Thursday + Gregory Huffstutter = The Ad Man Answers
Thursday + Gregory Huffstutter = The Ad Man Answers
Q: I've created a commercial for my book launch, but realized I can't afford to run it on TV... any other options?
A: Back in the olden days of television -- like 2004 -- when you missed your favorite show, you were SOL until summer re-runs.
But now, thanks to improvements in online video players, you can watch full episodes of recently-aired, Prime-time shows right on your computer. Networks like ABC and FOX make these available because:
A) They help maintain and build the show’s fan base – which ideally leads to higher TV ratings, in turn leading to higher future advertising rates and possible syndication
B) They provide an additional revue stream, as the networks sell new commercials within the online re-broadcast
And it’s not just the major networks getting into the act… it seems like every website now contains some kind of video clips. Sports highlights, local news updates, magazines, radio stations, everywhere you look, you’ll find video content – including sneak peeks, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage – begging to be sponsored.
In fact, there’s so much available content, today it’s a relatively uncluttered environment for advertisers. Traditional TV programs can contain as many as 40 commercials per hour, but an online replay of a popular show like “Prison Break” might be sponsored by a only a single advertiser.
Best of all, it’s TiVo proof. With TV commercials, you know a certain % of people are going to skip over the ads if they have a DVR. And another % will leave the room during commercials to get food, go to the bathroom, etc. With pre-roll video, however, the consumer has selected that they wish to view that particular content, and they’re willing to watch your commercial – which usually can’t be skipped – to do so.
Studies have shown higher response rates for web-specific commercials vs. repurposed TV spots, but it’s not a deal breaker. According to MediaWeek, the online agency Carat Fusion recycled 15-second and 30-second TV spots from the latest Hyundai campaign, “Smart Thinking,” and search queries related to that campaign more than tripled in the first four days of the online video ad’s run.
“Results like those may have something to do with the notion that Web surfers are intrigued by a form of ad delivery that’s still relatively new,” says MediaWeek. “But in time, insiders say, the coolness factor will wear off, making it more difficult for marketers to elicit the same positive response from online video ads, be they original or repurposed.”
But in the meantime… it’s the Wild West on your computer screen. Website operators coming up with new content, sometimes on an hourly basis, to entertain visitors. Advertisers starting to plant flags while figuring out how much budget they should allocate in the future.
So why isn’t everyone buying online video commercials? First, it takes longer to build an audience. A commercial on daytime cable can easily reach over 100,000 people with a single airing. But to get the same impressions online, running pre-roll video on a cable networks’ website might take 3 weeks.
Then there’s the cost. Pre-roll video could have a $20-$30 CPM, while cable TV’s CPM is typically less than $10.
But if you’re trying to launch a book, online video can be an especially effective advertising tool. Think about it… the viewer is already at their computer, one click away from Amazon.
And many pre-roll video commercials come with a companion banner display ad. So if you use these companion ads to link to a splash page, your author homepage, or online bookseller – you’ll be able to track exactly how many people followed that link from your pre-roll video sponsorship.
Some websites have minimum investment levels, but many video sponsorships can be had for under $5K, much less than trying to mount a national TV campaign.
Questions to be sure to ask:
1) How many unique visitors to your site per day/month?
2) How many impressions will you guarantee for the pre-roll video spots?
3) Do you take :15s or :30s spots? [Note: Studies have shown a greater consumer acceptance of online :15s ads as opposed to the longer :30s]
4) Will the pre-roll video come with a companion ad? What size?
5) Do you have a maximum file size for the video/banner ads?
6) What is the requested format, frame rate, resolution, and audio compression?
7) Will you provide daily statistics for views and click-thru rate?
8) Does an independent vendor monitor and serve the ads (like Doubleclick’s DART)? If so, is there an ad-serving fee?
So start your web browsers, find video content that fits with the themes of your book, and ask if they’ll put together a sponsorship package for you!
Gregory Huffstutter has been punching Ad Agency timecards for the past decade, working on accounts like McDonald's, KIA Motors, and the San Diego Padres. He recently finished his first mystery, KATZ CRADLE. The first 100 pages of his novel are linked here. For general advertising questions, leave a comment or send e-mail to katz @ gregoryhuffstutter dot com with 'Ask The Ad Man' in the subject line.