The tipping point in online video adoption

Sam Kayum, UK MD of digital video network smartclip, discusses some of the challenges marketers need to overcome for online video to be a firm feature in every marketer’s guidebook.

Sam Kayum
Sam Kayum

In today’s crowed marketplace, having a voice that has an impact on consumers at a personal level is one of the most hotly debated topics and Holy Grail of modern day marketing. Brands are constantly looking for new and engaging ways to interact with their target audience and video is an ideal way of getting this result.

2010 has seen the online video market mature and come of age. Online video has proved itself to be much more than just a flash in the pan and is becoming a core part of the advertising market.

It holds the potential for a much more direct and genuine customer relationship; people can share content online, advertisers can use it to create greater brand cut-through and it can be used to compliment existing TV ad campaigns to drive home a stronger brand message.

However, there is still a degree of reluctance amongst many decision makers to walk down the online video path and for some online video is still seen as a leap too far.

Objectively speaking we believe there are five key challenges, each of which will need to be addressed before online video can take its rightful place alongside TV advertising in the marketing portfolio.

Quality and planning are two of the most important factors in any online video marketing. Cutting costs will only result in challenges further down the line and while TV advertising may be a well trodden path thanks to the wealth of research now widely available, online video is starting to catch-up.

It’s only natural that as consumer eyeballs go online that the researchers will follow; the industry needs to understand behaviours in order to maximise the potential of any campaign that attempts to target these groups. Agencies should be singing about their successes, shouting about the ROI experienced in order to encourage more risk-averse advertisers to jump on board.

There is an incorrect assumption that consumers do not use the internet to view specific video content. This accepted fact is changing very quickly as more attractive content is made available online, whether it’s via BBC iPlayer, 4OD or similar sites. Users are already comfortable using YouTube for clips and trailers and now many consumers are using the internet as a first port of call for other content too.

As the TV and film industries adjust their business models to incorporate online content, the quality and quantity of content available online will grow. Ultimately this will help to drive greater consumer uptake and enable easy advertiser access to specific niche communities who cannot be reached through broad-brush marketing techniques.

Contrary to popular belief, TV and online are complimentary and research shows the results driven by the two formats are at their strongest when they are used in conjunction with one another. TV provides a mass approach that can reach mass audiences; online video offers a more measurable and targeted individualised equivalent. Online video marketing allows TV advertising to be repurposed for a very specific niche audience, and the use of a network simplifies the process for everyone involved.

Certain costs can make online video seem frighteningly expensive; not only do marketers have to work with expensive streaming costs but there are also royalties for the use of content produced by external production companies.

Online video may still be an ’early bird’ investment; however, as countries like Germany forge ahead of the UK in the use of online video, its value is going to become increasingly easy to demonstrate. While today it is still regarded as a new format, by the end of the year we expect it to be a standard and essential part of any consumer marketing campaign.

The technology to transcode TV ads to online ads does exist; however the challenge lies in producing the technology that serves these publisher sites. For many advertisers it seems that the process is too complex and it discourages them from dipping a toe in the water.

Ad server and video players need recognised industry standards that will facilitate this – this development may be the single most significant factor in triggering the breakthrough of online video.

Despite these challenges, online video is making an impact, right now. It’s now possible to measure the success of video much more effectively and it can be quite a powerful solution when combined with traditional TV advertising.

After all, no consumer is the same and the trick is understanding who you are targeting and then ensuring you speak to them in the most engaging way. As marketers look for increasingly measurable and impactful ways to communicate with their key audiences, online video will be the answer many are looking for.

Perhaps above all, it is about accepting that different mediums from TV to online and video are complimentary, not incompatible as the current landscape would have us believe.

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