Hold On Tight!

In Part One of this column last week, co-author Martin Betoni (formerly of PointRoll) discussed the impact video has had on traditional online advertising and why now is the time to embrace this technology and implement it in your existing online ad strategy.

PointRoll and AccuStream recently published The Streaming Video Advertising Reference Guide, which offers agencies and advertisers the guidance needed to effectively utilize interactive video ads to maximize their campaigns’ success.

There’s no denying that video has had a significant impact on Web advertising and is continuing to grow. For example, in March 2006, PointRoll doubled the total number of video impressions delivered in March 2005, and will eclipse the total number of video campaigns running in 2005 during the first four months of 2006 alone. We’ve also run video campaigns for as many unique advertisers in the first quarter of 2006 as we did in all of 2005. This reinforces our belief that there’s no way to rewind the rapid progression of online video advertising. So, we know where we’ve been, we know where we are … but where are we headed?

With video’s growth come several market and technology development trends that benefit advertisers, publishers and users.

Breaking Down (Subscription) Walls

There is a move toward publishing more ad- supported, high quality content in open-access areas, and a move away from placing high- value content behind subscription services, where users must pay to view content.

However, even subscription-only content, such as CNN Pipeline or AOL broadband content, is not free of advertising. The long-established model of cable television appears to be one that is also working in a broadband and Internet video environment.

Follow the Leader

There is tremendous innovation taking place at the application level aimed at creating a more “TV-like” experience, where online video content is segmented and presented to users via genre-specific channels. This enables greater video content to be presented more effectively than in a one-click/one-stream programming approach. This is creating longer length of view per session, more content views and more available video inventory.

Flash Point

Flash is becoming one of the most widely adopted streaming ad formats online, second only to Windows Media Player. The integrated production and publishing features of Flash, instant on characteristics, penetration at the agency and developer levels, installed base of user PCs and overall brand loyalty by the creative community suggest very strong support for the format over time.

Simply put, the increased adoption of Flash technologies provides limitless possibilities for online video ads. As the industry continues to support this format as a standard, we can only anticipate greater innovation and creative applications. PointRoll has already begun implementing the advantages of Flash’s latest set of features with campaigns that include:

• Interactive video—ads that creatively entice users to participate with the ad unit itself to find additional product/brand information (i.e., choose-your-own-adventure scenarios).

• Alpha-channeled videos—also referred to as “green screen.” Video footage is placed on top of the Flash layer to allow for a more engaging and interactive user experience.

• In-page-synced Flash ads—where multiple ads on the same page interact, fostering ownership of the page as a whole without being intrusive to the user.

These trends not only increase audience reach and enable larger media buys, but also increase overall share of broadcast media buying at the advertiser and agency levels.

I think Bob Dylan put it best when he said, “The future for me is already a thing of the past.” In many ways, the same can be said for online video advertising. Future technologies are already knocking on our doors. And as technology continues to affect and shape our industry, it is our responsibility to adapt and integrate innovations into meaningful solutions that ultimately benefit publishers, advertisers and users.

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