Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Best Online Video Advertising is None


eMarketer reports that online video viewership has never been higher, and marketers are eager to reach that audience. However, video viewers apparently dislike advertising. Perhaps marketers should forget about legacy mass-market approaches to viewer engagement, and instead accept that online video isn't at all like traditional TV.

"The audience perspective will also shift as marketers increasingly implement two key concepts," said David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst. "It will mean making the length of video ads suitable to the length of content, so that they are not too pushy, and devoting resources to develop high-quality video creative that is well-targeted to the intended online audience."

Marketers still generally shun user-generated video, but the proliferation of short professional content gives them more opportunities for video advertising. Choosing an appropriate amount of advertising for the content and its audience will be key, according to the eMarketer assessment.

"The Internet and TV audience are not one and the same," said Mr. Hallerman. "The Internet audience does not necessarily respond to the same ads in the same way they would after viewing them on TV."

For example, younger people are more comfortable than their older counterparts with online media, which can lead to higher levels of engagement. A drill-down look from Nielsen Online shows that audiences ages 30 and younger are more likely than older viewers to find online video advertising funny, emotionally touching and informative.

Further, there is still about a three-to-one split on whether viewers would prefer to see ads or pay to watch ad-free online videos.

Mr. Hallerman suggests content providers would be wise to consider a hybrid model, much like cable TV, where subscription fees support content with fewer ads. But, I'm not convinced that even this approach is a viable solution to the known problem.

Given the reality, why attempt to force people to watch advertising at all? Why not simply create engaging video content that features a product or service, and thereby offer something of meaningful value to people?