This Thursday June 18th I’m covering the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association’s (CIMA) event titled “Creative, Technology, Media, and Analytics.” I recently interviewed several of the scheduled panelists, about their research and opinions on the business direction they see online video taking, agencies’ and marketers’ opportunities and challenges with greater client acceptance of online video into their campaign budgets, and clients’ growing interest and importance of SEO in video campaigns. Listen to the podcast interview below with panelist Elisabeth Bleser of Incognito Digital for extended pre-event coverage.


CIMA event overview

Hosted at the Westin Hotel in downtown Chicago, CIMA is billing the event as “a panel debate about how Creative, Technology, Media, and Analytics complement or hinder one another in interactive marketing.” Topics to be covered include:

  • How agencies and marketers handle the creative limitations online in comparison to traditional media.
  • Recent Rich Media and video market enhancements to move beyond technology limitations.
  • The impact of analytics on creativity and technology, and;
  • Evolution of social marketing and mobile tactics in response to technology enhancements and analytics limitations.

The following panelists were interviewed for this pre-event interview

spurway-pointrollCatherine Spurway– VP of Strategy and Marketing for Pointroll. Pointroll provides in-banner, interactive video advertising technology (including expandable video ads), ad serving, and mobile video ads for the iPhone. Their clients include Focus Features, Colgate Palmolive, Jaguar, Ford, and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

nat-jonesNathaniel Jones –Associate Creative Director for DraftFCB, an international multichannel marketing communication agency with a focus on consumer behavior. Their clients include Kmart, Kraft, Boeing, Dockers, Hilton, Merck, Dow, Motorola, AARP, KFC, Phizer, and Taco Bell.

bleserElisabeth Bleser –SVP/Managing Director, and co-founder of Incognito Digital, LLC, a full-service digital agency, with extensive amount of rich media video work for the media and entertainment industry. Their clients include Bloomberg, OKI Printing, 20th Century Fox, My NetworkTV, SPEED, FX, and Haier America.

Q&A with the CIMA panel

What can people at the CIMA conference expect to hear from you about online video?

Catherine, PointRoll: The panel is focused on the intersection of creative, technology, media, and analytics, which will no doubt include discussion on the various video formats, measurement capabilities of each, best practices for creative and placement, new technologies, and future predictions. I am looking forward to discussing emerging video functionality and formats as well as the strides web publishers, technologists and collectives such as Publicis’ “The Pool” are making to re-cast online video and how success is measured.

What is your opinion about the direction that online video is taking?

Catherine: According to eMarketer, online video viewers will reach 190 million by 2012. Connectivity and infrastructure improvements will continue to make it easier for marketers to deliver, and users to consume, online video. There will be a continued progression from passive viewership to active engagement with more interactive and non-linear video executions emerging. Short term we will see more innovative executions like the Special K Challenge campaign , featuring on-command video… while longer term new formats will emerge in addition to an explosion in mobile video advertising as consumers continue to perpetually alternate between PCs and their mobile devices.

Nathaniel, DraftFCB: I say more, give me more video! Simply put, online video is rapidly changing with major technology advances, connections speeds are getting faster, its easier to implement and use by more people, and especially with interactive video content that allows users to engage as they are being entertained.

What do you see as the major opportunities of online video, for both agencies and their clients?

Elizabeth, Incognito Digital: Overall, its a phenomenal opportunity for advertisers and agencies in terms of having a broader canvas to work with for their clients – to be able to provide something that is entertaining, tell a story, and provide engagement.

Nathaniel: What I see as major opportunity with online video is the ability for brands to create customized content for their consumers.

Turn that around: What do you see as the major CHALLENGES facing online video for your clients?

Nathaniel: Our challenges as agencies with online video – getting brands to believe in the new era of video is good for them to play in.

Elisabeth: The crazy thing is that you think branded companies would be a natural to get involved with online video, but don’t because you find out that they truly don’t have the assets. When you talk to them about running the 15-second pre-roll video ad, or running a channel for them out on YouTube, literally all of their assets have gone to broadcast television; and there’s nothing left, or at least nothing that’s unique for the Web. Or, what they have to give us is not the right story. It’s them treating the Web as a TV model; it’s not the right type of content to run on the internet, and its potentially a negative experience for an advertiser and a consumer. So I really think the biggest hurdle is that, for established brand companies, online video is still not yet a line item on anyone’s marketing or creative plan to create videos specifically for the web. I don’t think there’s any reason why any company couldn’t leverage the space and do a great job telling a story about either their business or product, or whatever it might be, but I see an unwillingness to commit dollars to the creation of the asset .

So do you see as the biggest challenges for agencies like yourselves, with changing the way your clients perceive online video for business objectives?

Elisabeth: I think where we, as agencies, are right now is challenging for a couple of reasons. One of them is budget. From a brand perspective, marketers are having a harder and harder time spending money against their brands, and are driving more to a direct-response type opportunity. But I also think the problem with that is we as agencies are also making the same mistake are our clients and looking at online video from the traditional TV model, and it’s not that at all.

I also think our biggest challenge, as agencies, is the limitations we have with measurement and tracking. People are not utilizing the same measurement. That’s because every player has a different technology. Advertisers can’t go out and measure everything they’re doing from a video perspective across the board, because you can’t measure what you’re necessarily running on all UGC type of websites. You can’t measure video on YouTube like you would on a network running your videos. There needs to be a better job of measurement standards around video. I believe the IAB is working to do that, and as an industry we’re all working to do that, but we’re definitely not there yet.

How do you recommend agencies like yours can to a better job to overcome these challenges with online video and help clients?

Elisabeth: We need to do a better job to provide a positive consumer experience with video. When you have video placements that are the same 30-second spots, running over and over at intervals in between content on a popular media site, you would never think of running the same broadcast spot over and over at commercial breaks. To me, I believe situations like that are a negative impact on the brand. Again, we at agencies, as creative partners, need to do a better job to not just treat this as the traditional TV model.

We also need to do a better job, as an industry, of setting standards and guidelines for online video. We need really say for our clients what performs best and get our clients used to that, and used to just having that on the list of deliverables. We need to be persistent about the fact that these are elements we just need to have as part of the marketing mix.

Are there any special technologies you’re seeing coming out with online video that you feel are important to pay attention to?

Nathaniel: I would pay attention to anything that is mobile. People want to be entertained and escape while they are going to work and coming home. People want their entertainment fix, and mobile video will give it to them.

Elisabeth: Again, for me it’s the measurement of online video. That is the biggest piece of my time that I spend from a research perspective – meeting with different vendors, on finding the right measurement solution. So far I haven’t found it yet. I think from a creative perspective, there are a lot of incredibly engaging, really exciting things out there, in terms of overlays, clicks-to-engagement directly within the video, have some sort of video execution that allows you to really sample and learn more, get behind the scenes – content that you’re not going to see anywhere else. I think all of that is really exciting, but unless we’re really able to measure it and make sense about what it means, at the end of the day is all just cosmetic.

Does Video SEO even register with creative agencies and brand marketing agencies (and your respective clients) as one of those deliverables?

I think it starting to register. 3-6 months ago it wasn’t, but I think more and more, people in our industry are starting to talk about that and ask about that. Specifically, we work with a lot of Fox brands and they have tons of video content on Hulu. We get a lot of requests from them on how can we do a better job with SEO – to make sure their video content on Hulu, or even their video content on their own site, is registering above some of the other video sharing sites .