Recession and State of Online Video Industry Limit Adoption

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More amazingly obvious research has been done by someone. This time it’s been shown that the recession is the direct cause of an emerging, not fully tested way of marketing your company and product not being rapidly adopted. I know, you’re all shocked and appalled and can’t believe it, but apparently of it’s true.

What form of marketing is it you ask? Well if we’re covering it here at ReelSEO you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s online video. Yes, marketers are gun shy of one the newest ways to market their product during a time of economiic downturn, budgetary cutbacks and mass bankruptcies and lay-offs. Wow, I’m so shocked!

What are they putting that money into instead of online video? Why direct marketing email and social media applications (Lucky for me). Now there is nothing wrong with these other forms of marketing just as there’s nothing wrong with using video online. But to implement a campaign on a somewhat unproven and potentially unstable platform which requires a sizable sum for production at times, when you’ve got a very limited budget is not good business is it? Not if you want to keep your job.

Recession Limits Interactive Experimentation

Apparently what we’re finding is that emerging media (i.e. online video) is not as popular as other new channels like social media and email. Email marketing has been around for some time and the social networks have slightly better stats and tracking to determine impact and ROI. Since these are more direct-to-consumer types of marketing they continue to be popular with marketers. The recent study cited 64% of respondents saying that they are working on social media-based campaigns at present.

What does it all mean?

Well, since a lot of articles here of late have been talking about how to standardize statistical tracking, putting a firm definition on what a ‘view’ is and some big names in online advertising saying that online video is still immature and not where it should be, this data is not a big surprise. If I wanted to keep my head of Marketing job in a time when perhaps 20% of my friends have lost or could lose their jobs I would be sure to stick to platforms that have extremely detailed statistical tracking, accurate ROI formulae and generally those that have a proven track record of success. I probably wouldn’t go venturing off the beaten path and dropping a good portion of my budget into a platform without all of that stuff.

So the problem sort of comes back how do we determine what a ‘view’ is and how do you put a price on that. This is where initiatives like the IAB online video ads standards, open video and HTML 5 will come into play. It is also probably going to require an industry-wide dicussion of these things. I’ll start it myself with an article maybe later this week detailing what I think we need from online stats tracking in order to begin to show potential advertisers and marketers that there is indeed a return on their investment.

ComScore themselves recently did some research and implemented a new program for direct tracking where a 1×1 image is placed in the video player to track hits. But that’s still not views is it? It’s only loading the image when the player is loaded. It gives no info into whether or not the viewer sticks around for the whole video including the ads that might be in it. Through this new system they showed that what was thought to be 62 million views with extrapolating via panel research was really only about 26 million views when tracked directly. The site in questions? Brightroll, the ad network. This is a case of potential versus actual. Potentially they could show 62 million ads a month, but in reality, in April, they only showed 26 million. OUCH!

The problem is not only in how we are tracking online video ads but that many sites do NOT want you to know exactly how many views they have. Fluffed up numbers look much prettier and allow them to charge higher rates. With lower actual view counts that means less money all around for those showing the ads. Of course on the flip side of that it also means that advertisers would have to spend less and could potentially be more willing to invest into online video.

There we have it, the vicious cycle of our times.

You can check out the Forrester Research here


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