The interactive marketing industry's problem with video: losing focus on what's important
But even if these limitations with the existing technology could be overcome, it still leaves the question: Will the agencies still not properly focus on what they should with online video? Or are they also stuck in the same traditional mindset as their clients – focusing on the old measurements of brand awareness and clicks, rather than learning how to properly value viewer engagement that's specific to the media and the audience?
Hounsell agreed that the core problem with agencies around video is that they've always focused on the wrong things.
"I've been at Razorfish for 10 years, and for 10 years I've had this same argument. If you take the analogy of digital marketing to offline marketing... if offline advertisers measured advertising the same way that we do, you would put all of your money in neon signs. Its ludicrous that we are like that; its nonsensical; its a joke. It's the core of our problem. As an industry, we've been so focused on measuring the narrow tactics (like clicks), that we're forgetting the core question -- how is this driving my clients' business? How is this driving revenue?”
John Payne, VP of Product Mangement for Coremetrics, argued that there's no such thing as a one-click conversion anymore.
"Can I measure brand awareness in terms of impressions? Or clicks? Either way, it's all about converting customers and bringing customers back to the site – that's the bottom line.”
Spurway concurs that the real challenge with measuring the rich media experience with online video is getting off what has traditionally been focused on by agencies (because its much more easily measurable) – impressions and clicks – and focus on other things considered much more pertinent to the end user's video experience, and for the client's own business value.
"How are we encountering other things, like time spent? How does that impact brand favorability? How does it create a lift in purchasing? And in our future, how do the different elements that you can track actually increase that brand lift with those metrics, independent of just that impression and click? How do you evaluate those insularly metrics?... I'm hoping that's something we'll see in the next 6 months." She says.
How CIMA needs to improve its own interactive video marketing
Aside from a well-attended event with a lively panel and spirited debate, here are my recommendations on how CIMA could improve its future events around the subject of video in interactive marketing:
Expand the subject scope
This event was very heavily focused on the heavy on the advertising side, with very little mentioned about direct response marketing, or on-site video. (Direct-response and point-of-purchase online video are both rapidly growing of online video marketing venues, across all business sizes and budgets.) Granted, CIMA's membership does largely consist of agencies with a focus on advertising over direct marketing. That being said, CIMA does bill themselves as covering the full scope of interactive media. They should especially cover video application in natural optimization avenues, such as in the social and search engine spaces, rather than just what's mostly distributed on ad networks.
Start doing (and allowing) video coverage
There are no videos of past events (not even clips) are on the CIMA site or any website, video sharing sites included. For an organization that promotes itself as being at the forefront of interactive media, they're very long overdue with having any online video content being made available to their members, media, or the public-at-large. Their stated goal is to "provide senior industry insights" to the community, so they should make it a priority to now do like many other organizations have been doing for quite some time – repurpose their events and other content through video sharing (either public or member access, or both).
In fairness to CIMA, they are an all-volunteer organization. Its board devotes a considerable amount of their time to organizing and promoting events, year-round. To their credit, CIMA announced at the dinner that they will be launching a new website this month, and at some point will go through an RFP process to determine the appropriate vendors for its plans for future podcast and video coverage. For their next dinner event scheduled for September, I was told that they are also considering allowing Twitter feeds during the discussion to influence more audience attention with the panel. (Although, I would think that they would already be aware that anyone could already Twitter the event on their own, from their own mobile phone or own wireless connection?)
CIMA has a very lofty goal ahead for them – they want to be considered as the organization at the forefront of online technology and marketing. Granted, the organization boasts a very impressive membership, many of whom have arguably achieved that to considerable degree with their own companies. There is no argument from myself as to top-caliber of expertise and experience of whom they feature at their events, even if right now, they on the advertising side rather than balancing it out with better representations of other interactive marketers. (That may be representative of their membership, but its very uneven compared to the industry of interactive marketing as a whole.)
CIMA has said that their next step is to expedite their own application of multimedia and multi-channel coverage of its events, and encourage both their members and the public to do the same. So for CIMA is going to emphasize cross-media outreach (as they state on their), then now is the time for them, as a declared major organization in interactive marketing (not just in Chicago but internationally), to lead by example and make this a priority by their next major event come this September.
And a few tips for the panelists and the members looking for better means on how to measure video for either advertising or direct marketing purposes, I recommend checking out Web Analytics Demystified's Eric Peterson's white paper: Measuring Multimedia Content in a Web 2.0 world. (You can also read my interview with Eric.) And while the following solutions are more based in direct marketing than ad networks, I recommend checking out the Web Analytics companies Visible Measures and Ominture's Site Catalyst, and the new player in the space, Wistia (who we will be doing a review of next week).