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Figuring Out the Best Fit for Online Video

How marketers can make the most of the fastest-growing digital ad format

January 31, 2011

Ad-ology’s “2011 Small Business Marketing Forecast” showed small businesses are interested in using more online video—45% of business owners said they would do more with online video in the coming year. At the same time, 22% said they were frustrated with trying to understand online advertising. Before too much time and money are wasted on videos, marketers should keep in mind the following research on video viewership.

First, if your goal is to reach other businesses, don’t expect to engage older executives with in-stream ads. According to Forbes Insights, young executives (under 40, in this study) are comfortable watching an in-stream ad accompanying an online video, and a smaller but still high percentage are less bothered by “must-watch” in-stream ads. However, older execs (ages 50 and older) are far less tolerant of such advertising.

Attitudes of US Executives Toward Watching In-Stream Online Video Ads, by Age, Oct 2010 (% of respondents)

Still, video grabs more attention than text on a webpage. In the same survey, 59% of executives said they would watch a video first, even if video and text appeared on the same page.

On the consumer side, found that ads that showed how a product works generated the highest response rate among people looking for consumer electronics. And even the oldest consumers said they were more interested in such informative video ads than ones that were funny, offered interactive polls and games, or had “a lot of color and nice pictures.”

Where is the best place to place your video ad? serves the greatest number of video ads, at 42.4 ads per viewer, according to comScore data. However, Hulu also served more than 1 billion video ads in November, so the overall audience reach was only 9%. SMBs would be better off using an ad network such as Tremor Media,, BrightRoll or Nabbr—all of which made comScore’s top-10 list of online video properties for November 2010. Other sites included Microsoft, CBS, Google and AOL.

Top 10 Online Video Properties Among US Internet Users, Ranked by Ads Viewed, Nov 2010

Marketers thinking of investing more money in video advertising this year must decide who their target audience is and what its interest in their product, service or brand would be. Use product demonstrations to get your company’s message across, and don’t let your video get lost in the crush on megasites like Hulu. Your real target audience may be more engaged elsewhere.

The full version of this article is available here, to eMarketer Total Access clients only.

Check out today’s other article, “Consumers Expect Mobile Ads to Inform.”


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