The Online Video Continuum - Adam Kleinberg-Traction

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This afternoon, I'm heading to Texas. I'll be speaking at the Videonomics conference at... get this... Cowboys Stadium.

First, let me say, "Go Giants!"

Now that I've got that out of my system, let me focus on the talk I'll be giving. It's called "Leaning Back while Leaning Forward" and in it, I'll be introducing a diagram that I call The Online Video Continuum.


While there is a lot of talk about online video today, most of it is centered around two ends of the spectrum that mirror the past.

On one end of the spectrum is pre-roll or rich media. Equate this in your mind to the digital equivalent of TV commercials. As a consumer, I can get this content for free, but I've got to watch this ad.

The industry focuses on this because of the media dollars behind it.

On the other end is branded content. Think Procter & Gamble inventing soap operas—or the judges on American Idol with their giant red cups of Coca Cola. BMW Films pioneered this a decade ago. Today, brands like Red Bulluse it as their primary marketing channel.

The industry focuses on this because everyone wants to pretend they're in Hollywood.

But what about in between? There are a ton of really powerful ways brands can leverage video to build connections with their customers.

Here are a number of opportunities to leverage video along the Online Video Continuum that brands should consider:

Rich Media - Hands down, the most effective rich-media ad units are the ones that feature video. Traction did one expandable banner for in a "choose your own adventure" format that drove 25% engagement rate and had 64 second average dwell-time.

Native Video - The big trend in start-ups today is "Native Monetization." Spearheaded by Facebook and Twitter spurning standardized ad formats in favor of "native" ones they came up with on their own, content providers are looking for ways to integrate brand content into their content experiences. We are running one campaign right now through a native ad platform and our videos are getting a 9% click-to-view rate. That means 9% of people who see the video, click the video and watch it through to the end.

Facebook - And other social platforms are great means of distributing video in an easily shareable place. One of our clients recently had 173 likes and scores of enthusiastic customer responses on a single video post—far greater engagement than they've ever had on their Facebook page before.

Consumer-Generated - Usually quality consumer-generated brand content is serendipity—a rare and unpredictable occurrence. However, now companies like PopTent are popping up to help brands incentivize consumers to create quality video on their behalf.

Experience Integration- One of the most compelling opportunities open to brands today is to delight or create value for consumers through digital experiences. Video can be integrated into those experiences to make them more powerful, more compelling and yes, more engaging to your customers.

Owned Media- Many brands will invest in product placement or high production value and then make video created for their proprietary or owned content channels an afterthought. The cobbler's kids need shoes. Video on your own properties offers a powerful opportunity to tell a deeper story and move prospects down the funnel (or up the value chain as it may).

Transmedia Storytelling- Consumers today move seamlessly from one device to the next. So should your brand stories. A tale that begins in a video banner can continue in greater depth on a website. When this story is carefully engineered to appeal to consumer needs and wants, the impact can be powerful.

Video has enormous impact. Already, that impact is magnified online. But by understanding the entire continuum available in your marketing toolkit, that impact can be exponential.

Stir (never shake) a spoonful of charisma, a jigger of positive energy and a mind as sharp as a freshly plucked lemon and you get close to the cocktail that is Adam Kleinberg. Adam is CEO and a founding partner of Traction, an advertising agency and innovation consultancy in San Francisco. He can be reached at

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