Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Future Thinking Video

“All of the books in the world contain no more information than is broadcast as video in a single large American city in a single year. Not all bits have equal value.” ~ Dr. Carl Sagan, Astronomer, Writer and Scientist, 1934-1996
Are you thinking of using video on your site?

Many industry insiders feel the web is moving from a medium built on text to one centered on video. I'm not willing go climb out on that limb yet, but I do think all web marketers should look into it.

Video can make your site more sticky, increase the visitor time on site, bring in more eyes to your advertising and give your visitors an alternative method of viewing your content. All good things… not to mention the benefit you may receive due to the new Google universal search model.

But I'm not going to kid you… it can be really expensive.

Is it worth the investment? Are there ways to keep the costs down? How do you test with video?

All good questions, and I’ll be addressing them over the next few blog posts. But first, here is some good background information on video and it’s impact on the web.

Last week the Online Publishers Association (OPA) released the results of a study discussing the factors which affect video advertising. The research included surveying and concept testing 1,422 online video users.

OPA focused on four ad attributes that impact video advertising: duration (15 v. 30 sec.); placement (pre-roll and post-roll); companion ad (with/without); and, advertising type (original online v. repurposed TV).

Here are some of the key findings...

Online video users tend to watch clips fairly frequently, with the majority viewing videos at least once a month. Forty-four percent reported that they watch video at least weekly while 73% do so at least once a month.

What do they watch?

News is the most popular online video category, (14% watch daily), weather ranks second, (11% watch daily), followed by humor,(9% watch daily). Looking at the data weekly, 45% watch video news, while 39% watch humorous clips.

These videoheads aren't yet hooked on mobile video. Just one in five (18%) say they watch clips on mobile devices or MP3s. Those that do - do it regularly, with 41% reporting viewing mobile video at least once a week.

I am very impressed to learn that the study found consumers will respond to a video ad call to action.

It found that of the 80% of viewers that have watched a video ad online, 52% took some sort of action, whether it's checking out a website (31%), searching for more info (22%), going into a store (15%), or actually making a purchase (12%). AND visitors to information publishing sites, (magazine, newspaper, cable, broadcast, etc.) were more inclined to act upon the video ad than visitors to larger portals or content sites.

One of the biggest factors causing positive results was ad length. A 30 second pre-roll video ad outperformed 15 seconds ads. The 30 seconds ad produced a 30% lift in ad relevance and a 23% lift in brand consideration.

This is really big news since prior studies have found 30-second spots were too annoying. But times have changed, eh?

With the growth of youtube and the video search engines the audience must now be ready. Perhaps like how the free e-letter readers are use to our inserts and dedicateds, eh?

(Side note: Most of the results I've seen talk about branding rather than sales... that could be troublesome. It means the data is tracking "likability" rather than conversion. Just keep that in mind. It's not a study that would cause me to invest $250,000 in equipment but it is very positive nonetheless.)

The study also reinforced something called the "halo effect" which means the successful selling and/or branding of one product can help in the selling of other products on the site. In other words, brand awareness and brand loyalty.

If a prior consumer with a brand affinity watched and liked the video content, the brand awareness jumped 61%. If the consumer's initial attitude was neutral or negative, it still rose 21%.

In sum, based on this study... online video ads are showing extremely positive results. So why not test a video ad?

I don't know if this will work for your site… but I think it is worth a test. Rather than just have your site teaser copy be the only call to action, if you can afford it, you should test a video call to action.

I know that is a huge "if"... but we have to think about the future, right?

If a video can increase the clicks to your site links then I think it can be called a success. In fact I'd create a formula, prior to launching, to see how much of a lift you'll need to make the ROI positive based on the overhead involved.

So let's see if a video ad can indeed convince the reader to order or read your promotion.... be it pre-roll, post-roll or in the middle of a long video, perhaps breaking up two segments.

I say - test it and find out.


PS - Pam Horan, president of the OPA states, "There's been a great deal of discussion in the market that less is more… But the key here is it all comes down to great creative. If you're looking to drive key brand metrics, 30-seconds should play a significant role."

Ah yes, ...be it landing page copy or video creative it all comes down quality copywriting.