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Editorial Advisory Board

Is Online Video Living Up to the Hype?

1 Jun, 2009 By: Thomas Haire Response

What are the three biggest drawbacks currently hampering online video's growth as a DR marketing outlet?

Fays: Advertiser pushback to spend time and money to get the ball rolling; internal issues at the networks to get DR in the mix; and overall knowledge of online video is lacking in the DR world.

Garnett: First, getting anyone to watch. Especially, getting a target audience to watch your video. One viewer online is worth much more than a single "impression." But, it remains difficult to drive viewership of online video beyond the 10s or 100s of views. Saturation is another problem. Since video has become "cheap," the Internet is tremendously cluttered with very bad video. Even with the best tagging and drive for viewership, consumers may only rarely pick your exceptionally powerful and communicative video out from amongst the vast pile of video trash. A third major problem is with individual computer settings or technical difficulties. While we may have high-speed connections and the latest viewing software for any and all types of compression, there are still a great many consumers who don't. Yes, and some still even browse the Web on dial-up. We need to recognize this in our plans and carefully choose the minimum technology required to view our postings.

Hawthorne: The Internet has yet to prove itself as a standalone DR video channel, something that those of us in the DRTV world would love to see develop. Although video is a valuable component for a product landing page, you can't introduce a product and close the sale strictly using video (pre-, mid- and post-rolls or video display ads), as you can on broadcast and cable because:

1. Online video avail costs are too expensive

2. Online video viewers are too engaged with the content they're viewing/reading; they find direct response videos obtrusive, which results in negligible response

3. Online video advertising is moving toward shorter and shorter commercial lengths: 15 seconds and shorter will soon be the norm; this is antithetical to "the more you tell the more you sell" axiom of DRTV

Knight: While online video ads are more efficient than TV, they are more expensive than traditional banners. If they are obtrusive, you can risk alienating users who want an uninterrupted online viewing experience. And consumers display different behaviors between traditional and new media. For instance, DR clients like running longer creatives while online users prefer shorter content. Also, the effectiveness of online video can be difficult to measure in instances in which a client puts the same creative on both broadcast and online. We recommend using separate creative and different 800 numbers to track the effectiveness of using online campaigns in the overall media mix.

Lee: I really don't believe there are any big drawbacks, though many marketers believe it will take away a piece from their already existing marketing pie.


1. Price of available online video media is cost prohibitive

2. Consumers are not yet passively watching online video as they do TV; they watch a short video and surf on to the next Web site

3. Most online video is user generated, which is not all suitable for a product ad


1. Expense

2. Execution

3. Customer experience


1. Lack of coordination with TV networks/dayparting, etc. — videos are really themselves ads or snippets seeking a broader audience, which compounds how effective they can be; they are extremely niche, however interactive TV adoption will supplement how watchers will use these videos

2. Videos need to be found — they are not broadcast and as such cannot find mass audiences, leaving the marketer completely dependent upon the whims of the user watching the video

3. Analytics — getting critical, trustworthy tracking in place on video and related social media sites is still developing; this is an important point — are your call centers linked to this expanding channel?

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