The Key to Web-Video Advertising

How Do You Create Messaging That Won't Annoy or Be Ignored? Focus on Viewers' Interests and Leave Room for Interactivity

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If share of budgets matched share of mind for online video advertising, it would be worth a lot more than eMarketer's $775 million 2007 revenue estimate. But much of the attention paid to the ad channel is because there are still so many unknowns -- what's a standard view? What's the best way to distribute video ads? And, most importantly, what kinds of ad formats do consumers find most effective (and least annoying)?

The latest parties to research the space are two of the web's giants, AOL and Google, who have teamed with TNS to produce a study of video-viewing habits. They found that online-video viewing steadily increases throughout the day, peaking in the evening, but that the heaviest viewers also watch in the afternoon. As for online-video destinations, most users had requested a video-sharing site in the past month (77%), followed by news sites (55%) and broadcast TV sites (49%). And the study found there are a few important ingredients to online-video ads -- at least in consumers' eyes.

AFTER SERVING AN AD ...
Be ready to serve consumers who take action after seeing your video messaging.
1.6
actions were performed in response to online video ads.
ALLOW FOR INTERACTIVITY
Take advantage of the interactivity and immediacy of the ad and make the video clickable.
43%
of those surveyed said it was important to be able to click through an ad to a brand's website.
MAKE SURE YOUR VIDEO CAN BE FOUND
If you're gearing branded content toward a given audience, know how that crowd likes to find video.
18 TO 34
Men in this age range are most likely to use search engines; 18- to 24-year-olds with lower incomes (under $50,000) are most likely to talk offline; and females 18 to 34 with lower incomes are most likely to share videos.
CONTEXT MATTERS
Use behavioral and contextual targeting to your advantage.
52%
of respondents said it was important for online-video ads to fit their interests. And 46% said it was important for the ad to be relevant to the website's content.
PEOPLE "GET" THE VALUE EXCHANGE
Consumers understand the tradeoff between free content and advertising.
63%
said they prefer online-video sites to have an ad-supported model vs. a subscription model. And 57% said they understand that online-video advertising is important for keeping websites free.
DON'T BE ANNOYING
Whatever you do, respect the viewer. Consumers feel pestered by many of the video ads they see.
41%
thought brands was that the brands they saw in online-video ads had strong internet presences. The second most common thought -- at 38% -- was "annoying."

These brands aren't sick of viral

When exactly marketers began describing a new kind of user-fueled message distribution as a sickness isn't clear. What is evident is that "viral" has stuck -- and the rate at which marketers have fallen "ill" can only be called an epidemic. But what companies have been the most susceptible?
Axe viral
Axe viral

PASS IT AROUND: Axe has made viral video a central component of its marketing.



During the past four years, a company called Competitrack has identified more than 4,000 pieces of viral creative, ranging from microsites to videos to blogs, for clients such as Fidelity Investments. It classifies as viral a piece of content that tries to attract or engage an audience and supports mention of a brand, although it can also be a spoof of that brand.

It doesn't yet put a media value on the viral ads it tracks, nor does it tack on distribution figures, some of which are easily discernable from third-party measurement companies (microsite visits, for example) and some of which are hard to aggregate (blog impressions or aggregate audience for a clip that's been e-mailed around the web).

"We're releasing it right now as a creative-only product," said Ian Wiseman, a former marketing executive at Vonage who is Competitrack's VP-marketing. Those other services, he said, are "definitely in the plans, but we need to make sure we get them right."

10 BIGGEST VIRAL BRANDS
  • Nike
  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Microsoft
  • Volkswagen
  • Axe
  • Apple
  • Coca-Cola
  • Adidas
  • PepsiCo
  • McDonald's
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