Online Video Killed the radio Star

According to a recent comScore study comparing video advertising viewed online to other media, 15% of U.S. born and 17% of foreign born Hispanics said they pay more attention to online video ads than TV spots. In the same study, 17% of U.S. born and 26% of foreign born Hispanics said that online video ads are more engaging than TV ads. This increased appeal of video ads is likely due to the relative scarcity of such ads on the Hispanic Internet compared with traditional display advertising. Essentially, the novelty of online video advertising is still some- Style, Celebrity and Wellness Reign in Latina Magazine Market what fresh, and therefore more impacting. As these ads become more commonplace, their higher engagement levels will likely fall. The message is clear: The sooner Hispanic advertisers embrace this format the better in terms of achieving optimal engagement levels among their targets. Asked recently whether she had the sense that ad dollars were moving away from print and into online, Rachel Stayduhar, media analysis supervisor at American Communications Group said, “This is definitely a concern,” adding, “Our agency only deals with the print side, so we don’t know if they are moving budgets to other media in all cases, but many are using some of the money to invest more into online/ digital.”
Ilia Leon, until recently the director of multicultural advertising for Zenith Optimedia, tells Portada that the company is currently placing more online video ads for their clients than previously. “Virtually all sites offer video opportunities,” she says. “There are video networks that blast our commercials to several sites, which extends our reach while maintaining efficiencies; you can run video in gaming sites, network sites like ABC.com; news sites, etc. We have to evaluate the overall campaign goals, the product, and the message in order to place the media with the right partner.”

Underscoring the rising profile of online video advertising in the marketplace is Punto Fox's recent purchase of online video advertising network uTarget. Punto Fox (.Fox) is now able to install online video technology in its publisher network in the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America. These include 15-second clickable pre-rolls, contextual videos and persistent in-page videos as well as video pop-unders and interstitials.“uTarget has added a video advertising dimension to .Fox Networks. It enhances not only the portfolio of current products offered by .Fox Networks, but also creates today’s most attractive advertising video combination: TV + online,” says Hector Costa, Senior VP/ Managing Director of .Fox. Rafael Hernandez, Director of U.S. Hispanic Online Sales for .Fox, adds, “The company’s current TV advertisers can now expand their reach by using .Fox Networks’ video products.” Some interactive marketers like Media 8’s Paul Suskey recommend moving beyond placing TV ads online and developing content tailored to the online medium. “We are certainly seeing more demand for video creation,and it’s at the heart of every recommendation we make,” notes Suskey. “Taking a 30-second spot and just throwing it online may not have the desired effect. We tend to favor customized videoplayer skins linking out to e-commerce. Also, thirty seconds online is very lengthy. We tend to go toward more impacting 15-second spots.”  

Growth

That the online video advertising market is growing is not in question— everyone agrees on that point. However, the rate at which it is growing is unclear. Some, such as Allied Media’s Hispanic Marketing Strategist Cristina Martinez, say that video advertising is still not widely available through Hispanic websites: “While most well-known Hispanic websites have started offering video content to their visitors, not all websites necessarily offer video ads such as pre/post rolls or overlays because the demand for this type of advertising is still not great in the Hispanic market,” says Martinez. In addition, while advertisers must pay for video ads, they can just as easily post videos on the sites that serve as ads but are free.” Martinez is referring to the growing trend of advertisers posting their ads online through free video hosting sites like YouTube. This is a good way to leverage existing video advertising content, as it opens one’sproduct up to the masses and costs nothing to post. A Spanish-language Coca-Cola commercial posted on YouTube last year has received almost 400,000 page views, by people willingly viewing the commercial, at no cost to the company. Martinez adds that placing these video ads on various online platforms improves search engine organic listing through appropriate optimization of the video clips.

“The effect is impressive results at a fraction of the cost,” she concludes. The issue of willingness to view advertisements figures heavily into the online video advertising debate. Batanga’s Rick Marroquin says that while his site is actively pursuing different  strategies to incorporate video advertising, they are being  careful about how they do it: “People have been resistant to pre-roll video advertising because in some sense it can be a brand detractor if the viewer feels like he is being held captive. You want to be low-impact about it. One interesting thing some sites are experimenting with is giving the viewer the option of watching a 2-minute movie trailer before the video to provide uninterrupted viewing thereafter, or watching short interstitials throughout the program, like people do with TV.”

Punto Fox's Costa say that the Hispanic and Latin American online video advertising markets are growing at a high rate. “We can see the growth not only in the inventory availability of our network, but also in the increase of advertiser requests for this type of media. According to Jupiter Research, the percentage of UK Internet users watching online video leaped from 8% in 2006 to almost 30% in 2007,” says Costa.

There are no precise figures about the size of the Hispanic and Latin American online video advertising markets. “We know it is big, but there is not one research entity yet that can show us the real number. Viral videos are still difficult to be track, and we still depend on publisher data,” Hernandez tells Portada.

Help me help you... 

One way to make users more willing to watch video advertisements is by giving them a choice, as in the example that Batanga’s Marroquin cited. Another way to go is to offer them something of value within the advertising. Last summer, home improvement giant Home Depot ran a multi-episode ad campaign on Univision called “Handyman al Rescate” that sought to boost its products with entertaining and instructional how-to videos. 
“The premise is tackling different home repair issues. Handyman al Rescate was a six-part series, and in each one a handyman would go to someone’s house and fix there problem using Home Depot products,” says Nils von Zelowitz, VP, Associate Director Direct and Digital Marketing at the Vidal Partnership, who co-produced the series with Univision’s production staff. Univision.com had a special channel featuring the footage. The video screen was surrounded by banner advertisements in the roadblock style. “We know that the Hispanic audience over-indexes in terms of consumption of dynamic content on the web, including video. Therefore, any type of video content is likely to be potentially effective. Handyman brings together relevance (do it yourself expertise from The Home Depot) with the understanding that our audience consumes video,” says von Zelowitz.

Allied Media’s Cristina Fernandez believes that ads like Home Depot’s Handyman al Rescate can be viewed as online video infomercials. “In these types of videos, the content is relevant to the intended target viewers, therefore the viewers become the ones seeking these videos for their funny/educational content instead of the advertisers seeking

the viewers. These are ads that viewers want to see. This form of advertising is very effective and builds momentum because it allows viewers to share the videos through social networking websites like Facebook and other Web sites. The Challenges Technically, accommodating online video is becoming less of a challenge.
As Allied Media’s Cristina Martinez notes, “Online video technology and platforms are becoming available and more accessible to website owners and online media. For instance, online video hosting is offered by many of the major online video distribution websites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Brightcove and others; therefore, bandwidth issues are not raised to video content providers.”
While the technical challenges of placing video ads online are receding, the logistical challenges remain in choosing which form of video advertising to use. Ilia Leon tells Portada, “Video preroll and interstitials are preferred—they perform better and are more prominent on the page,” says Leon. “We don't purchase pop-unders, and post-rolls just aren't as impacting as pre-rolls.” Media 8’s Paul Suskey agrees: Popups and pop-unders we generally exclude, partly because the technology to block such ads is so prevalent, but also because it can be irritating to the user and therefore undermine your campaign.”

Regardless of the particular approach, the ultimate challenge is to engage users via online video advertising. “The focus should be to make ads within online video more engaging to the enduser,” says .Fox’s Rafael Hernandez. “Otherwise ads will be ignored and money wasted. Making ads more personalized, based on the user’s interests and viewing history is a good first step.”


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