Online video is set for exponential growth in 2012 and while this represents an exciting development for marketers, Mike Wood, head of Ogilvy Cape Town’s digital video division, Record, Edit, Create (REC), warns about “the deluge” in this media space.
Wood warmly welcomes the “democratisation of video production as well as broadcast” but says that to achieve cut-through marketers need to “be aware of the many subtle trends, have a comprehensive online strategy and produce discerning, engaging and relevant material.”
The rapid growth of REC is testament to the boom in online video. The division, launched in February 2011, has already produced over 100 video productions, ranging from small consumer insight videos to large scale brand videos as well as TV content, resulting in its current position as a market leader in the industry.
Wood points out that over the past decade, the production of video content has been opened to “anyone with a video camera, a computer and video editing software” and that, similarly, broadcasting online is open to everyone. The result of this wide open access is that it is now harder to make an impact with online video. “There was a time when fart-lighting skateboarders performing audacious stunts followed by a company’s branding and tag line would engage consumers,” says Wood “but now it’s far harder to impress and brands can come up short in this space.”
Wood also notes that consumers are also moving towards “being their own media planners - sharing content through trusted social media sites and exercising their own choice in content, as well as when and where they watch it.”
So while the appeal of the online space might be its relatively low cost when compared to broadcast TVC’s, bigger brand marketers still cannot afford their branded product to be of low quality. They must continue to have high production values and ensure that their video material underpins rather than undercuts the brand warns Wood.
There is also an important shift online from the purely entertaining to informative and instructive viewing. ‘How To’ or ‘Explainer Videos’ have become an excellent way to engage viewers and draw them further into a branded online space. Printed instruction manuals will still have their place for some consumers but
engaging video demonstrations (linked to rapid online response to queries and problems) should soon be the default for most purchasers.
Mike Wood is in no doubt that online video will remain a huge growth area of marketing for many years to come as costs will continue to fall and production turnaround times will get even faster.
The medium will also explode further in South Africa once bandwidth issues are finally resolved. At the moment, too many local consumers are “suffering with the buffering”, as Wood puts it, but once “we get that sorted out everyone will relish the chance to constantly access really good online video content.”