UPDATED: Fleshing Out the Allegations That A Lot of Online Video Advertising Is Never Seen

The trouble with going to a conference is that it is sometimes really tough to adequately explain to co-workers, spouses or the poor person you’re seated next to on the plane going home just how interesting they can be.

For years, I used to go to these things and try to repeat the high points later on, to be met by blank stares and/or lack of eye contact altogether. Maybe it’s just me.

At the risk of delivering a full-blown commercial, the MediaPost Video Insider Summit that’s taking place now (and continuing tomorrow) in Montauk, NY sounds like one of those events. A good thing about conferences in the age of Internet is that you can see a lot of them online, and that’s true for the MediaPost one, too. In addition, on the main MediaPost site and on Twitter, the folks from the shop who are actually there are doing a pretty good job buzzing about what the speakers are saying. You should hop to that site to watch a little if you have the chance.  

Like, I was a little freaked, but I was amazed to hear Jay Benach, a senior member of the Internet security firm White Ops, estimate that online fraud is costing"single-digit" billions in lost revenue and other waste. Benach told the Montauk crowd that the hackers in the employ of various nefarious bot merchants are super elite Internet technologists and programmers who, it appears are spending a lot more money trying to rip off advertisers and by extension consumers, than is being spent to stop them, or even slow them down. (UPDATED: A previous version of this story had a more exact revenue loss estimate, but that figure came from an another trade publication's story about White Ops, not from what Benach said at the MediaPost event. )   

A lot of advertising isn’t seen for more or less innocent reasons. In the TV world, ads are skipped via DVRs, or just going to the kitchen to make popcorn. But according to Integrated Ad Science executive Mike Iantosca, there may be a kind of unspoken, devious agreement about phantom ads in the online world. He says as many as 60% of online video ads are "not being viewed" and most of that un-viewing behavior was the result of outright fraud, like ads being served on pages that aren’t even seen by the viewer, or through those botnets. Interesting stuff.

There are lighter, less criminal topics, too. A little while ago at the conference, Richard Kosinski, president of Unruly USA gave pointers on what makes video shareable. Helping clients with that what Unruly sees as its main reason for being, and it has built up a sophisticated data to figure out what works, and doesn’t, in the 12 nations where it operates.

Like, he noted today, American beer commercials, good ones anyway, just have to be funny. (Except the most shared ad from last year’s Super Bowl was the super-sentimental “Brotherhood” ad for Budweiser, Kosinski pointed out.)  

Unruly’s Website is filled with information about what works and doesn’t but Kosinski notes that increasingly—and rapidly—longer ads are the kinds of things that are getting shared. Going over three minutes is quite all right, if you know what you’re doing.  

And it’s also quite all right to mention your brand in videos, sooner than most advertisers do. He said the average branded video is about two and a half minutes long—but advertisers don’t want to speak their names until 30 seconds in. Speak up! Kosinski told a crowd that probably doesn’t need to be told twice. “Don’t be shy to tell a story,” was Kosinski’s rule number 4, which, at Montauk, is what a bunch of online video pros are doing, in little chairs right up on stage.  

In the old world, you could read all about it, and depend on word of mouth from the excited employees who went. In the new world, you can watch all about it, right now. I’m going back to the video myself, right now.       

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