Measuring Online Video Ads

Online video advertising has been making the news lately as marketers shift budgets away from TV. According to eMarketer, the online video advertising market will reach $385 million in 2006 and surpass $1 billion by 2008. Online video’s importance is underlined by its increased presence in this year’s TV upfront. According to MSN ‘s Todd Herman, 80 percent of their online-video-related revenue came from the upfront, and included 60 of the top 100 U.S. advertisers.

Though TV may reach a broader audience quicker, online video advertising reaches an audience that’s easily targeted and difficult to reach via TV. Unlike TV, online video advertising delivers consumer interaction and engagement in a contextually relevant environment that’s measurable.

Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms 2004-2005 data showed online video ads raised brand and persuasion metrics at a statistically significant 90 percent confidence level; specifically, aided brand awareness had an 8 percent lift, message association 38 percent, brand favorability 6 percent, and purchase intent 7 percent.

If you’re considering adding online video to your marketing mix, here are some things to consider to maximize combining video’s impact with online’s measurability and targeting capabilities.

Online Video and Related Advertising Options

Although there are a variety of formats, the most popular online video advertising formats are pre-roll and in-page advertising. Among the online video advertising options are:

  • Pre-roll, or in-stream, ads. Often contextually relevant, these ads appear before video content that consumers have selected to view. From a consumer’s perspective, however, having an ad start playing or being forced to view one can be annoying. Though few sites allow viewers to skip pre-roll ads, Eyeblaster found 75 percent of users watched at least 22 seconds of a :30 ad before a video game.

  • In-page, or rich media, advertising. These are rich media or video ad units that are independent of online video sites. According to Klipmart’s Chris Wilson, most users view over 21 seconds of a :30 ad.
  • Sponsorships. Sponsorships can be implemented in a number of ways, including a voiceover at the beginning and end of the clip, a logo superimposed throughout the video, integrated content or advertorial, or use of a branded media player.
  • Integrated content or product placement. Publishers and marketers develop content in which a product is highlighted.
  • Viral content. Ads or microsites feature videos created to encourage users to forward to friends.
  • Company-centric video. The content engages users in a way that gives the company a human face, supports product usage, or provides customer service.

Maximizing Online Video’s Impact

The most effective online video executions are created specifically for the Web rather than repurposed from TV or elsewhere. For the most consistent, cost-effective online video executions, plan and develop your online campaigns in conjunction with those for TV and other offline media.

Increase your online video advertising results by adding the following functionality:

  • Allow for a variety of media players. This should be seamless for users.

  • Incorporate or utilize adjacent ad units to extend the experience and encourage users to interact with an ad after it has played.
  • Encourage interaction by adding newer features that allow users to customize their experience. Examples include hot spotting, which allows users to click on various parts of the ad or video; XML streaming for data; user information collection; and product purchase.
  • Add viral functionality such as forward-to-a-friend email, IM to a friend, text a friend, and download to video iPod to encourage passalong. Consider the digital rights management implications.

Extending Online Video’s Reach

Expand your online video campaign’s reach by integrating it into a broader marketing plan. Suggested tactics include:

  • Cross-promote video using your existing marketing, including your Web site and marketing email.

  • Place a video ad or content on your company site or a microsite to augment viewing.
  • Include associated text and tags to make video content search-engine friendly, since many search engines can’t translate video.
  • Consider RSS (define) related distribution if your content has a following.
  • Integrate with use of other media. Avenue A’s Patrick Moorehead points out the ability to use online video advertising to test creative against strategic audiences for offline TV advertising.

Assessing Online Video’s Results

Since online video and related advertising are still evolving, so are the related metrics.’s Andrew Pancer cautions online video advertising is an emerging model that’s different from TV and requires analytics that make it easy for advertisers to measure results across platforms consistently:

  • Views. Measure the number of times a video or ad has been seen. Also, track repeat views. Unlike TV, where viewers may leave the room, online video is hard to walk out on.

  • Time spent. Monitor how much of an ad was viewed, as well as time spent on your ad or site, and interactions with the video and unit.
  • Clicks. Track which features users clicked on as well as subsequent actions they took, such as downloads or information submission.
  • Branding metrics. Use branding surveys to assess changes in consumer attitudes.
  • Viral quality. Measure how many users forwarded and downloaded your ad. If it creates sufficient buzz, monitor its impact with tools like Nielsen BuzzMetrics.

As online video and related advertising change, online marketers and publishers must consider ways to apply metrics across platforms so major advertisers understand the advantages and tradeoffs of using different media formats. That said, it’s imperative online video advertising metrics take into consideration the basics: reach, audience, and targeting. They should also track content, behavior, daypart, interactivity, and engagement. This enhanced level of measurability shouldn’t be used to hold interactive marketing to standards beyond those of other media but should be considered an enhancement.

Join us for our Online Video Advertising Forum in New York City, June 16, 2006.

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