Are You in the Online Video 15 Percent?

Last year about 4% of us watched online video for more than 6 hours a week. In fact most of us microbinged in minutes at a time.

Now according to TVGuide, 15 percent of respondents saying they watch more than six hours of online video a week. Last year, that number was still at four percent. Sixty-two percent of all respondents said they watch more online video than just a year ago.

Advertising Specialist Burst Media‘s data is more bullish. The Burst Media Online Insights survey (PDF) has the number of people who tune in online for more than six hours a week at close to 30 percent. Almost three percent even profess watching more than 24 hours of online video per week.

So… are you in the 15 percent?

And what are we consuming? Check out this quote from Matt Wasserlauf, Executive VP, Video Platform & Services, at Specific Mediaduring an interview with Beet.TV at the recent OMMA Video conference:

“I see digital video the same way you might look at cable in the early ’80s. Lots of stations, lot of channels with nothing on,” he said.

Are Video Preroll Ads on Rise or Decline?

Yes. Video prerolls are both growing and declining. The good news for viewers is that we saw fewer prerolls. But we saw more “polite prerolls” (option to escape) in Q1 2011 as reported by AdoTube/eMarketer. Since this doesn’t include YouTube data and presumably a small sample of total online-video ad streams it does need to be taken with a grain of (Morton’s: when it rains it pours!) salt.

Viewers will appreciate fewer prerolls (as reported by AdoTube), and advertisers will enjoy more "engagement" models
This "Right Guard" ad begs for engagement. Did you notice the "close" button?

Forget prerolls, friends. The increasingly competitive ad networks have a whole sleuth of weapons in their online-video ad formats that range from the innocuous “polite pre-roll,” to a bit more ominous names like in-stream takeover, ad selector, in-stream skin, inside-out roll, interactive overlay, video-in-video, interactive gaming overlay, data entry and capture, branded player, over the top, and beyond stream. I believe that Seroquel example, placing a “reminder” ad without “fair balance” adjacent to depression content is (shhh) a violation of FDA guidelines, but I digress. ANY of these ad-format names beats the “fat boy” branded by Point Roll.

Take a look at some of the bold “engagement” formats presented in AdoTube’s ad-format gallery and you’ll see why viewers are, according to eMarketer, about 30% likely to engage in an ad… even when not forced (hence the term “polite”). You’ll also see that it’s often not clear there’s an opt-out available.

The eMarketer report, titled “Options for Online Video Ad Viewers Leads to Higher Engagement” is encouraging. With online video being one of the leading (if not #1) fastest-growing portion of a marketer’s “media mix,” advertisers will want and expect formats that achieve their goals: from branding to engagement. This chart is important to viewers because it shows that “cost per impression” remains the dominant percent of spending. In “cost per impression” (often called CPM, or cost-per-thousand), the advertiser simply pays a few bucks to reach 1,000 eyeballs without much accountability.

"Cost per impression" still leads, but more interactive "engagement" ad formats are increasing (Brightroll Data)

While few of us welcome more aggressive online-ads, this also substantiates a business model to fuel the medium’s growth. While it’s easy to complain about intrusive ads (especially as the pendulum seemed to swing dangerously to the advertiser’s benefit in the past year), it’s a vital element to online-video’s maturity. If the advertisers don’t get what they need, friends, we won’t be seeing our content for free.

There are three ways to increase “engagements” in this online-video advertising medium, and I’ll list them from best to worst in order of sustainability: novelty, creative and targeting:

  1. Novelty: A new ad format generally enjoys a period of high engagement that’s deceptively high. We’re curious about what the ad does, and may not realize we’re engaging, so it’s not necessarily suggestive of purchase intent. In early February, a debut YouTube customer of YouTube’s “skip this ad in x second” preroll told ClickZ he was seeing a 30% engagement rate. That’s far higher than we’ll see as a norm, and a tribute to the novelty effect.
  2. Creative: Great creative always wins, and this is a fairly enduring trait. While overall engagement might slip when we’re “numb” to an ad format (like monkey-shooting banner ads, or even the “InVid” format that creeps up on YouTube… the best creative wins the best attention, engagement and results.
  3. Targeting: Ultimately the most sustainable and important characteristic of a high-engagement online-video ad is its ability to reach the right target. I can engage in a tampon ad, but it’s not going to sell more maxi’s. But if I get a rich-media ad over (or adjacent) to my valued content, then we’ve got a win-win-win (advertiser, publisher, viewer). That’s where we can expect Google/YouTube to be better in the long haul, but it appears the sophisticated advertiser networks are ahead. These ad networks marry data from a variety of sources to serve ads invisibly on the videos across a variety of websites.

So what are the takeaways to advertisers, video sites and us viewers?

  • First, the options available to advertisers means that online-video ads will begin to get as aggressive as other forms of interactive ads. This has positive and negative effects, but as long as it’s targeted it’s sustainable.
  • YouTube, which reports very little about its ad performance, has not radically departed from its debut formats, with the exception of breaking its early commitment to make pre-rolls optional. Now most pre-rolls are mandatory, but we can opt-out of some after a few seconds (at which point the “opt-out” means the advertiser pays YouTube and the creator less).
  • Ads are a vital cost-offset for those of us that have been enjoying free video content for 5 years and would like that to continue without avoid pesky Hulu-like subscription models (unless a “value ad” bonus to the cable contract, assuming we haven’t “cut chord.”).
  • And finally, Morton’s salt can be trusted. Trusted I say.

