Options for Video Advertising Expanding Online

David H. Martin
November 1, 2008
COLUMN : Integrated Marketing | Sales & Marketing

Choices in video advertising were once limited to broadcast or cable TV channels. Now, in addition, dealers can use the Web to showcase their video ads, whether it’s on their own site, or in tandem with search engine marketing and online yellow page ads that now offer the option of adding video to the mix. Dealers can now “multi-purpose” original 30-second spots in a variety of ways.

Search engines are expanding video search capabilities and are integrating video ads into their paid search offerings. Google officially integrated video ads into its AdSense program in May, exposing online advertising to a larger mainstream audience. Google’s video ads are very non-intrusive by presenting a static screenshot that won’t play unless the user clicks. Yahoo and Microsoft are also building their video search inventories. Yahoo will include click-to-call and video content into its next Yahoo Search Marketing update.

Window and door company custom click-to-play video ads can also appear on search pages of the three leading online yellow pages directories. These are www.yellowpages.com, www.superpages.com and www.yellowbook.com

Marketers can expect online video ads to grow in popularity as people move from the TV screen to computer and mobile device screens. This method of ad delivery has promise because most people can choose to view videos as they choose—a pleasant alternative to being inundated with TV ads over which they have no control.

Window and door manufacturers and dealers interested in video advertising have always been faced with two cost considerations: commercial production costs and media advertising expenses. More often than not, companies have tried to keep production costs as low as possible, so as to be able to spend the lion’s share of the total budget on air time.

If dealers choose to run commercials on television, they’ll find many local stations and cable companies receptive to offering free or reduced-price commercial production services. They consider production to be a value-added service offered to new or loyal advertisers. If you intend to run schedules on more than one station or on a combination of broadcast and cable channels, you may have a choice of subsidized production services.

Before choosing a production facility, be sure to ask to see a “reel” of its work for other local advertisers. If you plan to have them shoot at your store or dealership, be sure to have them show you some commercials produced “on location.” When asking for bids on original commercials for TV, ask the producer to also quote the additional cost of formatting the same commercial for online video.
Another option is to ask key vendors if they make available TV commercials with provisions for 6-10 second dealer tags. Many larger manufacturers offer cooperative advertising allowances to dealers who run commercials featuring their products. Be sure to ask for air-quality commercials on tape or DVD. Your local station or cable TV company will almost certainly offer to produce the tag at no cost as part of their value-added service when you buy advertising time. Make sure your tag contains both audio and video mention of your company name and phone number.

As is the case with local television and television stations, online service providers also offer production services. Professionally produced video commercials range in cost from $100 to $1,000 for Google ads placed for its Adwords program, it reports. All three online directory Web sites have hundreds of local videographers under contract to serve dealers in all areas of the U.S.
“Yellowpages.com,” says Tina Stock, a marketing manager for the company, “offers small local businesses two basic types of custom-produced commercials as part of our online search listing program. One is where we send a local videographer to the place of business or a customer’s home. The commercial is taped in less than two hours on location, and edited later. The other is where the commercial is produced from still photos provided by the dealer or retailer, and no location shoot is required.”

Stock reports that the cost ranges between $120 and $840 per finished commercial. “The production cost is bundled with a paid advertising program and requires no money down,” she also notes. “Incidentally, we don’t charge by the amount of traffic—or the number of clicks–that view the video, but rather on a set monthly subscription cost.

Everyone is impressed with the power of video ads to reveal the personality of the small business owner, Stock also reports. “It conveys the added confidence you feel when you know will be dealing with a real person, instead of an impersonal corporate entity. Small-business video makes people feel they are dealing with people who will personally take care of them. We think it’s a great equalizer for small businesses who may be competing with larger companies.”

Online video content is growing by leaps and bounds. Internet video streaming currently accounts for over 30 percent of Internet traffic and is growing rapidly due to the growing availability and use of online video content: user-generated movies, television shows, “live” news footage and special interest videos such as exercise, health, cooking, and more. A recent study showed that six out of 10 Internet users now watch video content online. Studies also show that people now spend as much time on the Internet as they do watching television. With its incredible growth, video advertising often generates 10-30 times more revenue per ad spot than search, banner and other display ad formats.

David H. Martin is president of Lenzi Martin Marketing of Oak Park, Ill., an integrated marketing services firm, blending old media with new. He was previously director of marketing for two window manufacturers and can be reached at 708/848-8404 or www.lenzimartin.com.