bullish, I would actually be shocked if the projected spend in online video not only hits the widely discussed eMarketer metric of a 43% increase for 2012, but exceeds this by another 20% of  that percentage once everything is all said and done, showing roughly 50% growth.  Why?  Read on:

Video-ization of the Web to continue. The overall growth in online video will be fueled in large part not by online video advertising, but by the broader video-ization of the World Wide Web.  Brands and advertisers are actively swapping out black- and-white text blocks with engaging, informative, and trackable videos and related video messaging.

For example, one of the key areas of video-ization will increasingly be instructional videos: That is, videos on how to set up and use various products, including “unboxing videos” that explain the various components of assembling products as they are removed from their original product packing. The days of lengthy, multilingual and expensive printed manuals are numbered, and will soon come to a close, thanks largely to online videos taking their place. 

A 2012 comeback for clickable videos: They came, then they faded, but now they are coming back. I predict a strong return of clickable videos.  Thanks to companies like Overlay.TV and its work with Zappos, and others, like Videoclix.TV, Wirewax.TV, and, clickable videos are making a resurgence. They work great, and are increasingly easy to set-up.

Importantly, YouTube and its “annotations” approach is further refining this ad execution with some startling results. Brands jumping into the clickable video space include Mitsubishi, Kraft, Macy’s, Mattel, JCPenney and eBay. Here’s a fascinating Interactive Card Trick from YouTube using its annotation technology. 

Video Dynamic End Cards – Brands are going to increasingly rely on Dynamic End Cards at the end of their online videos.  These static navigational aids appear as an end slate at the conclusion of a video.  By clicking on the icons or subjects listed in the end card, the video will take the viewer to another video that will elaborate on a key piece of information alluded to in the original video. Here’s a great example of a Dynamic End Card from a Google Chrome ad.

Metrics, metrics, metrics – The importance of metrics in evaluating online video will only increase in 2012, especially in view of the strong increase in branding messages versus call-to-action ads. The long-predicted Nielsen video metric solution may appear in 2012, but increasingly it looks as if comScore will take over the lead in evaluating online video for marketers in the coming year. Having seen some of comScore’s methodology firsthand, I think it could be the solution marketers are looking for in evaluating ads, at least for the coming 12 months.

Ad network consolidation – Nothing too bold here, but with the increased importance of metrics (as well as the overall growth in spend), I fully expect that those video ad networks that do the best jobs of providing truly usable data to their clients will be the ones that grow and prosper.I further expect that there will be some serious consolidation taking place in 2012.  As we’ve seen in “traditional”  online advertising, the best will swallow the also-ran networks, as there is a lot of overlap and duplication in the existing network line-ups anyway.

Well, this is where I think things are going to go with online video in 2012.  What do you think?  And remember to check back with me in December of 2012 to see how close these predictions came to being true.



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