Moving TV Ad Dollars Into Online Video

Seventy-four billion dollars. Let me repeat, with emphasis: Seventy-Four Billion Dollars. That's what advertisers will spend this year to buy airtime on TV in the U.S.

 The limp upfronts have gotten a lot of press and naturally, advertisers are getting some pressure to explore online video opportunities in an effort to "integrate the silos."

Here are some ideas of what advertisers need to know to allocate TV money toward online video.


The majority of video advertising currently online is repurposed creative from television. There is a lot more that can be done to take advantage of the medium. A great example is the Honda Fit campaign. Their 5-second spots provide a quick, clear message that works well online.

If an advertiser's creative strategy wasn't so forward-thinking, they can still get a lot of value running their TV ads online. (15-second spots are a better fit than 30 seconds in short-form content.) But it's important, whether running new creative or repurposed TV creative, to make the best use of companion banners.

Most online video campaigns are accompanied by companion banners or embedded in a banner. Companion ads (usually included in the buy) are very effective for engaging users and raising awareness. It's important to remember that companion banners are a tool to drive an action. So whether it's a branding or direct response campaign, it's a great opportunity to promote a message or drive traffic to an online destination.

Online is also the best environment to test the efficacy of creative in real-time. Because of the depth of reporting and the immediacy of feedback, advertisers can see which campaigns work well and on which sites--even test creative online before running it on TV with more concrete metrics than focus groups can provide.


Most Internet users have watched online video; 25 percent watch regularly, at least once a week. Users regularly see online video ads and, according to the Online Publishers Association, 44 percent have taken some action after viewing an online video ad.

So advertisers can aggregate a reach of millions that rivals television. Many online networks even help with the translation between online numbers and GRPs so advertisers can slot the numbers right into their plans.

Much of this reach comes during times when people wouldn't normally be watching TV, given online video's growing domination of the day-part audience. And broadening the marketing window into daytime hours can be put to profound use. Thursday night TV is no longer the last, best opportunity to influence consumers going into the weekend. That title is now held by the Internet on Friday mornings and afternoons.


Even better than the reach available online is the ability to target. Advertisers have the ability to slice and dice their target audience in ways that significantly reduce the waste in spending.

The first type of targeting that should be utilized is channel targeting. Also, frequency-capping should be a standard with any online ad buy. Nobody wants to be bombarded by the same ad over and over.

Beyond that, the sky's the limit. Advertisers can choose geo-targeting, demo targeting, behavioral targeting, day-parting, etcetera, etcetera. A good targeting mix provides the best measurable results and the most bang for an advertising buck. The ability to reach in-market buyers as they are researching their purchase is a powerful option that's just not available anywhere else like it is online.


Measuring the ROI on any investment in advertising can only be done through robust reporting, and a big reason why advertisers are migrating more dollars online is the Internet's "accurate" reporting capabilities.

The information available about how the audience experiences an online ad goes way beyond the shotgun approach of TV advertising, including detailed measurements of  audience interactions.

There are a lot of really good opportunities for advertisers to dip their toes in the water of online video, and many new ones are on the way that will continue to bolster the argument for a radical shift in the allocations of ad budgets.

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