It's interesting that the only conversation about online video – at least in the marketing community – seems to center around online video advertising. A recent TechCrunch article called it “a frenzy of growth” quoting the CEO of an online video advertising network. They are seeing “TV dollars pour in” as he put it.
A couple of interesting points to all of this:
1. The growth in percent is double digit, but it’s off a very low base. The dollars pouring in, at least according to the eMarketer forecasts in the same article, will not even eclipse banner advertising (the web’s equivalent of print) in the next 4 years. And search? They don’t project it to be less than half the size of search – the web’s defacto ad unit.
2. All of the conversation seems to be about porting TV dollars into the web. This is fine because it is a much more measurable and targeted medium. But why are we porting the same interruption strategy and tactics along with it? Putting your ads into the rim of the page, or worse yet, as pre/mid/post-roll on the page is only going to interrupt a “leaning forward” audience way more than it does the “lean back” TV audience.
3. The Ad dollars ARE going to go to one of the Top 10 Networks. That’s because the dollar scale is so much smaller on the web than it is on TV. It is easy to eat up a $10MM budget on TV advertising, but that is a fortune to spend online. This means that companies insisting on the same old strategy (i.e. TV advertising) they are going to find limited inventories and crowding at the top 2 or 3 ad networks, and a lack of scale on the rest.
There is a better way.
People are actively searching for content online, and much of the content they are consuming is video. Even with growth of broadband slowing recently, it is still in two thirds of US homes, and with 3g and now 4g mobile expansion will see video continue to grow. But we need to create videos that people are searching for, and we need to get them to the sites that deliver quality content.
Content lives in the center of the page, and content is the information that I am searching for. And people are not searching for ads. Okay, they are looking for funny ads or SuperBowl ads, but these little snacks are not considered content. It’s just something to make a friend smile.
Technologies like AdMuncher are springing up to help me avoid advertising. The computer’s ability to rid my content of ads is much greater than my TV’s. Pop-up blockers are standard on all modern web browsers now.
When brands start creating content about the categories where they have expertise, then we’ll see a real frenzy of activity. But those TV dollars won’t go to the ad networks because there are hundreds of thousands of publishers with audiences looking for great video content. They are just waiting for someone to give it to them.