OPINION: Online video ads: Can we make the complicated, simple?

Philip Duffield
By Philip Duffield | 29 May 2012
APAC managing director, Philip Duffield.

The Australian online video advertising market saw a growth of 31% (excluding Youtube and Telstra) between 2010 and 2011. But what are the reasons for this success and can it continue? 

Like any ‘new’ sector, online video marketing is on a steep learning curve. It has made impressive progress in recent months at tackling the challenge of the complicated nature of the digital industry and the complexity of linking buyers and sellers online.  So although there is still a lot to be done, before we are able to encourage all brands, networks, agencies and publishers to adopt the medium, some straightforward activities can be undertaken to smooth the path of the sector’s next phase of growth.

An important point to acknowledge is that technology can be a double-edged sword. Whilst it enables the growth and innovation in online video advertising, for many people it can be daunting. As an industry we need to remember that there is a tendency to use terms with which we are all familiar, such as ‘programmatic buying’ and the slue of acronyms like DMP, DSP and SSP. However, if we can move away from ‘talking techie’ and become more relatable to the TV people at agencies and their clients, we will make it easier for people outside the sector to understand its benefits.

Many TV buyers – who are a key target audience for those wanting to sell online video advertising – do not come across many of the terms and acronyms connected to video on demand in their day-to-day work. Rather than expect them to become more knowledgeable about the digital industry, using a language with which they are comfortable would make better business sense.  For example, terms such as Target Audience Rating Point (TARP), which measures exposure to TV advertisements, provides a comparable metric for the online term ‘Unique Views’.

Content quality is another issue that we need to address. Widespread broadband adoption has helped to fuel the demand for online video content, but years of slow speeds and high delivery costs means there has not yet been a revolution in the creation of high quality video inventory. The introduction of the NBN this year will help address this, but if video is to maintain its effectiveness in the industry, it must both ‘catch up’ in terms of the quantity of ads and also be rigorous about the quality of content. In addition, the players in the market need to ensure that the right technical and commercial links are created between good producers and quality publishers.

But even when the standard of an ad is good, over-exposure to the same video ad risks damaging the brand. This requires that audience data is readily available to enable frequency capping (which prevents an advert appearing on a viewer’s screen multiple times). Technically, this is straightforward, but it is currently hindered by campaigns running in silos, rather than integrated and centrally managed.

Audience data is a major talking point for the online advertising industry in general. It allows advertisers to target and re-target consumers with ads that are relevant to their viewing behaviour, but data is only truly valuable if it is easily available, usable and cost effective. It should also be correctly integrated into the overall digital marketing campaign, as this permits the effectiveness of each channel to be measured, and the impact one channel has on another to be made visible.

Technology is increasingly breaking down the barriers to doing business in online video advertising. As long as the all-important human element is equally smart in terms of relating to the TV people in agencies and their clients, the sector should realise its potential for mass adoption.

Philip Duffield
Managing Director, APAC

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