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Funny Conference

So I’m sitting at Starbucks at 3, and I’ll be on stage in about 33 minutes. My presentation looks perhaps like a hotdog long before it takes that edible, if somewhat phallic, shape. Despite my morning’s panic attack, missing a flight and driving the 7 hours to Boston, I manage to catch YouTube Hall-of-Famer Michael Buckley as I pass his town. Sadly he has “a doctor’s appointment” that precludes a quick spanking or whatever YouTubers do when they meet.

It’s 3:03 as I reorder slides, fundamentally changing my entire presentation (shown below on Slideshare) I can’t help but get distracted by two nervous looking band members who appear to be meeting a new digital marketer consultant. “Our last guy, um, got really busy with school,” says Shaggy (his real name is being withheld because I don’t know it). The consultant begins to LAY IT ON THICK. Total bullshit, coated with a thick creamy topping of arrogance and a faux-pedantic snobbery crowning it all like an overly marinated cherry on top.

The topic of viral video comes up, and my face begins to literally contort as I hear the crap this guy’s advising. I couldn’t control my face. I could see some gal looking at me, and then over at them… making the connection. But I can’t help myself. When Shaggy says “I’m not willing to lose my integrity to get 3 million views on YouTube,” I think seriously about coming to his rescue. But something about this consultant strikes me as odd and dangerous. He’s far too assertive, simplistic, narcissistic, simplistic and repetitive (seems we loathe that in others that we resent in ourselves).

As I’ve finally shifted back to my presentation, literally changing the entire thesis at this point with minutes to spare, the consultant BARGES out the door of Starbucks leaving Shaggy and Scooby stunned. Again I decide to go to their rescue, hold their hand, and tell them that one need not compromise their virtues to go viral… I’ll even volunteer. But just like a dream ending abruptly, they vanish. Come to think of it, maybe it was a dream. No… I’m pretty sure it was real.

Then I gave this presentation below. To show that humor is hard to categorize because of its subjectivity, I did a live vlog (seen at the end of this video) where I followed the 102nd rule of “winning over an audience.” I secretly maligned them using a stage whisper. I was actually kinda bummed out they laughed, which is not what I expected after reading this Joel Warner Wired article that put this on my rader (and created an obsession for me).

Now for the preliminary findings, and a BIG thanks to Alexis, Kiddsock and Will Reese, as well as other contributors!

 

Why Old Spice Is Killing Social Media in 2011

Okay first check out this top-10 list of social-media marketing fails and wins. I just happened to find the Canadian article titled “Top 10 social media hits and misse in 2010,” and my own video hiding in it. Can you find it? Yeah that’s me as the press secretary for Tony Hayward. The accent is fake. I’m not British.

I love the Old Spice campaign, but it’s going to cause some serious road kills in 2011. Why?

Wieden + Kennedy , the advertising agency behind Old Spice’s grand 2010 marketing campaign, turned actor Isaiah Mustafa into a household name. And they made it look easy, so now everyone’s going to want to “pull an Old Spice..” In fact I’ll have to write a new book called “Beyond Old Spice.” Caution ambitious agencies and brands… this was a major coordinated effort that involved significant media spending and crafty use of social media. It’s going to be imitated a lot in 2011 and poorly so.

Anyway I’m giggling that the Globe & Mail (Amber Macarthur) article happened to select my YouTube parody about BP to demonstrate that fail online.

You can’t imagine how weird it is to be reading about social-media marketing, and notice your video is the example.

I’m really big in Canada. I keep telling you that, and it’s like you don’t believe it. Nalts is to Canada as Jerry Lewis is to France. I’m the friggin Shanecarl Wheezyhiga of Canada.

Someone needs to put the computer down and leave Starbucks immediately, as he rapidly tumbles down the hill of unproductivity entering hour number 10. I feel the Via coursing through my veins. The irony is that I’m in the Starbucks at which I shot the exterior shot of the via sponsored video, but they wouldn’t let me tape in the store. I wonder if BP would let me tape in its lobby. Maybe the BP Canadian office.

How Many of the 10 Billion Videos Viewed in February Did YOU Watch?

online video viewing causes spines to turn into rusty knotsWe watched 10 billion videos in February, according to ComScore yesterday. That’s a 66 percent gain from February 2007, and apparently about 73 percent of people online are watching videos. Which means the other 15 percent are losers that are too busy brushing up on their math skills.

35 percent of this activity is on Google/YouTube, followed by about 6 percent by Fox and 3 percent by Yahoo. So if you want the “long tail,” go diggin’ into some of the big-media entities that top the list with one percent share.

I’ll be on YouTube.

Antisocial Media (Stickam Addiction)

antisocial media stickam addictionHeard of Stickam? It’s a live-video website that allows people to gather in rooms and interact via live webcams and text messaging. YouTubers are especially prone to spending their off-YouTube hours congregating, and it’s always puzzled me. They mostly hang out in Nutcheese‘s room.
Then again, I’m not a raving fan of instant messaging, e-mail or other social media applications like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

Here’s my social commentary on what I like to call “antisocial media.