Since I was dangerously close to having a “dark blog” here, I thought I’d share some recent online-video information that’s worth knowing.
Online-video ad spending continues to grow, with 2017 looking to be passing $9 billion this year (it was $6.8 Billion in 2016). That’s according to recent research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) as reported in “Digital Content NewFronts: Video Ad Spend Study.” Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 358 US agency (47%) and marketing (53%) professionals to inform projections.
The Brightroll data comes from a survey of advertisers about how they’re approaching online video and what their budget plans are for the coming 12 months.
64 percent said they believe that online video advertising is equally or more effective than the ads that show up on TV. That’s a big deal.
Why is online-video rivaling TV? Because 70 percent of Internet users watch video online, meaning scale/reach is now possible.
Most respondents see online video as more effective than both display and social media. That’s notable given the market’s increasing obsession with mobile and social-media ads.
30 percent of respondents said they expect online video to grow faster than any other type of advertising. That’s actually oddly conservative. Remember eMarketer estimates that US online video ad spending will grow by a compound annual rate of 38% in a five-year span ending in 2015, making this by far the fastest-rising category of online spending. Do the other 70% feel otherwise?
Performance metrics continues to confound media buyers. About 70 percent said that they needed a more clear ROI and success metrics to justify increasing spend on online video. And about a third want more info about the impact their online video buys have on offline purchasing. TV has had more time to develop metrics and prove results.
As any new media emerges, there’s a dance between the evangelists and skeptics. We saw it when the web arrived. We saw it at the dawn of display. We saw it with paid search (which the survey suggests is still the favorite of advertisers). Now we’re seeing it with the ongoing debates about the merits to TV and online-video.
But now it’s hard to deny online-video and praise TV has the bedrock of branding. With apologies to Mark Cuban (who is still a skeptic of online-video). It’s time to recognize that both TV and online-video have a powerful role in advertising and marketing, and that’s why most media-buyers are savvy enough to plan, buy and measure TV and online video together (eMarketer).
Remember what Nalts has been saying for many years, kids. Eventually we won’t have terms like “TV” and online-video. We’ll just view video as a channel or media manifestation whether it occurs on a computer, mobile device, HDTV, pad or those new fangled cathode ray tubes.
Call it a subtle scent at this week’s Ad:Tech in NYC… Lots of discussion of online-video, even if not in proportion to online-video’s growing importance to the online-marketing mix. More interesting, however, is that most conversations didn’t use the two words: “you” and “tube.” People talked about contextual targeting, video-advertising networks, and even facial recognition.
Why? How was it that people would only discuss YouTube when I brought it up? And why was all the feedback negative:
They’re not selling inventory well. They’re not even making it easy for us to buy it.
They don’t understand the role of the agency because they’re used to getting money through electronic bids.
YouTube sees agencies as unimportant middlemen between them and THEIR customers
If you don’t have $40 million, they won’t customize things for you.
The “Madison YouTube Snub” wasn’t about the proximity of ads to “consumer generated content,” or about metrics or targeting. It was simply that agency buyers (as haughty as I know they can be) aren’t being treated well.
What YouTube is missing is the “Great Irrationality of Marketing Spending,” something I’ve grown to understand even if I disdain. I’ve seen it closely from all three perspectives: as a content creator, a buyer, and an intermediary. While we direct-response oriented marketers (the ones who track A/B campaigns on Google OCD style) are about results, the vast majority of advertising spending is not rational or performance driven. There. I said it. Try to refute that fact.
I’m not suggesting that media buyers are behaving recklessly or spending without consideration of their client’s money. But I do know that when confronted with a new medium with unclear metrics, they buy based on a) what’s easy, b) what they understand, and c) relationships.
I know how devalued my 4-6 million monthly views on YouTube are, and how the cost-per-view is horrifically low. So this article is a bit biased. But I also know I can’t solve that myself… it’s going to take some improvements in San Bruno. I would typically provide this advise without public fanfare as “not to bite the hand that feeds me.” I wouldn’t have an audience without YouTube. But I owe it to myself and fellow creators to help YouTube solve its biggest problem: poor monetization of traffic.
