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Maximizing Online Campaigns With Video

by David Rich , Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Case for Online Video
In October alone, more than 77% of Internet users watched 13.5 billion videos online. This represents a dramatic shift in how consumers are engaging with content online. The continued proliferation of broadband Internet access and the maturing of the online video market will continue to drive these numbers higher.

With this massive demand one would think that marketers would be quick to embrace this growing trend. But, most analysts concur, the video opportunity has yet to be fully realized. However, with the rise of new, affordable production methods, big brands are beginning to leverage the power of online video.

Interactive marketeers are continually challenged to create engaging marketing campaigns that generate return on investment while maintaining consistency with offline efforts. With few notable exceptions these online efforts have yet to fully embrace video as a vehicle to achieve these goals. But, as the audience demand for online video continues to grow, it presents the best opportunity to engage with audiences and capitalize on the Web's direct-response capability.

What's Held Video Back?
Hindered by limited budgets, tight timelines and complicated rights agreements, those responsible for interactive marketing campaigns have avoided video. These factors combined to make video an undertaking that wasn't worth the effort to include it in online campaigns. Additionally, interactive folks inherently understood the conflict between broadcast advertising and the online experience: no one wants to watch repurposed ads on the internet

Different Medium, Different Message
The Internet and television deliver two completely different types of user experiences, so it makes sense that marketers continue to search for a video implementation that engages viewers and drives action. Television is a "lean back" medium where people engage when something of interest appears and disengage when they lose interest. Conversely, the Internet is a "lean forward" medium where people are actively seeking out information and don't waste time on irrelevant items. This requires marketers to deliver information in a way that engages and meets users' needs, all on their terms. To thrive in this new environment, marketers must create video that:
- Is original and authentic
- Entertains and engages
- Meets audience needs
- Provides a path to learn more and share the experience

The Democratization of Video Production
To meet these needs, interactive marketers have turned to a new format of video production. This new revolution in video production is removing traditional barriers that stood in the way of mass video use in online campaigns. Driven by the dramatic decrease in the cost of filmmaking equipment, professional filmmakers around the world now have the equipment, technical and creative ability to produce high-quality video made for the Web.

These filmmakers bring an authentic, realistic video style that meets the transparent, information needs of the skeptical online audience. And by reducing the reliance on sets, actors and large production crews, they can create high-quality video quickly and at a cost of $1,000 to $5,000, a fraction of the cost of traditional production. Madison Avenue's expensive budgets are no longer a prerequisite to create engaging, relevant content.

Benefits of this New Production Model
Branding and Direct Response - Online video combines the emotional branding aspects of television and the direct-response attributes of the Web. A recent Kelsey Group study found 55% of people who view a video visit the company's Web site; 30% visit a physical store; and 24% make a purchase as a result of watching.

Affordability Doesn't Impact Quality - This new production model doesn't mean compromising brand standards. High production values free marketers from the worry of poor-quality content that compromises the brand. Marketers can provide overall direction and creative input while these production network managers handle details like releases and quality control.

Testing and Targeting - Affordable production costs allow for testing video content and targeting different audiences. Marketers aren't forced to target the biggest pool of eyeballs with generic brand messages. Instead, they can highlight multiple brand attributes that resonate with smaller niche audiences found online.

Putting It All Together
This new production model for Web video presents opportunities to incorporate video in to online campaigns in ways that simply were not feasible before. Marketers can leverage the synergy of rising demand, and video's positive attributes to maximize the effectiveness of their online campaigns.

David Rich is senior vice president of sales and marketing at TurnHere.