In 2009 two online ad categories grew according to ecommerce: Paid search, 5%. Video, 45%. The rest declined, a lot. But the online video advertising category could slow to a crawl if certain practices continue.
1. What could be worse than an ad that starts with "Skip Advertisement?" Of course; one that has an X inside a circle in the corner. Ads that have a built-in mechanism to skip are the most hostile environment for a brand message imaginable. Ads that you can click an X and they vanish have over a 50% chance of being banished.
For all the angst about "protecting the brand" what could be more damaging than a disruptive pop-up that ruins an entertaining online video experience? It's the equivalent of a screaming radio commercial … "Sunday Sunday Sunday…"
2 The obsession for pricing standardization is not going to help the category of online video advertising grow, it could stall it for years. Other than technical standardization such as measuring where an ad appeared, standardizing the measure of cost is a lose-lose. Here's why. It will inevitably put online video in the same box with other media. It will be wrapped in an ancient, imperfect model such as cost per thousand, or a newer imperfect model such as cost per click that has nothing to do with the online video experience.
Online video, done properly has at least three components that television and print do not have: A screen that is 12 inches from your face. All effective online video advertising incorporates the use of the keyboard in the message. Online video advertising also has use of a mouse for greater interactivity and some can ads activate a phone or camera. Wow.
Charging simply for "Cost per thousand" views only covers a fifth of the medium's capability. It ignores the incredible, unique value of the ability to take the customer right from their seat and participate in the selling process by a call to action to type, click, make a video response or comment. No prime time TV spot offers that, why price it the same way?
3. Using creative from other media and putting it up online. This is the very worse thing an advertiser can do. A great TV spot is a great TV spot---congratulations. Taking that spot and just posting it ignores the vast differences in the physical environment between a computer and a TV.
Now, you smart ones are thinking, "Well the computer is being used like a TV by thousands of people." One day, but not yet. 99% of all online video viewed is less than five minutes in length, many people cannot physically watch longer programming on their computer because the computer is old and many don't have the broadband capability. But even with those problems solved, most people want to use the 51 inch plasma screen in the den for TV. Video made for a 51 inch plasma screen is quite different than that made for a laptop.
We conduct a free seminar in the differences and will be happy to visit you. Just email email@example.com for an appointment.
4. In the early 1960's, the major ad agencies grudgingly added a "television department" to their creative/media client offerings. Today, the major ad agencies have grudgingly added a "digital department."
Until agencies fund and staff digital departments properly, their second string status can be a category killer. They burden these staffs with all the bureaucratic apparatchikof the prime time TV division but none of the funding. To get an NDA out of one of these departments takes weeks or months, it is re-written from 2 to 20 pages and then they steal the ideas anyway. It's hysterical. As long as the digital media departments are starving stepchildren at agencies, the creative will never match the needs of the medium and the media will be pathetic, worthless pre-rolls, post rolls and pop ups.
The good news is that many PR Firms are brilliantly filling this need. Their grasp of the digital space is often cutting edge and pragmatic. The work done by Andy Pray at Ruder and Finn for TiVo is award winning. Edelman is out front with their initiatives for brands like Clorox and Armor All.
Online video advertising is a quickly growing medium and its potential has not been scratched. Progress will come when imposing past measurement standards and inappropriate creative is banished and we instead say: This is special, how can we take care of it?