So here are 7 tips for YouTube to win back the hearts and dollars of Madison Avenue.
Be Nice. You don’t have to contort your business model to fit advertisers, but at least show them love.
Know Your Customer. It’s only partially true that the big brands are your customer, Google. Don’t negate the influence of the agencies on how that spending is partitioned. Even the smartest and well-intentioned marketers defer to media buyers. Marketer have two years to chase ROI and can’t possibly get into the weeds of one medium — much less one property.
Teach Google sales people about YouTube. They simply don’t understand how to sell display advertising, much less video. It’s really quite sad.
Educate. As market leader, it’s Google’s responsibility to set metrics, validate the medium, and educate buyers AND key influencers. Don’t expect logic to prevail, or it will be 2012 and Madison will have jacked up competitors. If I don’t see some ROI studies in 2011 published by YouTube and Forrester, ComScore, TubeMogul, Jupiter, eMarketer, or whoever… I’m going to show up to San Bruno with poop on a stick.
Create an East Coast sales office for YouTube. Do it now. YouTube is floundering in silly pods, and there’s not enough pretty faces greasing agency palms. I resent it too, but it’s how dollars flow.
Decentralize. Agencies do a lot of stupid things, but they know the importance of small. Google is too layered to move in the agile way that’s required of new media, and it’s killing itself.
Get Creative. You don’t need to accept ad units that piss of your viewers, which is a more important stakeholder than advertisers. But explore new options, partner with greater trust, and don’t expect video to be monetized with the simple standards of your cash cow (paid search).
Any other tips? Or are you just gonna hope it takes care of itself?
“Video advertising is still ‘in its diapers’… you gotta remember that most people don’t want to see ads” said eMarketer’s David Hallerman in a webcast last Thursday (October 21, 2010). eMarketer provided highlights from a report (“Video Advertisement Engagement: What Marketers Need to Know”) in the one-hour webinar, and slides are excerpted from that.
Hallerman says online-video is the most expensive form of digital advertising, and skews toward professional content not user-generated. He explores both the definitions and forms of engagement. Per the chart on the right, awareness is still the #1 goal of marketers followed closely by engagement (according to an April 2010 study by Tremor Media of 98 advertisers/agencies).
So what is engagement? Some say it’s paying attention, others refer to interactivity, and still others refer to what happens afterwards.
I’d prefer to focus on what Hallerman calls server based data (a view, start-rate, completion time, mouse-over, sharing) and not survey data (like “brand health” metrics like awareness or intent, reported by Insight Express or Dynamic Logic). However those “brand health” metrics can be vital to determining “intent to buy,” which is often not captured by server metrics (although some cookies provide advertisers data about purchases that occur long after a video view).
Engagement metrics include:
Interactivity (clicking ad or mousing over): Scanscout’s cost-per-engagement. Hallermans says there’s an increasing desire among marketers for interactive pre-rolls.
Sharing or commenting
Interactions, experience (Forbes)
Context is also important… an auto-roll on gaming or entertainment site is not going to be as powerful as a self-directed and completed video on a shopping site. Hallerman reminds us that consumers value HD (above many other factors) and that quality (original versus repurposed) is vital, and that’s an important insight. During the Q&A Hallerman later acknowledged that some studies are showing that repurposed television commercials are faring better than once expected.
eMarketer projects continued growth of the medium as depicted above — reaching at least $5.5 billion by 2014. But when it comes to online-video ad views, all video sites aren’t created equally (comScore, Sept. 30, 2010). The report shows that “ads per viewer” on Hulu is more than seven times higher than Google/YouTube sites. See the rank of video-advertising properties, and Hulu tops followed by Brightcove and Tremor Media (both which serve ads on websites not exclusively devoted to video content). At 30 ads per viewer per month, it’s no wonder Hulu is considering cutting its monthly subscription in half.
