Well, maybe. After a couple of slow-growth years, the consensus is that spending in web video will accelerate in 2010, perhaps as much as 50%. Two online ad forecasts from eMarketer and Piper Jaffray are putting the market at or around $1.5 billion, up from $1.1 billion in 2009. Anecdotally, advertisers that spent in video -- and particularly package-goods marketers -- appear to be doubling down on video. Reckitt Benckiser, for example, which spent $20 million on web video in 2009, is said to be doubling its spend in 2010. Increasingly, the constraint on dollars moving isn't reticence among marketers; it's a lack of inventory in premium content.
I have this hilarious ad; if I put it on the web, will it go "viral"?
No. Anything can happen, but the odds are against any video catching lightning in a bottle, unless there is some promotional muscle behind it. Ads that catch on are generally supported by a media buy, such as YouTube's "Promoted Videos, a video ad network, or have some stealthy PR behind them working the angles on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. It's not cheap, but success means lowering the effective CPM. Just ask Evian, whose Rollerskating Babies have reaped more than 70 million views over the past year.
If consumers hate pre-roll ads, should I keep doing them?
Short answer: Yes, because studies show they are the most effective video advertising on any platform. Longer answer: Think about your strategy, because at least 15% of consumers that see your ad will click away immediately. Keep them short, preferably under 15 seconds, and think about doing something creative, like allowing viewers to choose the pre-roll they watch on sites such as YouTube, Tremor Media and Hulu.
Where can I get analytics on how my video campaign is running?
You'll get plenty of stats from the publisher or ad network you're working with, but check to see if they're partnered with an outside provider and if they'll do some custom research for you. Break.com, for example, works with Visible Measures, which can tell you all kinds of cool things, such as when viewers decided your ad was boring and clicked away. They'll also do some custom research, such as a study under way for Warner Bros. on where movie trailers perform best.
Is it possible to get an equivalent TV buy on the web?
Yes, but perhaps not right away. If you're looking to trade a 30-second spot on "American Idol" for equivalent reach online, you won't get it in an hour; it might take several days or weeks. That's not a problem for package-goods advertisers, which typically run campaigns for months at a time, but it is a problem for entertainment advertisers, which need a short burst to drive weekend box office. It also becomes more difficult if you want to do some granular targeting, which further decreases the available impressions. Yume, Tremor Media and others are all making it easy for TV advertisers to shift budget to video using TV metrics such as the Gross Ratings Point. The difference is TV guarantees it's GRPs and in video, you get the impressions but unless it's targeted, you may be hitting the wrong demo.
What kind of risk am I taking with my brand with all the profane and off-color video out there?
Er, have you watched TV lately? The truth is some of the same marketers wary of the web are happily sponsoring content on shows such as MTV's "16 and Pregnant" or "Jersey Shore." But the truth is, advertisers don't hold a few racy shows against a medium (TV) or a network (MTV). They just buy around them. Cable faced the same issues when it was a new medium; it took a leap of faith and now marketers spend more dollars there than broadcast.
Is video advertising cheaper than TV?
It certainly can be, but it can also be quite a bit more expensive. If you take existing 15- and 30-second spots and blast them across ad networks, it can be very inexpensive. But add those to TV content on TV.com or Hulu and you'll be paying higher rates on a CPM basis than TV. Why? Less inventory and exclusivity within shows, as well as a whole battery of studies that show online video ads perform better. The most sophisticated video advertisers are doing custom work for the web including branded entertainment. That can be expensive, as is the media required to make sure the audiences see it.