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Weighing the Case for Long-Tail Video Marketing

  |  October 14, 2008   |  Comments

When does it make sense for a marketer to go with niche video outlets rather than stick with the mainstream?

The spectrum of online video outlets is fragmented. Marketers have two broad options to seed their content: go with the big players, like YouTube, or take a long-tail approach by going with smaller, concentrated viewer bases.

In most cases, advertisers select the big players, figuring that's where online users go to watch video content. No one can deny the power of large video distributors, and they certainly reach more than their fair share of online viewers.

But are more users necessarily better?

The Internet allows advertisers to accurately target users in relevant ways. When executing video campaigns, long-tail aggregators provide advertisers with an opportunity to do just that. As the larger video forums are still working to improve their advertising monetization strategies, marketers might be well-served to pay additional attention to long-tail aggregators.

They Are Everywhere

Popping up are more specialized video sites that span a wide spectrum of industries, topics, and affinities. Fans of extreme sports, cooking, how-to projects, wine, and pets all have access to dedicated Web channels where they can watch and share content. These segments only scratch the surface of niche video outlets that advertisers can choose from when crafting their media campaigns.

Tapping into these aggregators allows advertisers to speak directly to consumers in a way larger channels cannot replicate. Advertising on dedicated, specialized sites allows advertisers to fine-tune their messaging and offer users a message that will resonate with them. Users who are visiting these niche online destinations are also likely to be further down your purchasing funnel, so why not fish where the fish are?

Long Tail Pros and Cons

Long-tail aggregators offer marketers distinct opportunities that larger outlets can't afford. Most important is access to a hyper-targeted group of users.

With more generic channels, it's more likely that users could inadvertently stumble upon advertisements and subsequently dismiss them; however, these forums also work to an advertiser's advantages by placing advertisements in front of a wider audience and creating brand awareness among a new group of potential consumers. Additionally, if marketers are on a quest to stimulate hundreds of thousands of views, larger aggregators would be the obvious choice to achieve this viral status.

Mobile Marketing as a Long-Tail Option

Mobile is not technically a long-tail video outlet, but its subscribers are definitely a subset of the video-watching public with unique demographic characteristics that can be targeted. Usage rates are still trailing online and in traditional broadcast outlets, but according to a Nielsen report released in May, mobile subscribers watch 3 hours and 15 minutes of video per month. If it pertains to a campaign, marketers can look to this format as another way to engage consumers. Newer media like mobile also help marketers set themselves apart from their competition by being among the first to incorporate this into their advertising mix.

Finding the Middle Path

There will always be a tradeoff between going mainstream or targeting niche outlets. With the former there's the promise of more views and impressions. But when compared to their specialized counterpoints, one can argue that impressions generated from mass outlets are not qualified. Most are advocating for a blend of the two -- which I agree with. Reaching niche audiences is undoubtedly a plus, but growing one's consumer base should not be obscured by an ability to reach highly targeted users. Ultimately, marketers have access to the best of both worlds and should take both into account when developing a video campaign; this way the glory of YouTube and the power of targeting can be attained.

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Andreas Roell

Andreas Roell is president and CEO of Geary Interactive. Roell cofounded Geary Interactive in 2000 and has built a successful enterprise with 50 employees, specializing in site design, online media planning and buying, search engine marketing, data analytics, and e-mail marketing. Leading the long-term corporate planning, Roell's strategic vision and leadership has organically grown Geary Interactive into one of the nation's largest independent digital marketing agencies.

An online advertising veteran for over 12 years, Roell was a cofounder and chief Web strategist for Prime Player, the Internet's first portal for sports participation. He earned his MBA from the University of San Diego, graduating magna cum laude. He earned a bachelor's degree in international business from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which recruited the professional soccer player from his native Karlsruhe, Germany, to play for the UNLV Rebels.

Roell sits on Interactive Advertising Bureau's online lead generation board and is a frequent industry expert with such media outlets as Fox News and NBC. He's an active angel investor and frequently functions as advisor to early-stage technology companies. He is president of the San Diego Advertising Federation and was named one of San Diego's Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40.

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