The advent of online video content presented a prime opportunity for advertisers- allowing them to create slick video adverts- but also target them more specifically and measure engagement easily by tracking views and click-throughs. They could now pay per click, avoiding the exorbitant costs associated with largely immeasurable TV, film or radio advertising.

After a while it became clear that the universal accessibility of video had its downsides- creating a ‘free for all’ with all sorts of qualities of content being produced. The audience was there, but whilst they attract millions of views, few self-respecting brands want their ads played alongside clips of sneezing pandas or dancing toddlers.

There is and always will be an audience for these videos, and a huge one at that. Video sites, however, are recognising that advertisers pay the bills and are working to make their content more attractive to them. Advertising is a fine art designed to get the message to the viewer when they are at their most receptive – the content it appears alongside can be as important as the advert itself. This means creating high value content that advertisers can trust not to de-value their brand but also that people want to watch. High quality content clearly also has benefits for the viewer too.

Live content, for example, has proved especially successful. Sports matches and live music draw large audiences from around the world- particularly because many will not be able to watch it in person or even through traditional media channels- but can easily access it on video sites from their smartphones, tablets or computers, wherever they are. One of Dailymotion’s most popular live streams this year was Bloodstock- the UK-based heavy metal festival which attracted over 1.3 million views from metal fans globally.

Live content is also frequently embedded or shared by viewers through social media, and this is becoming easier and easier to do. We recently announced the launch of a Dailymotion app on Hootsuite that allows users to instantly share videos across multiple social media platforms at the click of a button. This gives content a wider audience and a level of word-of-mouth recommendation. And the more a video is shared, the more it, and the advertising on it, is viewed, meaning that advertisers can reach a wider audience too.

Social media has also opened up avenues for niche live content. Televising sports matches and festivals is expensive and involves big commercial deals. Putting them online costs no more than the filming equipment. It has become viable to broadcast to smaller audiences. This has brought lower league football matches, more obscure sports and smaller music festivals to fans - wherever they may be.

This niche content attracts significant numbers of a very specific demographic of users who previously couldn’t access this content- which present advertisers with ready-made target audiences. A gaming company advertising a new console, for example, could guarantee that almost all of the viewers of a live esports competition- like the Esports World Cup qualifiers - would be interested in their product.

Trying to replicate content that worked for film and TV has proved largely unsuccessful. Viewers don’t have the same motivation to keep watching as they do when sat in front of the TV or at the cinema, because they have so many other choices of content at the click of a button. To create popular content, you need to hook the viewer quickly. Many of the most successful viral videos are no more than a minute or two long. It then follows that any pre-rolls must be significantly shorter than that- giving advertisers mere seconds to engage their audience.

As content producers must capture audiences’ attention to ensure engagement, advertisers must follow suit. They too have to be faster, more creative and more interesting if they are to get the attention and click-throughs they want. But those who get it right reap big rewards – many great adverts become viral videos themselves. Even if they don’t become viral, video advertising certainly engages a lot more than text. We see a 2-3% click through on pre-roll adverts, compared to 0.1-0.2% for banners. This is partly because videos can be more attention grabbing and dynamic but also because pre-roll videos don’t detract from the content they want to watch-as opposed to a pop-up banner that blocks their view.

The realm of online video is expanding- not just through smartphones and tablets, but also- coming full circle- through Smart ‘connected’ TVs. This year we announced the launch of the Opera Snap TV tool which allows our premium content partners, who produce high quality content, to create Smart TV apps, and make their videos available to the smart TV audience. This is bringing video full circle- back to the TV- but allowing viewers to retain the choice and flexibility of online video. These apps will also attract defined audiences- creating more opportunity and ‘ad space’ for brands.

And social media is creating ever more ways to spread the word. We recently launched a new widget, called Matchbox, which enables Dailymotion Publisher Partners to automatically add relevant video content from Dailymotion to their website. Viewers get high-quality, interesting content, and advertisers can access even wider, targeted audiences without any extra cost or effort.

The web is always changing, and online video sites change with it. Once a free-for-all for users to publish anything, they have become more intelligent and creative, in their quest for more discerning viewers. They may not be replacing TV as a platform for large-scale advertising, but they are providing an alternative, and one that provides advertisers with the flexibility and traceability that they are looking for.


By Damien Pigasse, International Vice President of Media Sales and Chief of Revenues Officer at Dailymotion.

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