Media professionals place an incredible amount of value on online video. Not only are more brands using it overall, but they're using it in smarter, more strategic ways. While pre-roll and in-stream advertising continues to be popular among agency marketers (eMarketer has found that more than 92 percent of marketing executives use them), more than 70 percent of those surveyed report using branded video content on owned media properties, too. Forty-four percent said they use native advertising, while 41 percent invest in video banners.
We're not yet halfway through 2013, and already we're seeing some exciting developments in online video advertising that promise to deliver a better online video marketing experience for brands and consumers alike. What's new, and what's coming next, might surprise you.
This was the fourth year that IMG Fashion, which produces events like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, partnered with video distribution company Rightster to offer consumers a live video stream. Video of the shows, which took place earlier this month, were syndicated to multiple designer websites, including e-commerce platform JASU.com - and here's where things got interesting. In addition to watching live video of the shows, consumers were able to pre-order the items they saw from the 2013-2014 collections, which won't be available in stores for months.
To date only 10 to 15 percent of online video ads are interactive, according to online video ad platform BrightRoll, Inc.; the rest are simply repurposed TV spots. Still, brands are finding ways to engage consumers as JASU and Rightster did: by using video content to incite an immediate consumer response. Expect to see more of this, as all five of the IAB's new Digital Video Rising Stars ad units include some element of interactivity. By allowing users to pause a video in order to engage with additional product content, or extend the video footage they were given by default, advertisers can turn a stream or video ad into a deep and full interactive experience.
Social Media Analytics
According to comScore, consumers share more than 700 YouTube videos on Twitter every minute. In any given day they also share more than four billion items on Facebook. For brands tasked with tracking interest in their online videos - and eager to see how they stack up against competitors - the sheer volume of online shares is staggering.
To ensure that their viral videos are being seen, brands like Volkswagen and Adidas are partnering with video technology company Unruly, which earlier this month launched a real-time analytics dashboard designed to help advertisers measure the "social impact" of their online videos. The technology tracks the impact of branded video content across paid, owned, and earned media sites, so that marketers can gauge interest in their video content and compare their buzz to that of their competitors.
Competitive analysis, historical and real-time analysis, and data visualization are among the solution's offerings. "Brands can now bridge the gap between data and pulling actionable insights on their video campaigns," the company says. So when ads rank on viral video charts like this one, brands will know just how they got there.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whether that holds water or not, we're certainly seeing a lot of it online. Brands are spoofing TV spots (see Pepsi's Funny or Die parody of the "Coke Chase" Super Bowl spot), as well as branded content (New Feelings Time Comedy's male version of Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches"). Last month Carlsberg U.K. brand Somersby Cider parodied an Apple TV spot with a TV spot of its own. It quickly became a viral hit online.
The Somersby ad has received upwards of 1.4 million YouTube views. Pepsi's parody, meanwhile, helped it generate 500,000 more online video views than Coke. In both cases the objective was to tap into a cultural hotspot: to build off the excitement surrounding existing content and big-name brands, and redirect some of that attention to a message of their own. Given the nebulous nature of viral content - nobody knows for sure what makes it take off - piggybacking on a winning idea already making the rounds is a smart approach. The ease of use and speed afforded by digital video technology makes it relatively easy to produce a viral parody and capitalize on growing buzz before it starts to fizzle.
Among digital media's many tributaries, online video remains one of the most flexible and apt to evolve. It hasn't reached its full potential yet - but these trends are nudging it ever closer.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.
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