Video advertisers are still trying to jump in front of the screen. There’s a better way.

In reading Tameka Kee’s Mediapost article “Advertisers Get Buzzed On YouTube With New Targeting Capability“, I came across the following quote about video advertising - which I’ve heard a million times but this time I was inspired to respond.

Here’s the quote (from Court Crandall, creative partner at Ground Zero):

“At the moment, any online advertisement that delays or impedes the enjoyment of online content is perceived as a hassle and an infringement on your Internet rights,” Crandall said. “But that will change in the same way that “The Ed Sullivan Show,” sponsored by Lincoln Mercury, eventually became “Saturday Night Live” with 246 commercial interruptions per hour. The purists won’t like it, but it represents the future.”

I believe there’s a middle course here that is a win/win for both user and advertiser: make the ad more truly useful to the customer – WITHOUT impeding the flow of the video – so that it drives high click-through and conversion because it is intrinsically intriguing. By “useful” I don’t mean attention-grabbing, as in flashy (no pun intended) rich media effects – I mean actually making it useful by providing deep navigation back to the advertiser’s content or product info.

Consider the following demo example of an NBC “Heroes” video clip, where you can watch the video and yet while it’s rolling, you can still browse the newest car models from the advertiser Nissan:

Or here’s a video ad per se (from an actual Cisco Linkstorm campaign) where we overlaid our menu onto a DoubleClick Klipmart ad: once again, you can enjoy the video (which does a great job of grabbing your attention), yet at the same time you can navigate directly to actual Cisco product information.

There are many example of Linkstorm’s regular banner advertising on, including case studies showing how we routinely drive CTR increases of 3x-5x compared to the same ads on the same sites running without a Linkstorm menu.

But video is an even more extreme case where there’s still such a zero-sum game between the user wanting to simply enjoy a video and the advertiser wanting to jump in front of the screen and stick a message in her face. One would think that here Linkstorm represents a win/win, hands-down. Surely video-based advertisers would want the same performance gains as regular banner advertisers, and might not even mind treating their customers well in the process.

Who out there would like to see us marketing more actively to the Video world?

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