I polled the big brains in the industry to get their thoughts on how 2011 went down with regard to online video advertising, what they thought went as expected and what came out of the blue, what trends were strong and what will continue going on into 2012. Of course, if you subscribe to the Mayan calendar, who cares because the world ends in just 350 days until the end of the world.

Since online video advertising is one of my main areas of focus here at ReelSEO I thought it only right that I ping my burgeoning contact list of video advertising professionals about how they see 2011. My most surprising trend in 2011? Considering my history of prognostication, I was surprised that my predictions were spot on. Hopefully, I can repeat that in 2012.

What was the major trend or most surprising trend in video advertising in 2011?

Mike Shehan, founder and CEO of SpotXchange:

2011 was very strong growth year for online advertising, with video remaining the fastest growing segment.  eMarketer predicts that online video ad spending will grow at a 38% rate annually, fueled by more people viewing content online and adopting newer technologies like tablets to watch that content.

One major trend that emerged over this past year was that programmatic buying increased with video through agency-owned or licensed trading desks, with a shift of dollars from managed services to real-time-bidding (RTB).  RTB emerged as a trend in 2011 as more and more advertisers and publishers began to realize the benefits that RTB has to offer, namely major scale and efficiencies.  Though it’s still early days, buyers and sellers using RTB in an exchange environment are benefiting from getting the prices they want due to increased competition, high volume and the ability to optimize in real-time.

In the SpotXchange video marketplace, we saw more than 100% month-over-month growth over the past quarter, and we were the first company to RTB-enable 100% of our inventory, which has led to more than 5 billion RTB bid requests per month.  Most importantly, brands are seeing considerable lift from video advertising through RTB.  Our preliminary data shows CPM lifts at 20% for publishers monetizing via RTB vs. those that are not.

David Burch, Communications Director, Tubemogul

CPMs are trending upward for top sites, reflecting very high demand and growth. This has several downstream effects, including the increasing interest by top media companies in private exchanges to better control monetization and distinguish their premium inventory.

Walter Harp,  Vice President, Product Marketing, Mixpo

I think 2011 saw an increase in sophistication in video ads execution.  Just as display ads evolved from static to rich to personalized, video ads are following a similar evolution:  static to interactive to personalized.  The evolution is still early – as is the state of video advertising all up – but it’s encouraging to see advertisers continuing to move up the curve.

Jayant Kadambi, Co-Founder and CEO for YuMe

In 2011,  brands rapidly adapted to changes in viewers’ online video consumption patterns by creating innovative cross-platform ad campaigns that actively engage viewers. Mobile devices and connected TVs have transformed the ways consumers consume content. This has driven the evolution of advertising from a series of disparate campaigns to a model in which brands can use a single media buy to distribute engaging campaigns wherever and whenever consumers are viewing online video.

Skip Brand, CEO at Martini Media

I had stated that I’d take video responses because I thought it would be cool if we could pull together a montage of responses. Alas, only Skip Brand found enough time to get me a video response. I applaud you sir!