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Pros & Cons: Online video advertising

Yeah, sure, online video advertising is gaining traction and most probably here to stay. The expanse of the digital reach is mind blowing. Be that as it may, marketers aren’t jumping onto the bandwagon as fast as agencies, and even consumers, would prefer.

Research after research has been released supporting the effectiveness of digital integrated campaigns, but the hesitation of placing a bulk of ad spends into digital is still prevalent. Agency folks claim clients are too ‘old school’ or ‘stuck on traditional methods’, lagging the overall progress in Malaysia compared to mature markets. Despite the sluggish adaptation of local and global brands in the country to digital, Google Malaysia reported a high growth of online video advertisement among brands in early 2012.

There are, always, two sides to every coin. Let’s look at the Pros and Cons.

Pros

  • It costs less. The online platform is cheaper than traditional medium. Why? Because it is boundless. Gone are the days when marketers had to budget its talent and creative scripts, production team and air time slots in order to launch a campaign. Brands can share their values and identity through series of advertisements and still save a pretty penny at the end of the whole shebang.
  • Results come in real-time. The measurement of a successful marketing campaign lies in the number of feedback and sales it sees. Brands can track the behaviour of its ad on a minute to minute basis, down to the location of the viewers. Of course, online platforms also encourage consumer engagement, which provides brands with real-time feedback in which they can take action on immediately.
  • Not limited to one format. The digital universe is limitless, as long as the codes are in your favour. Marketers and agencies can design and build ads in rich media formats which include URL link, expandable banners, and call-to-action via hashtags or click-through. Of course, there are also standard ads, which are fail proof and surprisingly more effective in driving click-through. Less is more.
  • Always with the consumer and available on multi-screen. Let’s face it, online video is available in your back pocket, on your desktop and will be disrupting your upcoming romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. The platform is everywhere there’s a screen. What more could a marketer ask for in terms of exposure?
  •  Global domination. With online video, a campaign is no longer limited to local engagement, but global exposure. The web is an incredible tool that reaches every crevice of the world, except the countries with no broadband penetration or enforced bans. The wish of a marketer is to create content that is worty of viral status.

Cons

  • You can’t force viewership. Well, if someone has already seen it once, chances are they wouldn’t want to sit through it again; unless that is your ad is so amazingly creative and interesting that viewers will loop that 3-15 minutes 47 times everyday. The only thing you can hope for is critical mass (sharing). And admit it, you all love that “Skip ad” option and get sort of annoyed when you have to wait 5 seconds to do so.
  • Wrong slot, ouch! Online video ads can be placed in the wrong slot, wrong time. For example, a working professional is not going to be browsing through the web at peak working hours; likewise, students when school is in session. Booking the right slot is probably more elusive than a solving a mystery murder case.
  • Well, that was awkward. Brands generally prefer not to appear on content that are adverse or inappropriate. Unfortunately, there’s no way to regulate or prevent that from occurring.
  • There’s not enough data to justify the ad space. There is no proper measurement for reach. The web’s reach is rather vast, but that vastness also means limited information on viewers and, ultimately, consumers. There is no way of tracing the effectiveness of online video ads to profit. If marketers can’t justify its investment and support it with figures, how would controllers and financial chiefs be assured the budget was a smart move?

What’s your take?

 
Parminderjit Kaur
Journalist
Advertising+Marketing Magazine Malaysia

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