Don’t serve ads … serve audiences

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The online videoverse is expanding. We’re watching more of it, on more platforms than ever. And just as marketers who once shunned the Internet’s potential have now come to embrace it, they’re looking for new ways of reaching these fragmented audiences.

Online video ad revenue grew a whopping 125% last year, and eMarketer estimates it will account for 11% of all online ad spending by 2013 – when 85% of Internet users will be online video viewers. In Canada, overall online ad revenue growth topped $1.6 billion in 2008, with video ads accounting for $12 million.

As the demand for quality branded video exceeds the supply, premium brand marketers don’t need more networks that simply serve ads; they need networks that serve audiences. With growth comes the pressure to apply key learnings and improve performance. Improved performance can be achieved with scalable, targeted distribution and measurement. That means combining audiences with data.

Measurement: What’s in a click?

Of course, growth for online video has meant new metrics – and new insights – for marketers to consider. In video, the click means more than a clickthrough. It can deliver meaningful data about exactly who is engaging with content, and how and when and where that engagement happens. Data is more valuable than ever. Networks with flexible technology can provide deeply nuanced analytics and new levels of granular insight into campaigns.

You get that granular insight by, for example, integrating a network with technology such as BlueKai, the intent-focused data exchange. Using this technology, you can identify, users who are interested in or have purchased your products, even if you are not currently targeting that type of user.

When it comes to measurement, we should all know by now that there’s more to metrics than “views on YouTube,” especially when you start “pushing” content to relevant users using, for example, expandable in-banner videos. These are served using the “push model” and can provide both campaign stats and video player stats to insights for optimization and achieving the best ROI. The value of these measurements is in what they reveal about how the user interacts with both your video content and the interface that lets them control it.

The chart below highlights some of the key metrics to watch for…

Table

These metrics also provide windows of optimization opportunity and value for planning future campaigns. In this age of everything real-time, measurement and optimization are the key to improved bottom line results.

For example, if your ad unit contains three calls to action – ‘Send to a friend,’ ‘Download to Facebook,’ and ‘Get a quote’ – and the majority of users are favouring one, it’s an opportunity to optimize the other two. Or, if your expandable in-banner video tries to make a user laugh, and most are abandoning it before it finishes, your video player can help you find exactly what punchline isn’t working for you.

From ad networks to “audience networks”

The future of online video advertising could very easily lie with “audience networks,” not ad networks. This means aggregating an audience with massive reach, but with highly targetable viewer segments and rich data about each of them.

Today, marketers can go beyond portals like YouTube and Metacafe and deliver branded video to web users wherever they are online, whether it’s email, social networks or reading news. And, with the right tools and partners, they can achieve the highly-sought after metric of considerable user engagement.

But this means more than serving ads. It means serving an audience.

Tina Mooney leads the Canadian office of Adconion Media Group. She became the first member of Adconion’s Canadian sales team in January 2008. Adconion Media Group is the largest independent global audience and content network. Adconion also helps in the creation, distribution and monetization of video with its Adconion TV syndication product and branded entertainment subsidiary RedLever which recently developed the fashion series Shop Girls of Madison Lane for TRESemmé.

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