Time per month per viewer on YouTube is nearly twice that of Hulu, despite Hulu’s content being generally longer (22 minute shows versus 2-3 minute videos). Hallerman refers to Hulu’s experience as “lean back” because we allow the show “to wash over” us, whereas other sites (YouTube) require a more “lean forward” experience. Marketers, says Hallerman, are looking for what they know from broadcast advertising — pre or mid-rolls played “in stream” during a video’s view.
Marketers choose ad-networks to target online-video ads based on two factors: demographic or content. A beauty ad on Break.com, Hallerman explains, won’t likely get high engagement. As for viral?
“…You don’t just make something go viral,” Hallermans says. “It’s really a whole process that needs a blend of paid, owned and earned.” He provides the recent Old Spice example, which involved paid ads on television and the web, a microsite showing more content, and “earned” media where video answers responded to specific bloggers. He credits the paid ads were the “spark.”
Aside from viral or its own reason, here are what some marketers claim to have accomplished on YouTube. So one in five (20%) say their YouTube videos have driven sales via links. But recognize that the data are not saying that happens twenty percent of the time- it’s usually in the low single digits in my experience.
Branded content (where the marketing is not “heavy handed” and is “almost a bi-product”) is the most effective forms of marketing according to an October 2010 report by the CMO Council. Branded content tops more traditional online advertising models or even database-driven behavioral marketing. Video content, for instance, about dogs with dog-food product placement… may have a greater impact than dog-food ads alone. “Creating an experience,” Hallerman says, “is hard but important.” These can be tracked by brand-equity scores. He provides another example of a hair-care product that might show entertaining or educational fashion tips (focusing on benefits) rather than advertising about the product (features).
During the eMarketer webcast, EyeWonder shared “server side” data that show higher engagement rates for ads in the financial sector, with travel or electronics on the low side of engagements. EyeWonder showed a case study involving Gatorade’s G Series, which featured a 15-second ad that allows customers to see how the beverage helps before, during and after an athletic event. The click-thru rate was a tame .13%, but the a video completion rate was an impressive 62% across all of the impressions.
Hallerman was asked to comment on how to make a video more likely to be viral, but said if he had the answer he’d be working at an agency. Perhaps he just needs a copy of “Beyond Viral.” 🙂
Laurie Sullivan of MediaPost reports that paid-search and video are the “bright spots” of online ad spending according to a recent eMarketer report. “Search and video were the only two media that experienced growth this year, although much less than the prior year,” according to the article.
Two trends to watch according to David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst.
The first is the move toward non-advertising marketing. That is particularly true in the online space, where marketers focus more on social media (so estimates on spending can be misleading because the numbers fail to capture the full extent of the growth in online marketing).
Second, the way we’re using various media impacts ad spending by traditional media losing audience and associated ad dollars, and the social Internet has begun to alter how marketers need to communicate with customers and prospective clients.
Go check out the article in MediaPost for some fun-filled stats that reaffirm that video has power… because it’s a hot portion of the online mix, and has direct impact on a company’s ability to show up on search results (more YouTube videos means a greater chance of placing high on organic results on Google). And if you’re rich enough to buy the $700 eMarketer report, please send me a copy. 🙂
Oh shut up about the stupid recession, you big whiner. I’m sick of hearing about it — and just because it’s an economic depression doesn’t mean we all have to get clinically depressed.
Seriously. You’re beginning to sound like that annoying friend who’s always complaining about health problems… The co-worker or neighbor who doesn’t know that the only right answer to “how are you?” is “fine.”
Yes, online advertising is soft. But here are 10 plus reasons online-video will survive and thrive. Read these because I had to think so hard for some of them that I popped one of my 87 remaining brain cells. The statistics, of course, are 97% made up.
Send these to your boss, customers, clients and peers. Or print them and shove ’em up someone’s profusely pessimistic discard hole. Yeah you heard me.
The audience is rapidly growing and ads work 41% better better if they reach people.
The niche content provides better targeting (than 84% of non targeted spending).
The cost of entry is cheap (unless you piss away $250K on a bunch of “viral video Hail Mary’s” that you post on that micro site… equivalent to a billboard in your basement).
