Marketers chase surge in online video viewing

As online video becomes ever more integral to the average web user’s experience, standards and metrics are being put in place to allow brands to take advantage.


Online video viewing figures are surging and with a large, engaged audience it is no surprise that there is also growing interest from marketers.

In July alone, comScore figures show there were more than 6.5 billion videos viewed online in the UK, up 30% year on year. Unsurprisingly, Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) figures show that video advertising is on the rise as well. At the end of last year, the channel was worth about £28m and is due to hit £60m by the end of this year, doubling its current proportion of around 4% of online advertising spend to around 9%.

There are many channels available to marketers, including video within display adverts, interstitial pages and homepage takeovers that play a video advert before the user is shown the content they requested. There are also slots which have more of a feel of a short television advert. These pre-roll clips, typically about ten seconds long, appear before a piece of video on demand (VOD) content which, due to its premium nature, means a viewer will accept a supporting advert. Videos lasting tens of minutes, such as catch-up content from a broadcaster, will often feature mid-roll and post-roll advertising slots as well.

There is also the option of viral videos where a brand entertains viewers through the content itself, seeding interest through social media and URL-sharing sites to channel viewers to the branded clip which is usually hosted on YouTube.
With a choice of channels comes a variety of image sizes and formats which could lead to many confusing permutations. However, the IAB has recently unveiled the second incarnation of its Video Ad Serving Template (VAST 2.0) which is an industry-wide standard to allow a piece of video content to be served in a variety of different placements without concerns over formats.

Jack Wallington, head of industry programmes at the IAB, reveals the increased interest generated by making video advertising much simpler will mainly be directed towards branding campaigns. He believes the market will continue to see video charged on a CPM (cost per thousand) basis rather than the CPE (cost per engagement) model you would usually associate with sales.

“Video’s all about engaging the user and having them coming away feeling the brand has entertained or informed them,” he says. “So it’s mainly used for branding and hence charged on a CPM basis. Although we’re starting to see a little bit of cost per engagement pricing, I don’t see it as making much of a dent in the vast majority that will be continuing to pay for eyeballs rather than clicks for the foreseeable future.

“Brands have to bear in mind that, although the amount of quality inventory is increasing, they could still expect to pay anything around the £20 to £30 per thousand which obviously seems a lot more expensive than banners but, then again, it’s a more engaging medium through which to interact with an audience.”

future trends 2010/11 predictions

James Nunn
Brand communications manager UK & Ireland, Procter & Gamble UK
“The power of the internet has meant that content is now king. At P&G we’ve found that consumers are becoming increasingly influenced by the presence that brands have in this space and the statements they make online. Online content that’s engaging is a great way to build on traditional, above-the-line campaigns to develop a holistic brand community and reach all our consumers wherever and whenever they are most receptive.”

Ben Walsh
Senior campaign planning manager, Samsung
“In the past it was simply enough to take the TV ad and look for incremental reach where possible. While incremental reach is still a key metric, we understand that the online viewer is better able to engage with Samsung, and more receptive to the opportunity too. They want more. As such, working with our agency Starcom, we have been looking at ways of developing more online-focused video creative and getting involved in more immersive spaces such as gaming.”

Devi Lozdan
Product manager, Artists Network, Global Digital Operations, Sony Music
“A new trend that we are seeing with music videos is a developing relationship with brands. The recent premiere of the new Faithless video for their single Feelin’ Good was an interesting brand association with Fiat called a “promercial” and a novel way to premiere their music video. The promo clip went on UK TV and online on August 15, while the single is only set for release on September 26.”

Simon Wood
Head of ecommerce, Marks & Spencer
“The launch of M&S TV has given us a range of benefits including an average 23% increase in basket size. Now we are extending the remit of M&S TV into new areas. The first such project involves the creation of a proprietary makeover format featuring Myleene Klass. In partnership with Adjust Your Set, we hope to offer an increasingly personal service to customers that is relevant, engaging and building long-term loyalty with the brand.”

David Hilton
Marketing director UK, Sony Ericsson
“We have just completed the second series of Pocket TV – Sony Ericsson’s youth-focused entertainment show. The evolution of digital media has led to people changing the ways they consume video content. Mobile entertainment is at the heart of our products so we’ve made sure people can watch Pocket TV on their mobile as well as online via YouTube and through their TV via PS3. So far close to 10 million people have watched an episode and with this success we are expanding the campaign to broadcast TV, via Channel 4’s programme T4.”top tips you need to knowl Video ads tend to be about ten seconds long to keep a viewer engaged, so keep it short.

Top Tips you need to know

  • TV ads which have been cut down for online use can look stilted, so many brands are now making eight- or ten-second videos specifically for online use.
  • Online is generally small screen so people and text need to be large in the frame.
  • Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, can be a rich ground for seeding viral videos so ensure you offer the ability to post a video once it has been viewed.
  • Ensure your campaign is tracked for how many people view the whole content and how many click through to your site.
  • Make people laugh or give them a “wow” moment and brand awareness and favourability will rise.



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