Fishing for Streamies

Arbitron Webcast Services and Edison Media Research conduct surveys just about every year to probe American Internet usage, Webcast activity and interest, and device usage. This study identified a new group of consumers, dubbed “streamies.” They are Internet users who consume audio or video Webcasts. They represent a tremendously active group of Internet consumers far more likely to click on advertising and purchase products online.

It comes as no surprise that the study found a strong interest among streamies in any new technology online. Findings also indicate consuming streaming media is not that easy. Many users try to access online video and audio unsuccessfully.

As a media planner/buyer, I’ve purchased Webcasts for various client campaigns. I was surprised to find I represent only a tiny percentage of advertisers. As I’ve mentioned in past articles, my cardinal planning rule is to always have messages/ads geared toward the lowest common denominator. It’s critical to know not only the demographics and psychographics of your target audience but also the technographics. How long has this group of individuals been online? How savvy is it? Do you know their modem speed? Do they go online from home or work?

Don’t worry. Often, you won’t know this going into a campaign. Make some assumptions. Try this scenario: Your team is interested in “rich” creative/content/advertising. However, you don’t know how receptive the audience will be to this form of advertising. Go back to basics and study what you do know about this group. Maybe they access the Web at home and at work. It’s safe to assume they have a faster connection at work. Perhaps you can assemble a plan whereby you place third-party ad serving filters on the back end to serve up impressions by daypart. In this instance, while users are at work.

What’s the message and format you want to get in front of these consumers? Is it an interactive game? Be careful! If this group accesses and views your game at work, people may not be able to see/hear/play without the boss showing them the door. Maybe you represent a software company that created a Webcast in lieu of a tradeshow. It features the CTO providing an in-depth overview of the software’s functionality and usability. In this case, there’s a fit.

Many sales reps have an array of information at their fingertips regarding viewership and acceptance of such ads. Use their knowledge. They’re there to help. If response rates and interactivity within the ad units worry you, create some sort of test to measure these factors. Spin it to the client as a test, but be sensitive to your reps. Establish clear guidelines and parameters that illustrate your goals. Put together a concrete timeframe that allows for a proper sample of impressions against your target audience. Work with the rep to define “effectiveness.”

Once you’ve done all this, run your test. After the rep and you have reviewed the data, review it with your client. It should be easy to determine if it worked. If so, replicate the test by lengthening timeframe and impressions. You may find other indicators you want to track or optimize. For instance, you may want this ad up for only a work week, then switch creative. Or maybe you’d like to use the rep’s judgment to get the most mileage out of the campaign. You may even be able to negotiate that the creative can now (or later) run on your client’s site.

I’m confident technology is moving to our advantage. Users want more, crave more. They want to tap into every online resource. As technology improves, users will have more freedom. When users have more freedom, marketers and advertisers need to bolster creativity.

Bring on the streamies!

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