Online Video Ads: Challenges Or Opportunities?

  • by July 7, 2006

In business, what some people see as challenges, others see as opportunities. In the thriving and dynamic rich media business, this paradox may be even more evident. Case in point: online video ads.

Last week OnlineMediaDailyreported on a recent survey by that revealed that most ad agency representatives seem to have little experience with online video advertising. The article hinted that this lack of experience may be due to a "scarcity" of online video inventory. Its headline? Survey: Execs Challenged By Online Video Ads. The study found that:

  • Ad agency reps devote less than 20 percent of their ad budgets to online video.
  • 36 percent of those surveyed said they had "little to no" experience with online video advertising.
  • 63 percent of respondents were "very concerned with" how to keep consumers engaged with the video ad.
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    First of all, there is no scarcity of online video ad inventory, once we properly define the difference between in-page and in-stream inventory placements. As deftly pointed out in Jason Glickman's recent Video Insider article, in-page video ad inventory extends to just about every banner on the Web (unlike in-stream ads that are limited to in-player placements). Video can play in virtually any size, shape, and format of in-page ad units. Banners, expandables, floating ads, interstitials can all easily accommodate video, and today's best rich media vendors make instant play and user-initiated video options available in all of these ad units.

    Also, in-page video ads are available on tens of thousands of Web sites, from the megaportals like AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo down to the most focused niche sites like Maximum Sled Worldwide and TransworldMX. The inventory opportunity for in-page video ads is truly unlimited. (For those of you scoring at home, that's Opportunities: 1, Challenges: 0)

    Now, on to the other "challenges." The study found that agency reps are devoting less than 20 percent of their budgets to online video. By my count, that leaves 80 percent of their budgets available to help their clients better capitalize on the power of online video advertising--a huge opportunity for agencies. The latest reports from DoubleClick indicate that online video ads roughlytriple the increase for all key brand metrics [brand awareness, ad awareness, message association, brand favorability, and purchase intent] compared to GIF/JPG display ads. (That's now Opportunities: 2, Challenges: 0)

    Finally, 63 percent of respondents were "very concerned with" how to keep consumers engaged with the video ad. Again, this represents another huge opportunity, as instant play video ads are a great way to generate ad and brand awareness. The right amount of sight, sound, and motion is one of the best recipes to attract viewer attention and encourage further interaction with the ad. Once consumers are engaged, there are a host of interactive features - including additional videos--that can be employed to keep themengaged. One of our recent tune-in campaigns used multiple videos to generate average interaction rates of 25 percent and average interaction times of 45 seconds. (Final score is Opportunities: 3, Challenges: 0)

    The bottom line: in-page video ads are loaded with opportunities for today's agencies and advertisers. The inventory opportunity for in-page video ads is unlimited, video exponentially increases ad effectiveness, and in-page ads can easily include a host of interactive features that keep consumers engaged.

    The only "challenge" I see is how to better spread the word about the power of in-page video ads.

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