By Glenn Pingul
A little known fact, according to Comscore, there were more than 10 billion video views online, by more than 141 million unique viewers, in December of 2007 alone!
Reports show that more than half of the US population now has broadband access, with penetration continuing to grow rapidly, making speed to viewing videos faster. Web sites like YouTube, Metacafe and AOL Video upload hundreds of thousands of videos each week. Today’s consumers are not only accustomed to watching video online, but are coming to expect it everywhere online, whether on portals, publisher sites, vertical sites, business’ Web sites, directories, or blogs.
As consumer media habits change, so too must businesses change. Now is the time for businesses to augment their marketing mix with online video if they want to stay relevant to their customers. Let’s look deeper into why:
Creative production barriers are lowered: In the offline broadcast world, it was all about the 15- or 30-second spot. High agency creative costs and high production values were required because of the “artistry” required to cram a message into such a condensed format.
Mixpo Studio (Above), where users can create and adjust their video ads
Online, a video ad is NOT constrained by the 15-second unit. As we’ve seen with the majority of clients with whom we’re working, the most effective video ads are not the high production value ones. They are ones that are more informative than entertaining, more authentic than high gloss, more personal than corporate.
What this means for businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), is that it’s truly becoming a level playing field in the online world. Smaller organizations CAN make very cost-effective video ads that compete, and beat, high production value commercials by the big brands.
Your competition is catching on to video: Online advertising is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 11 percent from 2006 to 2011. Within that, online video advertising will be a significant catalyst for that growth, with some reports, e.g., Borrell Associates, estimating that locally placed online video advertising will triple to $1.3 Billion in that timeframe.
Most businesses, especially the big brands, however, are simply focused on repurposing television commercials into 15-second pre- or post-rolls and then wrapping them around editorial or entertainment content. This form of ad unit is nothing more than a subtler form of the pop-up ad, forcing viewers to watch irrelevant advertising in order to get to what they want.
This leaves a huge opportunity for local SMBs to add video to their marketing mix and create authentic online video ads that break through the clutter and still keep the viewer in charge. Businesses that leverage online video advertising correctly can not only build their brand but drive direct response by packaging video content that is truly relevant to the user.
Video ads with purpose: So much focus surrounding online video has been on publishing and hosting, and “just getting your video up there!” There is so much hype around posting videos, but businesses require more. SMBs, for example, don’t have the time or money to waste on new marketing solutions without a clear purpose or path to return on investment. The promise of video and hope that their video might take off virally is not enough.
Unlike offline advertising where so much is immeasurable, online video advertising can provide deeper insight into the effectiveness of your message, promotions, pricing and positioning. Within our platform, for example, businesses have the ability run A/B tests on different video ads in the same VideoAd player and see which video ad performs best. Advanced analytics (see SIDEBAR) now enable businesses to not only track clicks, but also where users are coming from geographically, how long they view a video, at what point in the video they take action (whether requesting a quote, more information, bookings, etc). Businesses can then easily adjust, or optimize, their video ads in real-time to be more effective, based on the analytics.
Businesses now have total transparency on performance and effectiveness. In fact, we’ve had several clients test their television commercials online to measure their effectiveness. The world of sample sizes, impressions-based pricing is moving is starting to shift to performance based marketing. And online video ads are leading the charge.
Adding online video to any business’s marketing mix now makes sense for all the reasons mentioned above but may still meet with resistance, especially for SMBs, if the process for creating, running, analyzing and optimizing video advertising campaigns is not turnkey and easy. We designed our online advertising video platform to be elegantly simple to use and singularly focused on helping SMBs drive performance. From the VideoAd itself and the built in direct response functionality and high quality playback, to the studio with its flexible inputs for creation, to the dashboard with deep analytics for performance measurement, to the optimization capability to test different VideoAds in rotation and make changes on the fly, the platform is a self-contained system.
It is definitely time for businesses to add online video to the marketing mix. The challenge and opportunity for all of us who are involved lies with the fact that if the ergonomics of how businesses can easily participate in online video advertising aren’t in-place, large-scale adoption just won’t happen, no matter how much sense it makes. [24×7]
Glenn Pingul, VP of Marketing for Mixpo (www.mixpo.com)
“We were motivated to build the Mixpo online video advertising platform to drive results. Businesses can create video ads easily using the Mixpo Studio, but then they can add call-to-action overlays throughout the presentation to drive direct response. Beyond branding benefit, online video’s real value is in the ability to drive leads, such as email inquiries, requests for a quote, and bookings. The capability to drive direct response is what we believe makes online video a must-have in any businesses’ marketing mix.”