With growing interest in online video and the lack of available inventory, advertisers are scrambling to find new outlets for their online advertising dollars. According to a recent Advertising Age article: “It’s certainly not lack of interest from advertisers, who are clamoring to be around video content. Instead, several factors are holding back online video’s ad-revenue growth: fragmented audiences, limited inventory, (and) a lack of video created specifically for the web” Of particular note are the points regarding lack of inventory and fragmented audiences. While many think of YouTube and other mainstream video sites such as Yahoo! as the most likely vehicles for online video, why couldn’t online Yellow Pages emerge as a leader?
Online Yellow Pages have a broad base of advertisers that are seeking new ways to reach local audiences at an affordable rate. Audiences are well educated, affluent, ready-to-buy customers. Matching the power of online video with the directional nature of IYPs seems to be a good marriage of strengths. Offering online video might also open up avenues for brand advertisers to finally embrace IYPs as a viable advertising medium a long-term desire of Yellow Pages publishers. In these early days of online video adoption, IYPs could stake their claim for the growing ad dollars being spent nationally and locally in this category. Forward-thinking Canpages in Canada has begun offering online video ads for $60 per month based on a 12-month agreement as an initial offering to tap into this growing advertising segment.
On the local side of the equation, offering online video would make these ad units competitive with local cable and broadcast TV as the per-unit ad costs would most likely be more affordable. If video production services could be sourced for small and medium-size companies, a real business could be created for online YP publishers. Driving local searches and local business to locally branded outlets or outlets carrying major brands further strengthens the case.
In a soon-to-be-released User View study conducted by The Kelsey Group (January 2007), consumers were asked if they viewed online video content and what actions they took after viewing the content. Based on the research, 55 percent of respondents indicated they checked out the Web site, 30 percent said they went to the store, and 24 percent made a purchase. These numbers strongly indicate the power and potential of offering online video content.
Imagine a day when a local consumer can search for a home theater supplier on an IYP, see a video promo of the store and be offered the ability to select video of the various brands the store offers. This scenario would make retail promotion and brand extension possible all in one place. Combine this approach with consumer ratings, and IYPs could take on a much more important online marketing role.