Battelle reported last week on Chad Hurley’s comments at Davos that 3-second pre-roll ads might be coming to YouTube (Searchblog).
Yesterday Mediapost cited a Harris Interactive survey that said “Nearly three-quarters of frequent YouTube users said they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip…. Of those, 42% said they would visit a little less often, and 31%, a lot less often.”
Also yesterday, Google’s head of North American ad sales said (at the Always On conference) that YouTube won’t be doing pre-rolls (also Mediapost).
“‘We don’t believe in pre-rolls,’ said Penry Price, director of North American sales for Google, at an industry conference in New York. He said Google is currently testing other methods of serving video ads, including postroll ads and interstitials, but hasn’t yet settled on a monetization scheme for YouTube.”
At the Always On conference “media executives noted that young people are more accepting of ad messagesâ€”as long as they are entertaining, relevant and transparent” (PaidContent).
“Said panelist Jeremy Verba, CEO of social networking site Piczo. ‘The IM generation knows the lines are blurring and theyâ€™re okay with that. Brands shouldnâ€™t worry about mixing promotional messages and content….Anything that tries to tell them whatâ€™s cool [will fail]. Anything that pretends to be something its not [will fail]. The users are the ones who decide whatâ€™s authentic, whatâ€™s cool. And the great thing is, theyâ€™ll tell you when youâ€™re doing something wrong and theyâ€™ll praise you and spread the word when you do something right.’”
“Well, a site viewed, hypothetically, only by Safari users, would show as having no audience at all. A site with only Firefox fans would register with about half the audience it should. A normal tech site? The audience for Lifehacker, Gawker Media’s software and productivity title, is about 60% Firefox, 5% Safari, and 30% other. Assuming Comscore doesn’t take account of its undersampling of geek browsers, that factor alone would cut Lifehacker’s measured audience by 33%. And that’s compounded by the more general problems with Comscore that MSNBC.com and other big internet publishers are complaining about.”
Fred Wilson (Comscore investor, FM author) responds in the comments that Comscore is listening and better data is coming.
“you can take potshots all you want at comscore, but the question you need to ask is who has a better methodology.server logs drastically overcount uniques because of cookie churn so that’s not a solution. isp data is notoriously flawed by virtue of the decision by the largest isps to opt out of those panels.
i take all of this criticism of comscore as constructive. they are the best option today. And because they are listening to this stuff, they will only get better over time.”
From AdAge: “the field of potential marketers willing to throw millions at the game seems to have narrowed in recent years, a perception that’s becoming a reality as many major package-goods players stay away this year.”
From WSJ, reg required. Especially since I’m posting this three weeks after the Journal ran the story!
My pal and neighbor Jeff Daniel, CEO of Rock River, put together an excellent and innovative marketing concept for Chrysler and Ford: Podcast music programs with sponsor messages mingled in among the songs. Jeff compares the concept to the King Biscuit Flour Hour, the commercial-free block of classic rock that ran on radio stations in the 1970s and 80s, but the Rock River version is portable as an MP3 podcast. And — this is the new and noteworthy part — a major music label (Sony BMG) actually consented to let Rock River, Chrysler and Ford distribute their music as DRM-free MP3 files.
“Chrysler and Ford pay Sony BMG Music Entertainment — the joint venture of Sony Corp. and Germany’s Bertelsmann AG — a flat fee, which the companies decline to disclose, for the right to distribute the podcasts for a year, regardless of how many or how few copies are downloaded. Users can keep the programs on their personal computers or MP3 players indefinitely.”
In other words, Chrysler and Ford teamed up with Rock River to make first-rate, digital anthology albums (Rock River also makes the CDs for Pottery Barn and other retailers) that will be added to listeners’ music drives as a permanent addition to the playlist, singing the Chrysler and Ford jingles for ever more.
According to Nielsen’s latest study, viewers are watching video online and on mobile devices. Shocking! And Nielsen suggests advertisers run pre-rolls, a format that roughly follows the television formula (and, by the way, pre-rolls are easier for measurement companies to track). Shocking again!!
“Larry Gerbrandt, senior vice president, general manager of Nielsen Analytics, also made a plug for pre-roll ads in the report. Such ads ‘are potentially superior to existing models because they can take full advantage of the digital environment,’ he said in a statement. He also touted the ability to disable online fast-forwarding.
“But some in the online media industry disagree with him about both the benefits of pre-roll and whether forcing consumers to sit through an ad is a good idea. Google, for one, has gone on record as saying that pre-roll ads tend to make for a bad user experience. Too, Curt Hecht, chief digital officer at Starcom MediaVest Group’s GM Planworks, suggested at a conference last December that the less intrusive** post-roll format could ultimately become a more successful model than pre-rolls.”
**I’m not sure Curt is after something less “intrusive,” or rather a video-ad experience that has more impact because it’s more “integrated.” Integrated marketing works best if the brand fits naturally into the programming, whether thatâ€™s an opportunity for product placement (eg, “The official beer of Diggnation”) or a brand thatâ€™s open to working with the programmers around messaging (eg, Howard Stern-style “live reads” for Heineken). The collateral benefit of this is that it drives greater relevance â€“ a better fit between the marketer and the audience â€“ naturally; it’s very tough to make it work if the brand doesn’t below in that particular setting. The unsolved challenge, though: How do we make integrated video marketing scalable as viewership fragments across more and more programming choices?
Forbes published its Web Celeb 25 special report this week. Congrats to the whole crew! And an extra call-out to the 9 “web celebs” who work with FM:
Mike Arrington (TechCrunch)
Jeff Jarvis (Buzz Machine)
Xeni Jardin (Boing Boing)
Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing)
Merlin Mann (43Folders)
Om Malik (GigaOM)
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (DailyKos and SportsBlog Nation)
Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia and Wikia)
Heather Armstrong (Dooce, on the “almost among our top 25″ list)
FM partner Piers Fawkes and I had an email conversation today about Google’s site-specific ad program versus Federated Media’s approach to working directly with brand marketers. Piers posted part of the thread at his site, PSFK, and did the math on the revenues he’s making from Google selling ads on his site directly: A $0.30 CPM.
Piers proposes that “if you’re an advertiser it might be a great time to rape and pillage as many bloggers as possible.” But I’m not sure the blame is properly placed on the advertisers. Google lets each site set its own price, so advertisers are just paying what the publisher provides as an “acceptable” rate.
Further, I worry that the Google approach — taking humans and creative brainstorming out of the mix — robs the advertising process of value for both buyers and sellers. Obviously, $0.30 versus $13 is a bad deal for a high-value publisher like PSFK. And if ad buyers reward cheapness over impact, we will never again see break-through marketing that accomplishes anything beyond direct-response calls to action.Â Some of the early forays into “conversational marketing” that have come through FM in the past year — Dice’s Rant Banner or Symantec’s RSS-powered content ad or Cisco’s Human Network campaign, to name a few — still aren’t possible via Google’s self-service platform.
From Center for Media Research:
“According to The 2006 ChoiceStream Personalization Survey, the number of consumers willing to provide demographic information in exchange for a personalized online experience has grown dramatically over the past year, increasing 24 percent to a total of 57 percent of all respondents.“