Is Online Video Living Up to the Hype?1 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response
While still in its early stages of growth, online video has already changed the media marketplace and spawned a number of breathless predictions regarding what many see as the eventual replacement of television media.
While no such pronouncements are forthcoming in the pages of Response, online video proves itself — day in and day out — as an ever more valuable tool for all marketers, including those in the direct response space. Still, the jury remains out on just how effective online video will become for DR marketers.
"It won't be long before every product sold or advertised on the Internet has a video component," says Timothy R. Hawthorne, founder, chairman and executive creative director for Fairfield, Iowa-based Hawthorne Direct. "Embedded videos in E-mails plus mobile video ads will be commonplace. The jury is out as to whether we can translate the success of DRTV into these new media."
One of the issues seemingly hampering online video's effectiveness for DR marketers is cost. Opines Doug Garnett, president of Portland, Ore.-based Atomic Direct, "Cost expectations for online video are a developing problem. In some quarters, the erroneous idea seems to have come about that online video is inexpensive to produce — after all, the CEO can record video with his own Webcam! Unfortunately, creating video that has long-term impact takes most of the same effort it takes to create broadcast-quality work. Scripting, creative concepts, talent and graphics are critical in Web video. Too many marketers are being encouraged to throw anything on the Web — we've even seen some DRTV agencies with questionable video on YouTube. This practice clutters the Web and doesn't achieve anything. At the same time, the work disappears into the clutter of 'user-produced' work, most of which is dull and uninformative. What we've seen lately is that the communication quality of online video drives its effectiveness. So clients are generally best off to post less video and have it deliver more impact."
The questions surrounding the effectiveness of online video in the DR space seem to be as boundless as the promise of the technology itself. With that in mind, Response turned to its Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) with a set of questions about the space for this, the second quarterly edition of the 2009 Editorial Advisors Forum.
How crucial is the online video component becoming to direct response campaigns?
Brian Fays, MTV Networks: Given the pressure on all DR campaigns, it's becoming part of our everyday negotiations with buyers and brand managers. Sorting through the red tape internally to get the value into the client's hands is our goal.
Doug Garnett, Atomic Direct: It's very critical. Video is great for demonstration and customers demand many levels of information and content before purchasing. The public has come to expect video to be available for any topic or product they can imagine. Also, consumers looking to purchase a product they've seen on TV often want to see the video again to confirm what they saw before purchasing.
Timothy R. Hawthorne, Hawthorne Direct: Since Web-driven orders can account for up to 50 percent of a DRTV campaign, online video is now just as critical to the success of a DRTV product as the infomercial or spot itself. It's a must for every DRTV product's landing page to include all or a portion of the DRTV commercial "above the fold." In addition, we've found that when you add additional sales-oriented video "briefs," such as "raving fan" testimonial clips, product demos, expert endorsements, etc., below the fold, the impact to online sales is significant.
Toni Knight, WorldLink: Online video is a compelling and important part of the overall media mix, allowing direct response marketers to reach engaged consumers in a very narrow and targeted environment. This is a definite growth area for the industry, delivering ROI and serving as the perfect fit for DR.
Fern Lee, Factor Nutrition Labs: In today's socioeconomic environment, no campaign can meet its full ROI goal without the most current online marketing tools.