Amateur creators have huge audiences, and are hungry. They’re also really connected with audiences and influential. Your banner ad isn’t as lucky.
I like to eat stamp collections but not collectors.
Video is 93% more visceral and memorable than even rich-media. If I remember your product I’m 29% less likely to forget about it and not buy it.
I was fooling around with features on my YouTube channel, and decided to make my account invisible because I feel like it. That’s a sidebar.
Brands will need recession-proof innovation… instead of interruption ads, they’ll partner with creators who already have huge audiences, and get great deals. Add up the top few dozen YouTube stars and you’ll find they get more daily views than many of the media sites combined. Shoot I get around 100,000 viewers a day and I suck the funny right out of the web.
There is no reason 9 or 13. There’s a 33% chance you won’t notice that because you’re scanning.
Brand leaders will still want to innovate (73% more than the control, which included that fat guy you work with that twitches out about “process” whenever he hears about change). Grant, they will be 41% more selective than this year and 88% than during The Bubble. So dump the stupid unscalable crap (like another useless Facebook widgets and those pitiful Second Life pilots). They’re like the PR people during layoffs. They’ll be first to go.
People still need customers or sales tend to go down by 29% or more.
Because I said so, and I’m a viral video genius. Check Wikipedia if you don’t believe me. There’s a 51% chance you’ve never heard of Wikipedia.
Here are three reasons Beardsell says online video advertising will come out ahead during an economic downturn. Parenthetically, search “recession” on Google Trends to see how freaked people are getting.
No Longer Experimental. Past economic crises often led CMOs to cut back on experimental advertising, and they rely on the skills and responsibilities they’ve traditionally relied upon… as Keith Bobier, senior director of marketing at Unilever, put it: “We are not pulling in the reigns at all…there is nothing experimental about this for us.” In fact, during financial struggles, aren’t the customer-centric things exactly what brands and their customers need most?
Possible, Affordable Optimization: If you’re a marketing executive given the option to either make two new TV spots for the year… or create several video brand content experiences throughout the year that can guarantee measurable, detailed, optimized results and build engagement with your customer, which option would you choose? You get less for more when it comes to TV spots.
Less Buying, More Conversation: While there may be a lot less money to spend when money is tight, that doesn’t necessarily mean people will spend less time engaging with your brand. In fact, frugal spending often means longer hours researching products and discussing those products with trusted friends and family. And with research and conversations now happening predominately online, brands more than ever have the opportunity to join these discussions and help customers make smart purchasing decisions.
I’d add two things. When I tighten my marketing budget, I tend to focus on squeezing down the largest spend, and not starve innovation. So as long as online-video ads provide metrics (see Daisy Whitney’s article on TubeMogul and Visible Measures) then they’re not going to be the first part of the mix that’s cut.
The biggest mystery of YouTube partners (those who share in advertising revenue generated by their videos) is yet unsolved. My post about Sxephil’s reaction generated a lot of discussion, but there’s still a big unanswered question….
Are the YouTube ads missing because advertisers aren’t buying? Or is there a technical glitch prohibiting them?
Either option is sad news. If YouTube can let its only revenue-producing functionality die, then that doesn’t speak well for the company’s priorities. If advertising inventory is low on the world’s biggest online-video site, that’s a sad statement about the economy or marketer’s recognition of online video.
No e-mails from YouTube. Nothing on the blog. Lots of YouTube partners seeing no Invideo ads, and wondering if they should hold their videos until something improves.
Often our burning questions about a YouTube matters go unanswered because the answer would perhaps create greater scrutiny to the question. However I like the proactive and transparent approach… “Hey guys, we have a problem, and here’s what we’re doing to solve it and prevent it in the future.”
In the meantime you viewers can enjoy your videos without interruption and know that we creators will start holding onto our day jobs a big tighter.
And I’m totally bumming because I finally got Spencer (the Farting in Public kid) back in action yesterday night with “Will You Be My Prom Date?” and it’s currently the #4 highest-rated video of the day. And the recent “Cool Fish!” was seen more than 30,000 times in the past couple days but doesn’t appear to be making money for me or YouTube.