As the publishing industry braces itself for a boom, Sam Kayum, MD smartclip UK, adds further weight to the current debate on video, explaining why 2010 is set to be the year of video.
According to recent figures from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP), UK publishers are gearing up for a strong year of growth, with many media owners expecting to enjoy double-digit growth in the next few months.
Reassuringly, the strongest areas of growth are expected to be in display ads and perhaps most notably, video. The AOP also tells us that more than half of the publishers surveyed in its annual census are ramping up investment in cross-media resources and here again video is high on the agenda.
These findings are a positive sign for the industry and also testament to the sharp rise of interactive video advertising. It is also a sign that marketers are starting to believe that online media can create more direct genuine customer relationships. The facts speak for themselves: online video usage is growing exponentially, while traditional media like TV and newspapers are beset by cutbacks and declining viewer or reader figures.
Current understanding of online video
Our own research into the uptake of online video further supports this trend; 71 per cent of marketing professionals are planning to use video advertising in their campaigns over the next 12 months, while almost three-quarters added that the transparency of online video and the simple ways of measuring its success was a reason for its popularity.
These findings are promising and suggest awareness of and confidence in video as an effective advertising tool is growing.
We also looked at how industry experts felt video advertising could best differentiate itself from offline ad formats such as TV, radio and magazines. Of those we spoke to, 35 per cent said that targeting was one of its strongest advantages, while over a third (38 per cent) also felt that interactivity offered a strong USP.
One in five added that a strong differentiator lay in its ability to communicate key messages with more brevity than the TV equivalent.
When asked for their opinion on the much debated topic of optimum length of online video ads, over half of those we spoke to thought 15 seconds was the most effective length, followed by a quarter (28 per cent) who said 10 seconds is the most effective.
In terms of the specific ad formats used in ad campaigns our findings were less conclusive and indicate a need for greater education in the industry, particularly if video is to reach its predicted heights.
For example, of those polled, only 36 per cent were aware of linear video ads, 24 per cent of non-linear video ads, 43 per cent of pre-roll ads, 44 per cent of post-roll ads and only 9 per cent of companion ads.
Interestingly over a third of those questioned (39 per cent) were not aware of any of the above ad formats, suggesting that more work needs to be done.
Making online video work
The facts speak for themselves: interest in online video advertising is at an all time high. This is encouraging news but there are still a number of crucial hurdles that must be overcome for the format to achieve its full potential:
1. Cost versus quality
It is important that advertisers do not cut corners on quality and planning when allocating budget to online video ad campaigns. Brands need to invest money wisely to make that they are implementing measurable and cost effective campaigns that will deliver a solid return on investment.
2. Creating a proof point
Initial costs can still seem high for publisher. In addition to expensive streaming costs there are additional royalties for the use of content produced by external production companies, costs which can make online video seem prohibitively expensive.
However, as more digital marketers start to invest in the format, its value and ROI will become more easily demonstrable: the trail blazers and innovators will create the proof point for mass market adoption.
3. Striking a balance between TV and online
There are some advertisers who believe that they have to choose between TV and online advertising, but in fact, the results driven by the two formats are at their strongest when used in conjunction. TV provides a mass approach that can reach audiences with a broad brush; online video offers a far more significantly measurable and targeted individualised equivalent.
4. Development needed in technical standards
The technology to transcode TV ads to online ads does exist; today the challenge lies in producing the technology that serves them to publisher sites. Ad server and video players need recognised industry standards that will facilitate the process – this development may be the most significant one in triggering the breakthrough of this ad format.
2010 is the year of video
It is encouraging to see interest in online video advertising campaigns growing as it has done in recent months.
Online video is now recognised by the vast majority of the marketing industry and the trick now is to continue to educate the market, helping brands to run effective, engaging and measurable campaigns.
We firmly believe the uptake of online video advertising will grow and we will be working hard to make sure that we are doing everything we can to further propel video further into the media spotlight.
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