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ClickZ’s Online Video Advertising Conference

June 27th, 2006

People who attend the System Seminar often ask me how I come up with so many great speakers for the event. 

It’s no secret. 

I’m constantly researching new trends and that often includes attending industry conferences.  It’s a huge investment of time and money. Sometimes it pays off, but I’d say on the average I’ve got to kiss 50 to 100 frogs to find one prince (or princess.)

Eleven days ago (June 16), I attended a one-day event called the Online Video Advertising Forum sponsored by ClickZ. (ClickZ is an online publication for Internet marketers – corporate Internet marketers.)

There’s definitely something to be learned by attending
corporate-oriented events, but you’ve got to dig through mountains of
"corporate speak" to  come up with gems.

The thing to remember about conferences like this is that the panel
members often have to toe the party line of whatever company or
industry segment they’re in. 

For example, one of the panels was heavy with advertising
executives. They have a strong vested interest in keeping things simple
– for themselves. In their ideal version of the future, Internet video
ads are just like TV spots, bought and sold in 30 and 60 second
increments with no accountability. Great for the ad agency. Not so
great for the companies spending the ad dollars. 

One of the members of a panel devoted to "Metrics" actually
expressed relief that now that video was so hot, the kind of tracking
forced by banner ad sales and pay-per-click wasn’t so urgent since
video is primarily a branding medium.

In other words, terrible, self-serving advice that would sink any small business person who tried to follow it.   

This problem of industry-skewed advice is not unqiue to ClickZ
events. It happens at any event where ad agency people are involved.
(The ability to look good, sling buzz words, and sound impressive while
saying nothing seems to be the main qualification for ad agency jobs.)

However, one panel did shine. It was called "Technical Innovations in Video Advertising."
The guys on it were a lot closer to the technology and more interested
in unleashing the power of the new media instead of figuring out how to
make it fit in a convenient box.

Some highlights:

Brightcove‘s rep, Adam
Gerber, talked about his company’s video syndication service.  Their
mission is to make it easier for publishers (content providers) and
advertisers (marketers) to get together and make money from video

Here’s how their service works:

Say you are a content provider, like the Reuters news service and
you have tons of video content. You can run that content on your own
site, sell ads, and make a little bit of money. But with Brightcove’s
help, you can find other sites (in the case of Birghtcove client
Reuters thousands of sites) to feed your content to.

Members of the "network" get a branded video player from Brightcove
and all the hosting and serving is handled by them too.  The cherry on
top is that after the network is in place, Brightcove becomes your ad
rep and finds advertisers to run their spots with your programming. 

As the content owner, you get a cut of the ad revenue; the network
members who run your content get a cut; and Brightcove takes a cut.
Nice model, huh? Brand new revenue fo everybody concerned and
Brightcove does all the work.

Eyewonder is a service for corporate advertisers so there’s not much there for us "bootstrap" types – expect for this: AdWonder.
It’s a new "drag and drop" design tool they’re making available to
their clients which dramatically accelerates the Flash design process
by reducing the need for custom coding.

The company reports that projects that used to take 24 hours to
build are now being knocked out in 4 hours.  The catch?  AdWonder is
just for Eyewonder clients – but that doesn’t mean you can’t write them
and take a shot at being a beta tester. (Michael Griffin was
Eyewonder’s representative at the conference.)

Rovion‘s rep Len Ostroff
demonstrated their InPerson technology which lets a video character
walk across a web page. You’ve seen it.   

The cost of these kinds of ads puts it beyond the reach of us’n for
now, but some day I can see the technology becoming a lot less
expensive, Meanwhile, here’s an extremely valuable tip I got from
Ostroff (maybe the best one from the whole day): Put video on your
"Thank You" page to pitch an upsell. Brilliant! Here’s how 1-800-FLOWERS used this idea.

Chris Young talked about Klipmart
which is video management and delivery service for ad agencies serving
large corporate clients.  They’ve got a page on their web site that
shows some of the new Internet video ad formats
that are currently being used by deep pockets advertisers.  Yahoo
Advertising recommends Klipmart to its clients and created this helpful spec sheet to show what the company has to offer. 

Did I get my money’s worth from the conference?

It cost a day and a half of my time and just under $1,000 in out-of pocket expenses (tuition, travel, lodging, and meals.) 

If I were a small business person looking for actionable idea, I’m
not sure attending this event would have thrilled me, but as the
producer of the System Seminar, this kind of expenditure is part of the
cost of doing business. It’s something System students (and readers of
this blog) benefit from.

Also, I’m pretty sure the "video on the thank you page" idea will
give me a very happy return on my investment. If you try it, let me
know how it pays out for you.

Ken McCarthy

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