Eyeblaster study touts online video's benefit in time

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Visitors spend nearly twice as much time, an average of 60 seconds, hovering over rich media ads with video than rich media ads without video — which get an average of 30 seconds — according to a recent study conducted by Eyeblaster. The online advertising company analyzed more than 100 billion impressions from about 30,000 campaigns worldwide between the fourth quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of this year.

“Video advertising works; we know it's a high investment compared to rich media and banners, but this study shows that it's worth the extra cost and investment,” said Ariel Geifman, research analyst at Eyeblaster.

The study equates success with time spent watching an ad unit or the amount of viewers that turned on a clip when given the opportunity. It did not report clicks or direct sales made as a result of the ads.

“There is no rule of thumb; advertisers must look at as many metrics as they can and find their own optimization,” Geifman said. “We're in a stage where online video is new; there is a lot of experimenting going on. It's a situation where a lot of people have new ideas.”

However, according to the study, there are ways to improve the number of people that watch rich media ads and the length of time they watch. Overall, shorter ads are watched more often to completion. Also, video ads played during typical work hours (9 am to 5 pm) were played more often to completion. Lastly, including a call to action in a banner or on the still of a video player greatly enhanced the changes that the viewer will hit play to see the ad. Geifman suggested that metrics like these would help marketers plan their online video campaigns.

“There are a number of ways to improve the current state of online video; marketers need to focus on the granular level and look at how consumers are responding to the creative and how it aligns with its placement,” Geifman said. “It's more about crafting the video ads to fit your placement.”

Online video advertising outpaces even the growth of rich media ads. It has increased 10 times the size of the marketplace since 1996, while rich media has seen a slower market gain of five times its size. However, Geifman predicts that an integration of rich media and online video is where the future of digital marketing lies.

“Some of the flash components in rich media banners and Web sites are so sophisticated that it's like video, and more than ever the market is moving to a place where advertisers have to use custom video content and custom rich media design to really create something new and interactive for each ad spot,” he said.

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