This three-way battle is talked about time and time again, and is a conundrum as old as digital video itself. In the early days of YouTube, advertisers often pointed out that they didn't want to advertise in proximity to undesirable content. At the time, nearly everyone pointed to videos of skateboarding dogs or water skiing squirrels and wondered if there was a good reason to put a brand message on a site where anyone could upload content. "Quality" is debated quite often in video advertising circles, but you can't really argue that user-shot clips like this don't belong on the lower end of the spectrum.
The other issue is that premium content sometimes means controlled content, which can negatively impact reach and scale. Consumers can't share it as freely, or viewing is confined to one URL. Yes, as an advertiser you're getting a premier placement next to what is surely a great piece of content. But the audience is limited, and you're failing to hit the reach required to really deliver a message. If you're buying closed content without a true understanding of its limitations, you could be wasting money.
The pun is intended. There is a reactionary undercurrent running through online media where advertisers tend to chase trends that they hear are hot, rather than things that demonstrate a clear difference maker for a campaign. This is prevalent not just in video, but across the board, as agencies clients and publishers all jump at the concept, property, or platform du jour without checking how deep the pool is. Think about what you hear on a daily basis -- who isn't "disrupting" something right now?
Buzz is important, but I would counsel marketers to take a breath and really assess what the new element will achieve. Often times, advertisers get swept off their feet by what I call a "cocktail talk" campaign -- something that sounds smart and on the bleeding edge during happy hour, but moves the needle very little in terms of campaign objectives.
Every video service that a brand pays for should have a clear tie-in to the campaign goals. Weigh out each new buzzworthy company and technology. Taking a marked, measured approach could ultimately pay off bigger in the end.
Online video is not simply turning on a spigot and letting an outside vendor do the work. If a brand invests in video and checks in with its media partner only at the beginning and the end of the campaign, then its negligence is costing it money.
Too many brands are not engaged in their advertising campaigns and fail to work closely with the media providers. We hear all the time that brands get sour after looking at poor campaign performance after the fact, but those advertisers who monitor campaigns throughout can actually look at what's working, and optimize their strategy to maximize the performance. If the goal of the campaign is to raise awareness through completed ad views, and one type of content seems to be achieving a greater number of completions, then it makes sense to serve more ads against that content. It's not hard, but too many brands fail to understand the flexibility of video and the fact that, unlike TV, they can adjust the game plan mid-campaign.
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