February 26, 2010

Online Video: The Tipping Point Was Yesterday

This February ComScore released results for online video viewing that indicated 86% of the US online audience viewed videos online in December 2009, up 19% from the prior year. Compare the 178M online viewers to approximately 290M people who watched television in the 2009 season (Nielsen), and the growth is striking. Viewership has grown significantly, as has volume. According to comScore, the online viewer watched an average of 187 videos. So why haven’t brands and broadcasters rushed in?

The industry is hung up in a bit of a chicken and egg dilemma.
Broadcast and cable networks have loads of premium content, but don’t want to cannibalize the television audiences that drive their advertising revenue. Bandwith is expensive, and networks have yet to monetize their online content on a scale that could replace television revenue.

Egg: Large advertisers aren’t yet funneling massive ad buys into online video, because they can’t secure the reach that television provides, and the CPM rates are much higher than their television GRPs. To increase reach, historically advertisers have had to purchase space beyond YouTube and Hulu through networks, which haven’t guaranteed the contextual relevance or quality that television provides. Television equals a safe bet.

Analytics and measurement will move the industry beyond this impasse. A 2008 study by Doubleclick/Google clearly illustrated that video advertisements were significantly more effective than other forms of online media in driving brand favorability and purchase intent. An IAB case study found that online video was equally as effective as television in moving brand metrics. As a marketer, why would I have to dig for these results? Why aren’t there more case studies? Several video platforms offer advanced analytical tools to measure the effectiveness of campaigns- Omniture, TubeMogul, Visible Technologies. Someone brilliant will measure and share these results (both online engagement and offline brand metrics) broadly, and marketers will feel more comfortable with increasingly large spends on video. Larger spends will help drive more premium content.

A variety of monetization options can help fund more high-caliber content. Pre-roll, in-stream, and overlay ads are abundant. Subscription models like Netflix, pay-per-view, product placement, and Hulu’s choice-driven sponsorship are still in their nascency. (Thank you, H&R Block, for allowing me to choose pre-roll and skip in-stream ads throughout my favorite show.) Technology will enable more ways to syndicate and monetize, funding better content.

Potential sweet spots? If you’re a brand with a highly specific and elusive target audience, the targeting capabilities of online video should appeal to you. Smart brands of all sizes are using the latest tracking and analytics to uncover which creative is most engaging, and where audiences are falling off, with a depth of insight simply not offered by television. If you produce professional-looking video content for an attractive vertical or audience, ( and Plum TV come to mind) now is an attractive time to monetize while larger networks and studios gain internal alignment and technology.


February 5, 2010

Augmented Reality and the Selling Cycle: Samsung Series 7 LCD

Filed under: Uncategorized — aimee @ 12:39 pm
Tags: , ,

This week imediaconnection featured the 4 most interesting augmented reality apps. All evoked “neat!” but one is remarkable because it addresses a real consumer barrier in the selling cycle, and should ultimately drive sales.

Ever wandered the LCD aisle wondering “how large a TV do I really need?” and “will this really fit?” To launch the Samsung series 7 LCD TV, Samsung developed an application that allows consumers to visualize the television in the room they plan to place it. Here’s the video on how it works:

Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find the actual application on the Samsung website or through search! Any information on the developer and location would be greatly appreciated. What do you think the most useful uses of AR are?

September 25, 2009

Viral Loops: From Tupperware to Ning and Beyond

In early October Adam Penenberg’s new book will be released Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter How Today’s Smartest Businesses Growth Themselves. While I’m a bit envious that he’s published a book on a topic that has been the subject of so many of my conversations with entrepreneurs in the past year, he first covered the topic in April 2008 for Fast Company in an astute article on the growth of Ning.

While I haven’t read an early preview of the book, here’s why I’m excited. In my conversations with CEOs of companies that sell both virtual and physical products, tough times have created a very basic need to get close to their customers, to develop exceptional products that deliver true value, so consumers are willing to part with their declining discretionary income. The exuberance of astronomical valuations is gone, and leaders are more likely to be out in the field building business rather than in the corner office. Build a fantastic product that delights someone, and that person is likely to recommend it to a friend. What is viral, fundamentally? It is something that is passed along, exponentially, so that one person tells two people, who each tell two more, etc. It’s a process as old as fire itself, elegantly accelerated by the internet.

As Marc Andreesen states in Fast Company’s feature on Ning, “a viral loop is something that incorporates virality into the function of the product.” If you haven’t heard of Ning, the most familiar illustrative example today is Facebook, where the product only has value if you invite others to join you, then those who have joined from your invitation create their own networks by inviting more of their friends. A virtuous cycle of growth. Tupperware and Avon are examples in the physical world, where one purchases the products from a friend or acquaintance at an event, yet also has the opportunity to become a rep and sell the items to their own networks.

What’s missing from this discussion of viral loops? While most discussion to date has focused on the growth mechanism of these networks, few have articulated the benefits consumers receive from being part of them. The Tupperware parties of the 60’s and 70’s weren’t just about creating financial independence among housewives, the events built and supported social relationships and connection, and fostered esteem as reps were engaged in new work. All of these psychological benefits are components of happiness and well-being, according to icons like Maslow and respected psychologist Diener. Suddenly passing along Smirnoff’s Tea Party video doesn’t seem so trivial.

How can companies that create physical goods, such as beverages or books, capitalize on the virtuous circle know as viral loops? While I don’t have all the answers, I’ll suggest it’s not just about the utility and connection between a consumer and a product, but the psychological benefits and rewards in sharing insight, expertise, and being connected within their social circle. While a bottle of Bailey’s doesn’t come with a “pass along” button, enabling a night of Bailey’s tasting parties in homes with new cocktail recipes creates an opportunity for connection, sharing, and memories among friends.

What do you think of viral loops?

August 27, 2009

From the Pages of Fiction: Augmented Reality Hits the Market

In his 2007 novel Spook Country, William Gibson envisioned a word where virtual art installations were suspended in the real world using GPS coordinates, visible only to those wearing special goggles. Massive astral sculptures loomed in warehouses and recreations of celebrity murders stood on the streets of LA. Today augmented reality (AR) for the masses became a reality thanks to the iPhone and the Paris Metro App: check out the Fast Company article here.

Paris Metro Appliation, from Fast Company

Paris Metro Appliation, from Fast Company

For the uninitiated, augmented reality is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment whose elements are supplemented with or augmented by computer-generated imagery. The most familiar example for US audiences is the first down symbol that appears in television broadcasts of football (Wikipedia). The new iPhone application allows users to peer through their camera screen at the surrounding neighborhood and directions to the nearest Paris Metro stop hover like beacons over the landscape.

Early adopters of technology include automakers launching new cars and publishers seeking new and better advertising vehicles. The June 2009 issue of Popular Science featured a cover highlighting GE wind technology that became 3-D and animated when held up to a webcam, using software by Metaio. Here’s a quick profile by Mediapost.

What’s next in AR? Surely retail businesses that depend of foot traffic will jump onboard (Find my Starbucks apps? McDonalds?) How long until personal navigators, worn individually, will replace my Garmin GPS? Will visions of my renovated home stand optimistically on the spot of my fixer-upper? The applications seem limitless. How would you augment your reality? Leave a comment below.

If you’re working in augmented reality, drop me a note!

« Previous PageNext Page »

Blog at