The use of video and podcasting is of increasing importance to Internet marketers, according to an industry specialist. New Media Knowledge gauged the industry on how to best capitalise on audio and video marketing.
Speaking at the Technology for Marketing and Advertising 2009 exhibition recently, Phil Turnbull, marketing manager of international hosting firm Hostway, said that online video and audio marketing was set to increase rapidly. Recent statistics seem to back this up.
Internet watchers at comScore estimate that US Web users viewed 12.7 billion online videos during November 2008, while ABI Research estimates that Internet video viewer numbers will grow by more than two-thirds by 2013, up to 941 million from 563 million last year.
NMK spoke to a number of industry players to see how Internet marketers can best tap into this rapidly expanding audience.
Snack and Share
The Internet has made video marketing more accessible for organisations, meaning marketers can better target audiences and link them to wider campaigns, according to Guy Westlake, a senior product marketing manager at enterprise content management firm Vignette.
“Content ‘snacking’ and the explosion of user-generated content mean that video segments are increasingly being tagged and shared across user communities, meaning videos are often viewed by huge audiences,” Westlake told NMK. “This provides excellent return on investment as you only have to provide the content and consumers subsequently tag, share and comment on it, creating a buzz at little cost to the business.”
Westlake cited the BBC’s website as a good example of video and audio engagement with its audience, allowing viewers to share their own experience, for example, during the recent heavy snow in the UK.
Customer is King
For Stuart Aplin, account director at new media agency Steak, companies engaging in video and audio marketing campaigns must have clear objectives in mind before setting out and must consider the customer’s viewpoint.
“[Video and audio marketing] absolutely must be user initiated. There’s a fine line between eye-catching, engaging content and intrusive, annoying advertising,” he said. “Imagine a site with three placements all playing video with sound automatically enabled. As a user would you like the experience? As a client would you pay for that cacophony?”
Aplin believes the best rich media ads provide an entertaining and informative experience, often with unique content and utilising a range of social media or sharing apps, while the worst rich media ads simply use video and audio for the sake of it and haven’t been created to provide any worthwhile engagement. Consequently, these have a negative effect on the overall brand experience, he argues.
Aplin also believes that the length of pre-roll ads should be proportional to the length of the clip the user is about to watch.
“It’s also worth explicitly stating that the content is free because of the advertising. People are more willing to watch the ad if it’s somewhat relevant and they know they’re getting something out of it,” he concluded.
Measure for Measure
Measuring the success of a video or audio campaign is another area which marketers are struggling with. For video, purely numbers of viewers does not necessarily tell you who viewed it and for how long, though data capture tools may go somewhere to helping at the outset, specialists agree.
Above: Lucie Follett, Maven Metrics
But for podcasting there are no real agreed standards of measurement, according to Lucie Follett, director of Web analytics services company Maven Metrics.
“Broadly speaking, [measurement] falls into two camps. Firstly, measurement of downloads or subscribers, which can include number of hits to file, number of downloads, number of RSS feed subscribers and podcast directory user statistics. Secondly, measurement of ‘engagement’, which attempts to infer user behaviour and intent. This includes visitor reviews and comments as well as visitor influence,” Follett said.
As audio and video advertising becomes more mainstream, it will become increasingly important to keep it simple for consumers, according to Derek Dunlop, senior business consultant at media consultancy EMC Consulting.
“It is important for the user to be in control, rather than pushing them straight through to video and audio. They need to be aware it is happening and how to manage it,” Dunlop concluded. “We can expect to see a seismic shift in advertising patterns over the next year. With an increase in online viewing numbers will come more targeted advertising through location-based services and possibly individual brands sponsoring one show, similar to the Sprint deal with [TV show] 24 in the US.”