Yesterday was Day Two of the Advertising Age Digital Conference in New York City and the person whose presentation generated tweets that really caught my attention was Jen Walsh, Global Director of Digital Media for GE. Among the dozens of topics she covered, the ones that stuck out to me–at least among the posted tweets that our own Stephen Riley culled–were how GE’s data proves that online video-based ads telling their story generate interaction rates that are off the charts. Further, among online ad formats, GE found their sweet spot when they used video to tell larger stories in a 300 by 250 unit (the one that most approximates television’s 4:3 video ratio). It was such a strong performer that ultimately, they dumped all other units in favor of this one. Finally, when it comes to online video, Ms. Walsh believes that to get a true sense of that unit’s value, you must look beyond mere click-through rates and consider time spent and qualitative tracking of control vs. exposed audiences.
Many organizations champion online video and it’s ability to present a more dimensionalized brand message to highly-targeted audiences. And I agree. With the technological innovations in cable television, even offline video advertising soon plans to offer targeting down to the individual set box level. When this happens, advertisers will no longer buy time slots, but demographics.
Aside from the practical challenges of hyper personalization and fragmentation, this is good news for those of us who earned our stripes on creative video production. Telling a compelling, engaging story with video remains one of the most primal and powerful communication mediums today, even if the various technologies and formats have evolved. Increasingly, we must tell those stories on two screens–HDTV and internet video. Soon, that list will expand to three, as the mobilenet delivers ever better video content.
All of which demonstrates once again how our business has changed. Yet convergence simply demands that we learn to adapt our video-based stories in a manner that respects the idiosyncracies of the various platforms.
Because ultimately, digital and mobile are merely regional dialects–they are not entirely new languages. Creative people still need to lead with ideas.