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Beyond The 30-Second Spot: Online Video Trends

by Chris Lawing.

While online video advertising is certainly driving ad dollars to the Web, there is more to it than commercial spots. We've all heard the stampede of advertisers with slashed marketing budgets dashing online. Still, if you haven't jumped in yet, there's no better time than now to get started. So what are some online video options for digital marketers?

Brand Channel/Webisodes
Many companies are humming along with a brilliant brand channel that includes video libraries, interactive content and a television-like experience, all delivered in the company's brand experience. One impressive example is GE, with its Ecomagination video stories from around the world. But hundreds of other brands are running their own online channels, from Lexus L Studio to Swiffer. Some brands like Volkswagen are creating channel for specific audiences, including international markets. Its volkswagendobrasil is a branded YouTube channel in Portuguese. With more than 80,000 channel views, this branded niche channel boasts impressive viewership.Brand channels offer tremendous flexibility and interactivity features.

Webisodes are one element of brand channels but can also exist in other forms (for example, mobisodes) and other places (such as sponsored content outside of a company's own channel). These series, like Cisco's superheroes show, are driven by the same principles as television -- attract and retain -- and that means repetitive exposure for brands. And to remain comparable to TV, companies like YuMe are actually creating online measurement metrics similar to Nielsen in order to measure reach and frequency from online viewers.

The value of brand connection and engagement for webisodes offers benefits that no airport banner or print magazine ad can compete with. Whether these are produced in a partnership, sponsorship or on their own, quality content is key.

Brand Videos
Marketing your company online isn't what it used to be. Words alone are not enough. A Diffusion Group study projects that by 2013, long-form video will represent almost 70% of online-video ad revenue, up from just over 40% today. The great attraction to this form of video is not only can company sales and marketing teams leverage a company brand video, they can push it to customers on their Web site, blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts. Good storytelling, believability and creative visuals still make the foundation for a powerful brand video.

Whatever you call it - a brand video, company demo, video intro to your company - this online video represents what your company is positioning or selling in a dynamic way with motion and sound. Apple showcases video right off its home page with its commercials and an iPhone demo. B&H in New York City has a SuperStore Experience video off its homepage, which showcases the store, products, and customer relations.

In the end, companies create online video to capitalize on the exposure that only video can demonstrate about your brand -- why you exist and what you do. How you engage online video as a digital marketing tool may vary, but it's imperative at this point to do it. If you're already there, congratulations -- but don't sit tight too long. Interactive video experiences and interactive storytelling will be the next to hit their stride, and it's never too soon to learn how to reach consumers where they want to be reached.

As founder and director/editor of Mercury Multimedia, Chris Lawing has spent over 14 years creating film, television and online video content.