Marketers fail to seize internet’s branding mother load

I recently wrote about the way
video is bringing major changes to internet content.
This is a big deal. Online video
already plays a massive and unique role in the lives of the UK
population. Whether it’s an embedded YouTube clip on a blog, a professional news
clip on the Telegraph or Guardian websites or even a full length programme or
film from Channel 4, Sky or the upcoming Love Film service.

However, with the exception of some
major brands, TV and digital marketers are completely missing the biggest
branding opportunity the internet is giving them because they aren’t taking the
time to understand it. Something we hope to rectify with the launch of our new
Online Video Marketing Guide (

Ride the popular
content bandwagon

Viral videos like T-Mobile’s dancing
in Liverpool
Street are great. However, it’s not just about
creating a viral ad, but riding on the success of viral content. Would I have
liked to advertise around Susan Boyles clip on YouTube? You bet I would. Yet I
looked on in marketing horror as little to no advertising appeared in or around
the video clip on the 150 million + views she’s created. People love her, the
emotional association is huge. What a waste!

Imagine if no one advertised around
the Olympic opening ceremony, or ahead of the upcoming Star Trek movie. Susan is
just the tip of the iceberg and thankfully, behind the scenes, the cogs are
turning to stop this from happening again (see Guardian and BrandRepublic articles).


No matter the length of video
content, if someone has chosen to watch that clip they are engrossed. As long as an advert is
tailored to suit that particular type and length of video content, it won’t be
intrusive and it will deliver branding and association that marketers crave.
This level and type of engagement can’t be achieved via any other channel. With
on-demand, you are guaranteed that the entire audience is interested in that
type of content.

I’m not just talking about
pre/mid/post-roll advertising either, there are some fantastic online video ad
formats available to suit any form of content like adverts around the player
rather than in it. These can be ideal for short content, the bulk of online

Pre-roll has had a rough time online
because it hasn’t been used properly. Marketers are too quick to plonk a
repurposed pre-roll online. This is fine on long content viewed full screen, but
inappropriate for shorter content or smaller players. Online pre-roll takes over
the entire user experience, engages consumers when done well and offers the same
branding as a TV ad, but it needs to be filmed or edited with online in

Barriers are a
poor excuse

Over the last six months I listened
intently to the vast majority of the video industry explain to me the various
barriers to adoption for advertisers, primarily:

  1. Education
  2. Format
  3. Case studies /
  4. Research
  5. Measurement
  6. Perception of
  7. Technology

Education, research, format
guidelines and examples we obviously hope to tackle with our new guide, and will
continue to do so as we add to it. Technology is already good and improving
quickly. Perception of high CPMs is something the industry has to address itself
by explaining the added ROI it offers, but measurement is a real bugbear of

Online video advertising is still
young, as such there is more to be done in this area, but measurement of online
video is still leagues ahead of TV. Perhaps it will be necessary for more
3rd party tracking and further industry initiatives to offer an advanced
planning currency to get over this hurdle. But is that really a reason to miss
out on a great opportunity in the meantime when it already offers so much?
Personally I think it would be a terrible oversight.

  • http://

    Hi jack,

    I’ve read a load of interesting blogs recently as probaby many of you have gathered. You’re absolutely right. The potential is enormous, especially in the way of viral campaigns linked to individual personal preferences as you can then ensure you are targetting the right audience within reason as the difference between TV and online is TV tends to be a group activity with channel selection chosen by the dominant individual within the peer group whereas Online is an individual activity between peer groups, meaning you can target closer. However, as Susan Boyle has proven, TV is still the mass audience performer, and online the amplifier. This will only change with the extinction of the television.