Dennis Shiao, director of product management-webcasts for Tech Target, oversees more than 600 of the online presentations each year. And, like anyone with a large and mature webcast business, Shiao is concerned with continuing to draw audiences to these events.
IT professionals who form the audiences of TechTarget and its competitors are invited to an ever-increasing number of webcasts because they are so popular with advertisers as lead generators. Three-quarters of TechTarget’s webcasts are created on behalf of advertisers, rather than being editorially generated.
So far, one format has been the overwhelming sponsor favorite—PowerPoint with synchronized audio, representing 95% of the ad-driven webcasts Tech Target produces. Yet Shiao, agreeing with many of his peers in b-to-b media, said, “Video will be a big focus of ours this year. We are going out to our clients with a number of video opportunities.”
Among the offerings TechTarget is developing are webcasts using Accela Communications’ new AccelaCast inBanner technology, which Shiao recently tested with a five-minute editorial program that played within a 336-by-280 pixel ad unit. The inBanner technology delivers rich media content directly to a Web site within any standard-size banner ad unit, through any ad serving system.
“Our objective upfront was to find out if our members would click on the banner, which said, ‘Click to view (without leaving this page),’” Shiao said. “Then, we wanted to see how long our members would stay on it.”
An editorial piece was chosen because Shiao could get the test into the market more quickly than a sponsor-driven webcast.
With the five-minute video covering the hot topic of intrusion detection, the banner was placed on the contextually relevant sites of SearchNetworking.com and SearchSecurity.com. The piece delivered an average initial click-through of 4.4% and an average viewing time of 125 seconds. According to Accela, the industry average click-through rate is just 0.2% and average viewing time is typically around 12 seconds.
“We want to make our site stickier and we see this as a way to keep our members on the page and engaged for a large percentage of the program,” Shiao said. “I was plugged in as the feedback person via e-mail, and responses really drove home our members’ delight. One of the e-mails read, ‘This is absolutely amazing. I’ve always found it inconvenient to wade through a maze of webcasts, but this is a welcome idea to pop such installments.’ ”
Because the banner itself is used to invite site visitors to view the video program, TechTarget did not need to use its promotional e-mail lists to market the webcast, Shiao said. Even more important, he said, “We are very conscious of how we utilize the time of our members. Because we have this fully imbedded player on the page, it’s very efficient for them to view the program then and there.”
Considering the test a success, Shiao is now working with Accela to imbed TechTarget’s unusually detailed registration form into the inBanner format. “Our advertisers typically want close to 15 fields of information,” he said. “So we’re in discussions with Accela to collect that information in a way that’s not too disruptive.”