The line between the offline and online worlds of entertainment is blurring, thanks in large part to the ongoing rise of video-friendly broadband (90 percent of all households will have it by 2008, according to eMarketer). Online video combines television's sight, sound and motion with the internet's interactivity and accountability. As a result, online video advertising is opening new doors to consumers-- enabling marketers to engage highly targeted audiences, providing valuable insights to boot.
An important key to unlocking this potential is the online video advertising network. Networks enable you to fully capitalize on all that online video has to offer-- in scale, at your most efficient costs, with single-vendor simplicity.
More for your money
Because streaming content can be in short supply on individual, brand-name sites, publishers are demanding high premiums for the best inventory. These sites certainly provide marquee placements and valuable audiences, but the sacrifice is often limited reach at high costs.
Enter the online video advertising network. Because they aggregate inventory from hundreds (even thousands) of sites, networks can offset the high costs of single-site buys-- offering a guaranteed source of inventory across premium content at lower effective CPMs.
Your niche audience, on a massive scale
While a quality single-site buy can provide concentrated exposure to select demographics, a network offers the ability to reach these same audiences in high volume.
Network inventory can be segmented in multiple ways to generate the best possible results. Advertisers can target audiences during peak day-parts, for example, while consumers are at work making weekend movie or concert plans. Ads can also be targeted to specific demographics on premiere days, or timed for local market openings. Only a network offers the best of both worlds: reach and specificity.
Online video is growing in popularity, but the technical and administrative challenges can be daunting. Each publisher has its own stipulations for creative and serving formats, which makes advertising across multiple sites complex. But networks offer just one set of platform requirements, enabling marketers to advertise across a broad range of quality sites using one standard format. Reporting is also centralized, so marketers can assess performance across a broad spectrum of publishers and optimize ad placement across their media buys toward the greatest possible result - such as the impact of different versions of a movie trailer on different demographics.
Test, assess, adjust
Thanks to their reach, cost-efficiencies and centralized reporting, networks also allow advertisers to easily test commercial concepts before launching full-blown, high-cost television campaigns. Which trailer will generate the most buzz? Which clip will garner the most season-finale viewers? Running test campaigns online enables advertisers to easily identify what regions, demographics and time slots generate the best results for any number of advertising strategies. Not only can performance metrics like percent viewed, clicks or even ticket sales be easily measured, test campaigns can also measure the effectiveness of the creative in promoting things like favorability and purchase intent.
Get in the act
With broadcasters re-airing television programs online, musicians releasing their latest hits via the internet and movie studios turning to the web to promote the latest trailers and star interviews, it's clearly time for entertainment advertisers to get online and into video. The bandwidth is there. The technology is there. And most important, the audience is there.
For those advertisers ready to take the plunge, online ad networks are the simplest and most effective route. With broad reach, cost benefits and one-stop-shop simplicity, networks are a star in virtually any entertainment marketing program.
Mollie Spilman is Advertising.com's chief sales and marketing officer. .