Should I Move Brand Advertising Dollars to Online Video?

Your Most Pressing Questions Answered

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Is the original-programming movement for real?
Over the past few months, YouTube, Yahoo, Hulu and Netflix have announced or unveiled high-end original-video programming. For some, this is about differentiation. For others, it's about creating premium video experiences that some marketers crave. And, at least in the case of YouTube, this is about making a platform appealing to some brands that have shunned it because of lowbrow content. Content companies are making the investment, but will the viewers come? "If TV Everywhere is successful," said Tracey Scheppach, senior VP-innovations director at VivaKi Starcom MediaVest Group, "I don't know how much more competition is needed. There are still only 24 hours in a day."

Coke Zero on YouTube
Coke Zero on YouTube

Should I trust video-ad networks?
For campaigns in which you're looking to get your message in front of a mass audience, video networks are just about your only option. But that doesn't mean you should trust that all your ads are running next to content as promised. That's why it's wise to use verification services such as those offered by DoubleVerify. It's also a good idea to choose the inventory sources you want to run against when offered the option by a network. "We don't just buy across an entire network," said Jordan Bitterman, senior VP-social marketing practice director at Digitas. "We make specific selections about the kinds of content we want to be associated with."

When will it be time to shift some of my TV budget to online video?
It was time yesterday, and not just because of the need to follow your audience as it migrates online, but because of the insights you can gain and the closer you can get to your consumers. "From 'liking' a brand to capturing data, there are just more actions that can take place," Mr. Bitterman said. "You're taking an already-sufficient ad product and making it that much more interactive." If you haven't dipped your toes in the water yet, now is the time to at least start testing. "It's really eye-opening how much video consumption is happening on tablets, for example," said Ms. Scheppach.

Is my brand safe on YouTube?
Not completely, and YouTube knows that . That's one of the main reasons it recently launched its "channels" initiative: to increase the amount of quality content on the site and, in turn, attract more brand advertisers at a higher cost per thousand. Still, for every 5 million-view video that launches a child singer into stardom, there are countless videos of sophomoric pranks. YouTube continues to bring more balance to its offerings and push the latter further down into the long tail.

Which video-streaming service has the most untapped potential for advertisers?
Amazon launched its streaming service for Amazon Prime subscribers and will probably unveil a free, ad-supported model for non-Prime subscribers. Its consumer-purchase data could push video-ad targeting to the next level.

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