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Google and AOL teamed up to commission a survey (n=2394) from TNS Media Intelligence, released today, that shows favorable user and advertiser metrics for online video. A few high-level data points are:

— 75 percent of users watch more online video than they did one year ago, and 52 percent expect to watch more over the next year.

— 78 percent feel online video ads offer as much or more capability than television to learn about an advertiser.

— 63 percent say they prefer video advertising in order to keep content free.

The survey also measured response rates from online video, coming up with numbers similar to those in TKG’s User View (results in past post). Specifically 64 percent of the TNS study respondents claimed taking action after seeing a video ad (44 percent went to a Web site, 33 percent to a search engine, 22 percent to a physical store, and 21 percent discussed with friends).

This supports something we’ve said many times — that online video combines the traditional strengths of video advertising (entertaining, informative, ability to elicit emotional response), with the direct response capabilities of the internet.

The trick is to integrate ad formats that catch those reactions and offer an optimal response medium. Video is a double-edged sword in this sense because it is more complex and content-rich than text — offering more potential hooks against which to apply contextually relevant ads — but it’s also a great deal more complex and hard to decipher context in an automated way.

Methods for the Madness

This is behind a great deal of the experimentation happening in online video technologies to apply speech recognition and other ways to decipher meaning and context in order to make video searchable and monetizable. There is also experimentation with formats in the wake of the realization that users largely don’t like pre-roll ads.

Most recently, we’ve seen contextual ad overlays — also known as inline ads — that insert a small (hyperlinked) animated window for a few seconds, during contextually appropriate times in a given video clip. This includes technologies from ScanScout,, Blinkx and YouTube. The latter’s recent introduction of these ads largely shed mainstream media light on the overall space, which will benefit all players in drumming up advertiser and investor interest.

Providing the most favorable format and response capability will become increasingly important if users are indeed responding to online video ads in the ways shown by User View and the TNS survey.

Generally, this also has important local implications in that the popularity of online video, driven by YouTube, will reach a local level in getting users accustomed to watching short video clips as part of their local search experiences. This was echoed loudly during an online video panel discussion at DDC last week.


Related: Two TKG advisories will be released this week on online video advertising including recent news, innovations and product launches from the space. Also related is TKG’s white paper released in May, Online Video: The New Local Advertising Paradigm.

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