While the online video channel continues to grow, with record numbers of people viewing video content online, TV still takes the lion's share of advertising spend and, despite proponents of the "TV is dying" camp, is growing faster than the overall ad spend.
This might seem counterintuitive, where the promise of better targetability, engagement, and measurability make online look like the more attractive investment: So why has video advertising on the web failed to grow at more rapid pace? Let's walk through some of the obstacles that online video presents... and explore possible solutions to help break through these barriers.
Online video is the new must-have feature for web content publishers. Today, it's a quick and easy way to augment the audience's experience. There's also the allure of new opportunities for monetization through advertising. But hyper-fragmented viewership presents an obstacle for buyers that require an efficient means to achieve reach and scale: The explosion of video content online is split across tens of thousands of sites.
Through remassification utilizing online video networks, it can and does deliver the big numbers, but there are still kinks to be ironed out surrounding things like transparency, player compatibility issues, and placement controls. It's also still fairly cumbersome to deploy on a site-by-site basis.
Digital veterans have made peace with this, but traditional TV media buyers still find the whole web proposition ridiculously complex. One advantage fragmentation offers is the opportunity to reach highly defined audiences on their terms, with messaging unique to their interests. But fully capitalizing on this will require marketers to develop a deeper understanding of the various channels and technologies available and how they can be used to best serve different marketing agendas. In time, continuously rising viewership will justify the effort, but not before a critical mass has been reached.
On demand vs. scheduled
The traditional and online video models are fundamentally different. Online video consumption occurs largely on demand, which means advertisers can't know exactly when and where their messages will be viewed. This presents a scary proposition for many marketers who find the same controls they have over placement on broadcast and cable TV don't translate perfectly online. Successful adoption of the video channel online requires a fundamental rethinking of how advertising is distributed.
But, the user-controlled nature of the web offers a key value add that TV cannot match, and that's earned media from real-time socialized sharing and other forms of passalong, like email, texting, blogging, etc. By investing effort into the attribution of value to digital metrics like interactions and passalongs, marketers will be better poised to treat online video in its own right, rather than as a proxy for television.