Like so many others, my life is a series of journeys from one screen to the next. That said, it's rare that something in the actual, physical world would be entertaining and eye-catching enough to make me stop in my tracks and engage with for an extended period of time.
"Chevy Chase," is one of those things.
Last week while walking down 23rd Street, the marquee outside Gotham Comedy Club loudly yelled "Chevy Chase, Jeff Garlin and Susie Essman!" That's one SNL great and two current cast members of Curb Your Enthusiasm together in one room. As it turned out, this amalgam of comedic talent had to do with internet video, so I saw it as my job to undertake the two-drink minimum.
It turns out that Chevy, Jeff and Sussie were all guests on DailyComedy.com's live internet video show, "LateNet with Ray Ellin."
While Ray interviewed the comedians for the live audience, users from all over the globe watched and interacted with Ray and his guests by way of Paltalk's video instant messenger technology. For the live audience, a screen above the LateNet set displayed the internet audience at their computers through their webcams.
What made me supremely happy, besides knowing with certainty that Chevy Chase was still alive, was seeing how absolutely engaged the online audience appeared as they watched the Ray Ellin show, in its entirety, from their PCs.
With long form comes longer attention
Depending on what research you believe, studies say that most internet users are happy with the snack-sized video clips that are currently available. These studies show only the current state of affairs, however, and when longer events like YouTube's Political Debates, the NCAA games and the Live Earth concerts become more frequent online, the obvious engagement exhibited by Ray Ellin's internet audience is sure to be the norm. Users will want lengthier video of content that interests them.
For advertisers, this increased time with engaged audiences means a few things:
1.) Exposure time will become the metric to optimize video ads on.
Users navigate around the web through a series of click actions, but when they find themselves on pages that interest them they stop. These pages that keep them lingering contain engaging written, audio or video content.
If the advertising on these pages and around this content is relevant and entertaining, new research by Atlas says that users are more likely to watch the ads longer and engage willingly.
Nielsen's move towards ranking sites by time-on-site is also a clear indicator that exposure time is an important metric in evaluating the relationship and interaction with an audience. As time-spent-on-internet increases and more content becomes available, users are going to spend more time with what interests them, giving advertisers the chance to meaningfully get in front of their audiences for longer.
Getting more exposure time is key to branding, and the impending advent of long form online video consumption will allow advertisers who use the right creative to cut through the clutter and not only grab, but hold a user's attention.
2.) A more engaged audience that interacts will be born.
Due to lighting, talk show guests on stage can rarely even see the live studio audience. Online, however, web guests and host can actually have a dialogue.
During the Ray Ellin show, one attractive user became the topic of conversation. Another web audience member played a guessing game as to which of a series of statements was about Jeff and which was about Sussie. Another user got to ask his own questions of Chevy.
Interaction with the content is just the tip of the iceberg. Think of all the advertising that could be happening around the content without completely interrupting it.
What if, after Jeff Garlin made an off-color remark about one online user's appearance, a banner popped up from the bottom of the screen, covering only a third of it, that read, "Someone should wash that mouth out with Dove™ soap." Or, after Sussie Essman mentioned how difficult Hassidic audiences can be to make laugh, an overlay glided in at the top right promoting the new profile-building services of J-Date.
Contextualizing in-video ads appropriately in front of an already active audience will be incredibly powerful. Advertiser-friendly content can be easily primed for maximized ad integration, in user-friendly ways, with high-impact advertising. It's a Win-Win-Win situation for content providers (who don't need to interrupt their broadcast for ads), advertisers (who get exposure with active, relevant audiences), and users (who get uninterrupted content for free).
Shows like LateNet with Ray Ellin are true long-form shows. They offer cool content, fluid formatting and of course, Chevy Chase. What's more, as they grow in number, they are subtly training the internet audience how the web can be used for ingesting long form video.
For advertisers, the long form space is exciting because the more attention users direct at the internet, and the more frequently they come, the more targeted branding opportunities exist.
As users presently wade, and eventually dive into the online video pool, the emergence of a TV-like viewing experience and non-intrusive ad formats will groom an audience that is interactive and friendlier to advertising.
Advertisers who utilize the right ad products, creative messaging and targeting tools in and around long form video will engage attentive video users successfully, increasing exposure, awareness, and more meaningful interaction to create deeper branding.
Bradley Werner is the director of marketing for The Fifth Network. .