TV Spots Don’t Work Online. Here’s What Does ….

Inplace #2

online_video_small.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — I mean sure, we all have lazy days — but seriously, is there nothing more pathetic than some big corporate brand slapping its 30- or 60-second spot up on a website, blasting a big email out and maybe even putting some “uber-cool” badge on its homepage directing customers to “check out our cool new video.” Arrrggggg, please, for the love of Susan Powter, stop the insanity!

We all know how tantalizing video shoots are — they make us feel like junior Bruckheimers and Speilbergs — but the reality is that traditional spot TV does not work on the Internet.

But wait, there is hope for us! Video does work, you just have to be smarter about it.

Every ad exec knows you wouldn’t repurpose a magazine ad for the direct mail channel. Both are print, but with very different strengths and uses. Same holds true with TV and online. Both have screens, but TV only allows for a passive viewer where online requires an active one. Marketers need to give into the online user’s need to participate with our brands and step up the game of online video.

In today’s world, visual language is evolving faster than the spoken or written word. Just look at the iconography of iPhone apps, the coverflow of iTunes, share/add this icons or even user ratings of products. Even new search engines (checkout deliver images or videos for your keyword searches instead of content blocks. Online is the place where words and pictures do work well together and conversations can evolve. With the social media shift, why not use the Web to drive conversations with your customers, and why not do it with smart video?

Regurgitating 30-second spot for online consumption doesn’t lend well to conversation. They are mass marketing “at” the customer, not a means to talking “with” the customer. Sure, slapping your commercial on YouTube gets you quick and free feedback that used to take weeks in surveys and focus groups, but what does it drive the customer to do if they are already online? Rethink the use of video in the online space. It needs to be entertaining, interactive, tell a story and have a strong call to action.

Here are three key tips to get you started:

Forrester Consulting reveals in its “Watching The Web: How Online Video Engages Audiences” study that engaged viewers (those who watch more than an hour of online video a week) make up nearly 40 percent of all online video viewers and watch nearly 75 percent of all online video.

Making video ads compelling stories will make these engaged viewers more likely to watch the video all the way through and have a greater ability to recall the ad. And for less-engaged viewers, great storytelling will be just as engaging, the only difference is the play time tolerance will likely be less than that of an engaged viewer. The more active the mindset — the more action will be taken.


Vendors are working to create social online ads that allow for ratings and user-generated feedback. Rich media ad units have been moving toward enticing the user to interact with the ad by placing games, booking engines and watching trailers inside the ads. Why would a video ad be any different?

Giving options for the user to explore your brand or offer within the ad unit or on the page the video appears only engages the viewer more. It gives them control, plus it implies there is post-click value for their participation.

Strong call to action

According to a recent Online Publishers Association report, 80 percent of U.S. online video users have watched an advertisement in an online video. Of those people, 52 percent took action after watching that video. A new form of online ads are taking shape — Direct Response Online Video. Just like DRTV and DM, DROV will make a hard sell to the user to take an action. The key will be providing an easy and seamless post-click experience to successfully complete the required action.

First video killed the radio, now it’s gonna hijack the TV? People have been speculating that the Internet will replace TV, but now some argue that anything you can do online you will be able to do through your TV one day. Obviously it comes down to the user’s goals and convenience needs. Either way, ads will need to work harder for brands and be more interactive for viewers.

Let’s stop being lazy and get some practice making online videos for the active viewer.