How quickly things can change. In November '08, eMarketer estimated that online video advertising would grow close to 45% in 2009. But before we start running through the office hallways yelling "All hail 2009 -- the year of online video," we might want to take a realistic look at the potential barriers to growth the current economy might have on online video (insert "Wah-Wah" here).
No surprise to anyone in the industry that advertisers have been "hesitant" with budgets heading into the new year. Although some advertisers will move budgets online as they wait for the economic outlook to improve, a higher percentage of these dollars are likely to be allocated to tactics more proven in driving key metrics and ROI, like performance-based activity. Unfortunately for the online video space, the lack of clear, standard metrics was a barrier to growth even before the economy went south. It's obviously not all doom and gloom but, as an industry, we shouldn't wait around until the dust settles. I say we start measuring the heck out of this thing. Do it now and be ready for the economic turnaround -- when it's likely that many companies will want to play "catch-up."
What is needed now, is the cooperation and understanding of all parties to come to one goal: get smarter. Now is as good a time as any for publishers, agencies, and clients to come together to help answer everyday questions about the space. As I've preached in previous articles, the definition of "getting smarter" is unique to each advertiser. Here are just a few questions we can answer now, while we wait:
Low-quality vs. high-quality (UGC vs. professionally-produced) -- Is it even worth the premium to have your brand immersed in high-quality video?
Short-form vs. long-form -- Many seem to believe that the most growth in the space will be driven by long-form content.
Pre-roll vs. overlay -- Sure, overlays are less intrusive to the consumer, but are they as effective in driving results?
Of course these answers are most useful when, as an industry, we can share the learnings. Despite some of the barriers to sharing
information, like a client's desire for anonymity, there are ways to continue to educate and communicate the greater benefits of being active in the online video space. Relying purely on the fact that
consumer usage of online video is booming as a reason to expect video advertising budgets to increase is a mistake. After all, shouldn't we online folks already have learned this lesson?