Ramblings of a Nutbar

You’ll probably regret this.

How to fix video advertising

Let’s face it – most currently accepted methods of online video advertising are pretty awful. Nobody wants to be forced to watch an ad that interrupts your video. The little “bottom third” ads used on YouTube are slightly more tolerable, but seriously, how many of those have you clicked? And how often are they totally unrelated to the video you’re watching? As much as I love home depot, I think that placing their ad placed in a video about a kitten and it’s yarn is a waste of advertising money. And those of us who use these on our videos are plagued by the fact that you don’t get paid crap for the work you do.

The bottom line is that the current advertising model for video advertising is not working for the advertiser OR the content creator. The only person getting a good deal right now are the middlemen, such as Adsense or YouTube.

So what is the solution? Well as I posted in reply to Nalts over at his blog, I believe that there needs to be a paradigm shift in how advertisers place their ads.

The trouble with the current ad model is that it’s the same one they’ve used for years on the pre-web2.0, largely text-based Internet. And this actually makes sense in a way. After all, it took years for marketers to figure out what works and what doesn’t in the text-dominant Internet. Even in 2008, some marketers are still making mistakes in their approach. (Has ANYONE ever really clicked a pop-up ad? Get a clue!) So it’s natural to stick to what you know

The problem with this approach is that in today’s online world, the focus has shifted from reading text to watching video. The problem is that the part of our brain that translates motion pictures (such as online video) is not the same part of our brain that translates text off a page. What this means for advertisers is that while the current standard advertising method appeals quite nicely to our brains for text, by applying it that method to video you’re effectively trying to influence a portion of the brain that’s not being actively used to watch moving pictures. Has anyone here ever tried to shift from first gear into reverse? Not a pretty picture.

So what’s the solution? Well, there are a couple ideas. One – advertisers could stick to their current ad methods, and only advertise on videos that incorporate large sums of text into them (thus keeping both areas of your brain active). Or they could rethink how they advertise.

Here’s an example. My wife and I were watching a rerun of Law & Order SVU a couple weeks ago. In the show, Elliot was sitting in a kitchen, and behind him, you could see all the popular kitchen staples – Bread, dish soap by the sink, flour, and Salt. But here’s what got my attention: The bread, soap, and flour were all generic brandless stage prop containers, but the Salt was clearly a blue Morton Salt container. It caught my focus, and now weeks later, I can’t remember the plot in that episode and I can’t remember one single commercial that was played, but I can still remember that they used Morton salt.

What’s my point? You can place ads near a video. You can even place related videos in as inset ads, but the bottom line is that if you want to get people’s attention, the best way to do that is to tie into content creators, and get them to incorporate your product into their videos.

Advertisers who want to be seen aught to contact creators directly, and they aught to be willing to pay more than what they’re giving google to pimp their ads. Not only will the ads be more relevant, but they’ll also build on the established trust of that content creator’s viewers.

Now, will someone PLEASE advertise with me?


November 11, 2008 - Posted by | My Random Thoughts | , , , , ,


  1. Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

    Comment by Matt Hanson | November 11, 2008

  2. I came across your blog looking for articles about marketing and advertising.
    Congrats for the topics you´ve been posting. I´ll include a link from my blogroll.
    All the best,
    Jim Nolan

    Comment by Jim Nolan | November 12, 2008

  3. Thanks Jim, I do appreciate it. I enjoy the concept of marketing, and I hope to talk about this subject more often as it pertains to online video. There’s a profitable model out there for content creators – it just needs to be developed. Peace!

    Comment by somecallmejim | November 12, 2008

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