Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Video Insider: An Advertiser's Guide To Video Snacking

An Advertiser's Guide To Video Snacking

"Video snacking" is already a frequently invoked term in online video circles, despite some marked differences in how it's used.  For example, while some use the term to describe the kind or length of video being consumed, others use it to describe a kind of random online behavior.

This article defines video snacking as a behavior: what happens when we watch a video that we encounter by chance while surfing the Web, or when we receive an unsolicited video link forwarded from a friend, etc. 

Video snacking should not be confused with the behavior we exhibit when we actively search for a video, regardless of subject.  Though clearly more purposeful, search behavior is demonstrably less effective, and drives far less video consumption, as we discovered when one of our network members informed us that traffic generated from Google searches to their video portal generated 26% fewer video views per visit than those generated by ambient traffic.  Indeed, almost 80% of all online video is consumed as video snacking by video snackers.

The lesson to be learned from the above example is that a video viewed by way of a specific search fulfills an explicit purpose that terminates with the viewing -- and just as typically truncates subsequent views.  Video snacking, by contrast, occurs and flourishes in the absence of any such rigid, search-driven agenda.  That's because video snackers are driven by the most unpredictable and least regimented of human attributes: our curiosity and our insatiable capacity for distraction.

What does this mean for advertisers?

It means that in an on-demand world, online video advertisers have a much better chance of engaging a prospect who is randomly snacking than one who is searching for something in particular.

And it means something else: more important than where the initial encounter with the video snacker occurs, is where and how the actual video snack itself is served and consumed.

For example, let's say you're looking for video snackers who like "Seinfeld" clips.  Why would it matter to you where the initial encounter takes place?  After all, it's the chance encounter with the specific "Seinfeld" content, and not the site demographics, that ultimately attracts and identifies the video snacker as an appropriate target, regardless of the site.  So the real question for advertisers is this: How do you engineer a process by which your audience views content of their choice on your Web site.

Think about the above idea for just a second ...

Imagine you're a major pets brand and want to sponsor a series of cute and cuddly video snacks featuring dogs and cats. Wouldn't you prefer your target video snackers to consume their video snacks in the controlled environment of your site instead of on someone else's?

It only stands to reason that when the video snacking takes place on your site, your brand becomes inextricably entwined in and associated with the process.  When the snacking takes place inside your online showroom, you get to play the gracious host who satisfies the snacker's cravings.  We predict that this is the way forward for brand marketers; a virtual throwback to the early days of sponsored content on radio and television.

Video snacking on your site creates a better "environment to buy" because it honors and respects both consumer curiosity and consumer choice.  And as savvy marketers know, once you win their hearts and minds, their wallets will follow. 

At the risk of oversimplifying things, when all is said and done, creating this seemingly elusive "environment to buy" is a simple matter of serving the right snacks to the right snackers in the right place.

Jaffer Ali is Jaffer Ali is CEO of Vidsense. With more than 80,000 video clips licensed from major film and TV studios, the Vidsense network of more than 50,000 Web sites delivers millions of qualified visitors directly to advertiser Web sites on a pure Pay-Per-Visitor (PPV) basis.

Video Insider for Tuesday, June 2, 2009:

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