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Online Video Ads In 2011: More Viral, More Creative And At The $1B Mark
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Online Video Ads in 2011: More Viral, More Creative and at the $1B Mark
Video will be one of the leading drivers of online ad growth, according to eMarketer, which is projecting a 10.5% increase in US online ad spending for 2011, followed by double-digit growth every year through 2014 when spending will reach $40.5 billion. At the same time, as an advertising vehicle it is growing in effectiveness. Video advertising, both display and pre-roll, leads to purchase intent for 1.4% of all viewers that saw an ad, a number that’s grown for three consecutive quarters and is more effective than other mediums, according to a recent study from TubeMogul. (via MarketingCharts).
Not surprisingly, given these trends, marketers will devote more resources, attention and time to online video campaigns. Based on how 2010 shaped up, the following is what we can expect in this space.
Viral Becomes a Science
The most-viewed campaign online starred nonentity Tom Dickson, an unknown chief executive of Blendtec, according to data from Visible Measures (via the New York Times). Dickson is famous now thanks to his spots in which he would grind a variety of objects in the Blendtec blender. As it happened, only two of the most-watched ads in 2010 starred celebrities - specifically sports figures. Other campaigns averaged 6.5 million views a year, compared with 3.5 million in which celebrities starred.
Matt Cutler, the chief marketing officer at Visible Measures explains it this way to the Times: "Viral breakout hits capture users’ imagination, and it seems to be more likely in the absence of a major celebrity, perhaps because celebrities are already so understood and well known." Or possibly viewers just like the Blendtec video of Dickson grinding to dust an iPhone. Either way, count on the ad industry dissecting, studying and theorizing on why some online video ads and spots resonate with consumers, and why others don’t.
One example of this is YouTube Trends - an algorithmically-generated feed similar to Google Trends and Twitter Trends that identifies viral content people are sharing. Google launched it in December of 2010 after observing that there are 35 hours of video posted to YouTube every minute. - or 2,100 hours uploaded every 60 minutes, or 50,400 hours uploaded every day.
It will Become Apparent People Really Aren’t Ditching their TVs for Mobile
Hulu is reportedly developing a new type of show in which it recaps TV viewing of the day in short five-minute, exclusive clips - original content that is said to be akin to a news or entertainment broadcast. The show will run on Hulu exclusively, reports Fast Company, which describes it as "a quick and humorous survey of the past 24 hours of media and pop culture," hosted by two "know-it-all but relatable" pop culture personalities.
Fast Company heralds the development as the end of television as we know it. The site already offers TV on demand, but if it is now commissioning original shows of its own, it could start to pull in an entirely new fan base, it said. For marketers, this will mean even more inventory - and likely, eyeballs - to advertise against.
Or maybe not. At the end of 2010, Forrester reported that for the first time ever the average time US consumers say they spend online is the same that they report spending watching TV. It added, however, this important caveat - the growth in online viewing hasn’t come as a result of a drastic decrease in the time consumers are spending with their TVs. Rather, people are eking out more time to spend online in the daily lives. Yahoo calls such viewing behavior dayparts for the mobile environment, with mobile devices having time-shifted the first impression of the day by a couple of hours. Instead of logging on at 9 am at work people check their mobile phones at 6 am when they wake up for their email and a daily dose of the news.
In short, people are not abandoning the big screen – they are just becoming savvier in dividing their time between online and television, Forbes writes.
More Ad Models Will Develop ….
With these eyeballs come advertisers - and ever more creative ways for the latter to engage the former. YouTube debuted its TrueView ad format in December 2010. It lets users skip ads they don't want to see - and only charges advertisers when the viewer has actually watched the ad. The product is launching with a countdown button lets users skip the ad after it plays for five seconds - TrueView Video Ads - InStream. Later, in some cases, advertisers can offer viewers a choice of three pre-roll options to watch.
Google says early results suggest view-through rates of 20-70%. According to one early advertiser, GoPro, which makes and sells the HD HERO line of wearable, gear-mountable HD cameras, it has seen a 40% view-through rate. Robert Wray, director of technology in Governor Martin O’Malley's re-election campaign in Maryland, says the campaign achieved a 45% view-through rate with TrueView ads. The format also has geo-targeting capabilities, which allowed some politicians to deploy it on a county-by-county basis in the midcycle elections this year.
….But Technology Won’t Always Keep Up
Late 2010 also saw the promotion for Ubisoft's "Just Dance 2," a dance-off in Times Square, which used live video in a banner ad (via AdAge). It is an intriguing notion - but one that is also met with reluctance on the part of marketers as the technology to make live streaming video and video ads such as Ubisoft’s Dance Off feasible can be tricky. YouTube has only just begun offering live streaming trials with Next New Networks, Howcast, Rocketboom and others, AdAge noted.
$1 Billion and Then Counting
With all this activity, 2011 is likely to be a milestone of sorts for the online video ad industry when one of the major players reaches $1 billion in ad revenues. It is doable: Hulu announced $240 million for 2010, notes Mediapost.
Getting to that point, however, will take more than organic growth. The successful company - Mediapost is betting it will be Google, Facebook and then Yahoo in that order - will have to own and operate a large destination property, control a network of inventory off of the owned properties, operate a media-buying platform to scale the number of advertisers and clients and have global reach.