Monday, July 6

Marketing Mainstream: Online Video


Several years ago, we floated the idea that advertisers would be able to produce online videos that would attract as much attention as any broadcast advertisement. Some people thought the idea was very funny (given the frequency in which people insist they hate advertising).

Yet, in the last 18 months, that is exactly what happened as 200,000 tuned in this week to watch the Eyebrow Dance from Canbury, 325,000 viewed the T-Mobile Dance from T-Mobile, and thousands more continue to watch Extreme LED Sheep from Samsung, a video that has already garnered more than 8.5 million views. There is enough interest in online video advertising, in fact, that Video Measures compiles a real time Top 10 Viral Videos Ads of the Week Chart.

"It's not a niche activity anymore, it's a fairly mainstream activity," Matt Cutler, vice president of Video Measures recently told Abbey Klaassen of Advertising Age. Despite more than 20 hours of new video added to YouTube during every minute of every day, there is plenty of room for advertisers to produce an online video that becomes viral.

Viral Videos Are Usually Part Of Integrated Campaigns

During the interview, Cutler also noted that advertisers began to seriously look at online video shortly after the last Super Bowl when their joint study revealed Super Bowl campaigns captured 99 million viewers compared to the 98.7 million viewers that watched during the broadcast. For the first time, marketers realized that a single online video might reach as many people as broadcast television.

However, Cutler also concludes that online video success doesn't happen in a vacuum. The best online videos are usually tied to an integrated campaign that helps connect the video with viewers. Additional advertising support, public relations, and social media all play a role. After that, assuming the video attracts critical mass, its own momentum can carry it forward as popular videos tend to attract larger audiences.

Once A Video Goes Viral, Then What?

While the prospect of capturing several million viewers is appealing, advertisers still need to overcome the notion that "viral videos" can be made. The reality is that while advertisers can make a video, its propensity to become viral is determined exclusively by the online audience.

Of course, there is something else to consider. Even viral video success stories might be empty if there is no purpose beyond popularity. Specifically, making a video is easy; ensuring it goes viral is virtually impossible (most do not); and weaving in a message that has an impact or achieves an outcome remains as elusive as ever.

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