Much is being written and said these days about the rising future of online video advertising. Recent articles like one in the NY Times reporting Google’s move to test video ads in search results pages shows that the once abstract promise of online video advertising is now upon us.
But what are the repercussions for small businesses from online video advertising, and how will it impact their presence in search results?
In the coming months, I will take a look at this question from many angles, including case studies, as well as weaving in some other anecdotes from participating small businesses which are using online video ads today. For now, let’s set a general foundation for how small businesses can benefit from the integration of video ads into search results.
The power of video: It’s obvious. Video is and always has been among the most powerful ways to advertise. Video can enable businesses to leverage sight, sound, and motion to create an emotive and more memorable connection with potential customers. Coupled with the fact that people are bombarded every day with emails, text-laden web sites, and oftentimes annoying banner ads, the early opportunity for small businesses here is that online video ads have the ability to break through the clutter and communicate meaningful information.
For example, and jumping ahead a bit, if I’m a consumer searching on a major engine for a type of local small business, say a real estate agent or car dealer, chances are good I’ll naturally gravitate to a search result that has a video, where most others do not: I can just click on this, rather than sift through the layers of text-based results. It’s just a faster way to digest information.
In short, the power of online video is to help small businesses stand out. We’ll explore how small businesses are doing just that in future columns.
Online video viewing is big: Another obvious but critical point is that video is just more accepted and accessible online now than ever before. According to a study by comScore, consumers viewed more than 10 billion videos online in December of 2007. Consumers are finally getting used to accessing video online. The projections that US broadband penetration is expected to break 90% by mid-2008 adds fuel to the notion that the 10 billion figure will surely be surpassed this year.
Video creates a level playing field for small businesses: For years, when it comes to video, there’s been a series of unfair advantages in the favor of big companies: Video creation was expensive. Buying media was even more expensive. Clients relied heavily on agencies to get the message right – because once you paid the hundreds of thousands for creative, it better be built to last.
Today, creating compelling videos is very accessible to small businesses at a fraction of the cost that big companies pay. But beyond affordable creation, small businesses crave the ability to measure and alter the creative in order to maximize their return. It’s having the ability to get more out of their video online without huge “change order” costs that makes it accessible for small business. This is an area we’ll explore more deeply in future columns through case studies.
Interactivity makes the difference: Sure, a computer monitor is smaller than most new flat screen televisions, but most people view a computer about a foot away from their screen, versus television watchers who are most likely sitting on a barcalounger across the room. Online video forces attention, and the Internet offers the capability for small businesses to directly leverage this.
Web technology allows online video advertising to be more than a passive show, offers a more lasting impression (since it is not limited to a 15 or 30 second commercial), and is a way for viewers to interact and take action in ways they still cannot with television.
Relevance of the story still matters: Just as is the case with ‘traditional’ web sites, there are a series of considerations a small business needs to keep in mind to ensure that its video is good, and subsequently attractive and relevant to search engines. We will devote a future column to this subject as well, but the cliff-notes preview is that many of the same rules that apply to traditional SEO apply to video: You can deploy keywords throughout the presentation, but you also have to make sure that your VideoAd has a consistent and focused theme as well, all of which will make it more relevant to search engines…and ultimately consumers.
The bottom line? Online video advertising plus search engines equals an opportunity for small businesses to tell their brand story by integrating relevant content, testimonials, product demonstrations, promotions, and more.
This is an exciting time for everyone involved with online video: And small businesses stand to be among the biggest beneficiaries of this emerging medium. .
I look forward to checking in each month with some thoughts and updates for Search Engine Land from the front lines.
Glenn Pingul is VP of marketing for Mixpo, an online video advertising company dedicated to small- and medium-sized businesses. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.