A major study of 2006 online video ad campaigns reveals what a lot of us knew from first hand experience: video trumps text and static graphics.
As useful as this stufy is on one level, ultimately I’d file the study as an example of “interesting, but missing the point.”
First, the interesting part…
The Doubleclick study found that 8% of online video ads generated a measureable user action.
These actions include things like making the video window bigger, altering the video controls, and clicking through to the advertisers landing page. The most common response was hitting the “replay” button which which the study found takes place in .32% all impressions.
The study found that, all things being equal, the clickthrough rate for video ads is five times the clickthrough rate for static image ads.
Imagine that. Five times.
The first question that should come to our minds when we see a number like this is “Will this last or are we experiencing a novelty effect which will wear off?” After all, when banner ads were first introduced, they had a much higher clickthrough rate than they do now.
It’s impossible to predict, but at this point I’d guess that the ratio is going to hold steady. In other words, video ads are going to generate significantly more interaction and clickthroughs than static display ads.
However, there will be radical performance differences among videos and those differences will be determined by two things:
1) How well the video is “sold” and
2) How well the video is designed to stimulate a measurable action
These are two skills that direct response advertisers already excel at and traditional Madison Avenue advertisers are generally pretty clueless at. That would include most advertisers who buy banner ad impressions and are happy merely with measuring impressions and clickthroughs. Their goal is “brand awareness.”
Brand awareness makes sense if: 1) you’re a Pepsi or Toyota and people are already buying what you sell (soft drinks, cars), 2) there’s a well established retail structure for what you sell (supermarkets, car dealers) and 3) you can’t, or choose not to, sell direct to the consumer and can afford the very heavy freight of a brand awareness campaign.
The problem is that the brand awareness model does not work at all for the vast majority of small businesses. Unfortunately, not being aware of the direct response model, they try to emulate what the “Big Boys” are doing and get smashed in the process.
Small businesses must be response advertising driven which means that every ad – every ad – is designed to generate a measuable action…and not just any measurable action (video replays, changing window size), but actions that are part of the buying process.
All that really matters when buying is the issue is:
1. How many saw the video?
2. How many played it?
3. How many people clickthrough to the full ad?
4. How many people who did that opt-in or bought?
The Doubleclick study didn’t bother to look at these numbers because their customers, big “brand awareness” advertisers, aren’t asking for them.
But you should and you should do your own “studies” with your the numbers of your own business. That’s the surest way there is to turn Internet video into a money machine.
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
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P.S. I’ve collected some of the best, most immediately practical articles from this blog into a free report which you can get by going to this web site: http://www.internetvideomarketingletter.com