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Online Video Advertising FAQ

  |  September 22, 2009   |  Comments

What media planners want to know about online video advertising.

What's the state of online video advertising as we enter Q4 2009? Last year around this time, some bemoaned that, as a consequence of the economic crisis, experimental budgets for online video advertising were gone. Ad rates all over, including those for online video, fell as much as 25 percent and many of us held our breath to see how our clients' budgets would be affected.

Suddenly, though, a slew of good news about online video advertising came out last month:

  • EMarketer forecasted growth, albeit small, for online video advertising, predicting that by 2013 it will account for 11 percent of all online ad spending.

  • BrightRoll, one of the largest online video ad networks, reported Q2 revenue up 217 percent over Q1, and both request for proposals (RFPs) and RFP dollar volume are up (74 percent and 45 percent, respectively).

  • ComScore reported that the U.S. online video market "soared" in July, with 81 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewing online video (with TV on summer hiatus, did viewers turn to the Internet for fresh content?). Premium online video content site, Hulu, reached an all-time high with 457 million video views.

Even our intrepid executive editor, Anna Maria Virzi, wrote recently about this resurgence, so perhaps it's time to gear up your online video advertising know-how and determine the right questions to ask.

What are the online video ad standards, and have publishers accepted them? How can I avoid needing to have multiple versions of the same video ad just to accommodate different specifications?

The IAB has laid out Digital Video Guidance standards, though reformatting, recoding, or resizing of video ads is still a common and problematic occurrence due to lack of adopted standards. Brands used to television advertising yearn for widespread adoption like the 30-second commercial.

How will the viewer see my ad?

Though standard video ads exist, some solutions still provide custom ad deliveries, like ad-sponsored player skins or display ads embedded around or within the player.

What kind of targeting is available?

Much like with other online ad buying, targeting capabilities vary among networks and publishers, but they do exist. Find out how the targeting is determined and delivered, however.

How much control and transparency do I have over where my ad will appear?

If you're planning on using a network or large publisher or portal, this question is even more important, particularly for advertisers who have restrictions around what kind of content their ads can appear.

How can I limit competition?

Just because I can buy, for example, the pre-roll ad placement, how do I know I'm not exposing my advertiser to a competitor's ad around, nearby, within, or after it?

Can I see past performance metrics?

Recognizing that ad creative has a lot to do with performance, it's still helpful to see performance metrics for your site or network when comparing it to others.

What kind of rates should I expect to pay? How much do they vary among those providing online advertising opportunities? What kinds of cost structures will I encounter?

I won't speak to rates, but in addition to CPM (define) pricing, increasingly more providers have rolled out or are rolling out performance-based pricing, like cost per engagement or cost per completed view.

How will our online ad reporting have to change to accommodate online video metrics? How do we show ad effectiveness as compared to our other online ad buys?

It's true that online video metrics will be different than other typical online ad buys. To some extent, online video engagement is closer to measuring social media marketing than typical online advertising. You may want to segment your reporting accordingly, rather than trying to draw direct comparisons.

Besides YouTube, where else can I go to locate online video advertising opportunities?

Most of the major publishers and ad networks now have online video ad offerings. Based on potential reach of unique U.S. viewers, comScore ranked the following as top video ad networks:

Along the way, you might want to check out these companies also providing online video advertising solutions:

With talk of the recession lifting, more advertisers will likely be asking about online video ad placements. The time to get educated on the topic is now.

Online video is the fastest-growing medium in history and is becoming an increasingly important weapon in the best marketers' arsenals. How are savvy marketers making online video work for them? Join us on Friday, September 28, 2009, at 2 p.m., for a free Webinar to learn how to make video an effective part of your next campaign.

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Hollis Thomases

A highly driven subject matter expert with a thirst for knowledge, an unbridled sense of curiosity, and a passion to deliver unbiased, simplified information and advice so businesses can make better decisions about how to spend their dollars and resources, multiple award-winning entrepreneur Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is a sole practitioner and digital ad/marketing "gatekeeper." Her 16 years working in, analyzing, and writing about the digital industry make Hollis uniquely qualified to navigate the fast-changing digital landscape. Her client experience includes such verticals as Travel/Tourism/Destination Marketing, Retail & Consumer Brands, Health & Wellness, Hi-Tech, and Higher Education. In 1998, Hollis Thomases founded her first company, Web Ad.vantage, a provider of strategic digital marketing and advertising service solutions for such companies as Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, and Visit Baltimore. Hollis has been an regular expert columnist with Inc.com, and ClickZ and authored the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, published by John Wiley & Sons. Hollis also frequently speaks at industry conferences and association events.

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