The Online Video Revolution: YouTube started it – The online marketer will finish it

It’s been clear for some time that the video landscape for marketers and brand builders is changing fundamentally. These changes are unevenly distributed across industries and geographies, yet the implications are universal. Communications must change too in order to embrace the online video revolution.

Anyone who is remotely interested in the video business knows that there’s no shortage of commentary, insight and perspectives out there. So this blog is written to review and distill the latest thinking on online video communication’s best practices among other things in order to understand not only what the “experts” are saying, but also what’s actually being done on the ground.

Just a few years ago the internet began embarking on this major transition. Incredible marketers had no idea of what to do. They could produce video just like they could produce a television commercial, but they did not know how to serve it to the consumer.  In 2002 the online medium was not ready for primetime. Ad agencies could develop a television commercial, and when the television commercial was done, the process of getting the commercial seen by consumers had already been established.

However video was proven to work on TV so it was not a stretch to believe that it could work on the web as well.  For me the light bulb went on when I saw that generating reach through the Internet by using video was a temporary problem.

My passion for video and this transformative period goes back to the days right after I left Yahoo! (circa 2001).  The glory days for me at Yahoo! Was when everything was new- when as salespeople we were basically inventing online video advertising programs.  There were no rules and I guess I wanted to be in that space again – what would be next? When I thought about it the video thing was just starting and obvious would transform a medium that at the time was so completely dominated by text.  I connected with Dave Winters and we got serious about the online video “production” business. We produced videos for clients and sent them the files and didn’t deal with how these videos were delivered to the consumer.  No production company was at the time.

Things have changed since then. Video is on its way. It is a proven digital medium that helps increase sales leads and conversions, yet is only being used by a small fraction of the online marketers who could be benefiting by it. A study by eMarketer reports by 2012 approximately 190 million people will be watching online video.

All the while, the growth of online video is skyrocketing, as evidenced by the adoption of Rich Media, Pre-Roll, YouTube, G4 mobile and other video technology. However, the frontier for the online video marketer is just beginning. You Tube started this the online marketer will finish it

According to the IAB, it took 38 years for radio to reach 50MM users, 13 years for TV, 10 years for cable, less than 5 years for Internet, and less than 2 years for Internet Video. Consumers of all walks of life utilize more online video now than ever before. Heavy online video users continue to increase their online video consumption while decreasing their offline TV consumption. Despite these trends, online video advertising remains just a fraction of overall advertising spending.

By combining visuals, text, and audio together, a viewer can absorb much more information in a shorter period of time. Learning studies have shown that content is up to 3x more likely to be retained when delivered with video, partly because we only remember 10% what we read, but 50% what we hear and see.

Now when a company would come to us to produce a video we separated ourselves from other production companies due to our video serving capability. It was a big differentiator. The early pitch was more evangelistic. We garnered customers due to our evangelism.  The good news was that we did not have to explain to marketers what video was. No, we had to explain that this was coming and why they communicating with video.  Our message was simple; that they would increase conversions with video. That said we didn’t have a lot of data back then to support that message.

Its almost like what online marketers need right now is a “guide” to the online video revolution. Something about media technology and how production and professional video delivery work together to provide the key to generating impressive ROI.  It is not exclusively about video production.  The market is saturated with books written by video directors and producers which educate readers on how to shoot a video for personal or commercial purposes.  Marketers need to learn how to use video to promote their messages online.  When they do and realize how powerful it is, they will end the online video revolution.

Online marketers:  think about the “ifs” and “whens” of whether you should be thinking about video for your business – at this time or in the near future – and if so, how to insure that your video campaign is executed successfully.