Online Video Grows A Brain

14 07 2008

UPDATE: GigaOM on Google’s new YouTube ad video units, and a bit more on Veoh.

For all the hand-wringing about the death of TV, it’s still solidly at the center of most marketing efforts.

Before online video can steal market share, it has to prove it’s smarter than the boob tube.

Is that about to happen?

Good story today at TechCrunch about the just-out-of-beta launch of behavioral targeting for video, from Veoh. Ads are targeted at one of nine groups: action videos, cars, pop culture, sci fi, anime, and family fare.

Veoh says that during the beta, ads that were behaviorally targeted performed twice as well as ads that were not. Still, as TechCrunch correctly points out:

“Veoh not only needs to prove that it can provide better response rates to its video ads, but that it has a large enough inventory of advertiser-safe videos to matter. To do that, it would have to somehow monitor video-watching behavior beyond its own site (which it could do via partnership agreements) and become more of an overall video ad network. It would then have to make sure it doesn’t get tangled up in some of the privacy issues that behavioral targeting for display ads are running into.”

Some more issues:

  • I think Veoh will need to stimulate more online video viewing, so that there’s enough behavior to measure and target from. For decades, conventional TV has run tune-in advertising. Why hasn’t online video done the same?
  • Also, it will need broad enough content to build those data sets for the various targets. That may be tough going with audiences already so fragmented.

Despite the challenges, I’m excited about what Veoh is doing. Whether they succeed or not, this — or something like it — looks like the future.

UPDATE: Speaking of the future, what does the video home of the future look like? See for yourself at NewTeeVee.

Note: The image used in this post is not a photo of Seth Godin. At least, I’m pretty sure it isn’t.


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