OPINION: Do you understand online video? You need to

Stephen Hunt
By Stephen Hunt | 14 August 2013
Stephen Hunt, Managing Director at TubeMogul Australia

As display, search and traditional media begin to consolidate into online video, understanding what to measure and why becomes a critical skill for all marketers.

When I started out in digital, selling display ads for News Interactive (now known as News Australia Sales), all my agency buyers seemed to care about was ‘share of voice’ or the percentage of the total available ads that would be theirs. The higher the better, with success being a total sponsorship of a particular category or vertical.

These days savvy marketers are using the internet as a broadcast medium delivering tailored site, sound and motion communications to their target audience at scale while controlling a desired reach and frequency. Digital media is now changing so fast, the big question is, are you keeping up?

According to the IAB, 2013 is the year that online advertising will take the mantle from TV as the biggest piece of the media pie at $3.4 billion. The two sub-sectors driving the most spectacular growth are mobile and video with Pricewaterhouse Coopers recently forecasting 44% compound annual growth (CAGR) in online video through to 2017. 

It should come as no surprise that online video has hit the mainstream in a big way though you may be surprised at how far it has to go.  Here are a few fun facts to give you some perspective:

· 11 out of the 17 hours an average Australian spends online each month are spent watching video. (comScore)
· Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic. (Bytemobile)
· Globally, online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016. (Cisco)
· Globally, online video traffic will be 55% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2016. (Cisco)

Traditional TV viewing audiences are migrating to a multi-screen universe where content is ubiquitous and the individual viewer is in command of what they watch, where and when. TV still works but few marketers truly understand how to adapt to the video-hungry consumer.

The world of search is changing too as “thumbnails” (visual search results linking to videos) start to pervade results and consumers take to the ease of consuming information via the moving image rather than static text. This is driving website owners to reconsider how they present themselves and their information with rapid growth visible in the lower end production market.

I recently read here in AdNews some responses to research from comScore and Adobe lamenting the growing ineffectiveness of display advertising that many predict will also fold gradually into online video as attribution modelling demonstrates its superior ability to deliver a return on investment. 

Some early examples today are showing that removing 25% of the display budget and investing it in video drives a significant uplift in online conversions. This is just the beginning as attribution modelling starts to come of age.

All of this points to a medium that we all need to understand a little better. Take the time to make good friends with online video and it is a safe bet you’ll be looked after in the long run. If you don't think it's big already, you have only got to consider what will happen as IPTV finally takes off and the lounge room converts to an online video entertainment domain.

We now have tools that measure the reach duplication between online video and TV. These tools can also estimate the incremental reach online video offers a TV buy while concurrently measuring the brand lift of each channel independently and in unison. So why do you still care about the click-through-rate or even the completion rate for that matter?

Video is a branding tool, so we should measure brand metrics and start shifting the thinking away from planning in channel silos like TV, mobile, desktop, tablet, IPTV etc.  It's time to think about the consumer in a screen-agnostic world where video is just video no matter what screen it's on.  As marketers, we need to think about how these screens work together to shift the perceptions of that consumer rather than isolate them in silos.

Luckily, we are at the start of the journey and there is still a long way to go. So take some time to get to know what online video is all about, how it works for your brands and enjoy the ride over the next few years as it revolutionises brand marketing forever.

Stephen Hunt
Managing Director
TubeMogul Australia

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