Brightroll just released their Q1 2011 Video Advertising report and I of course got my hands on it because well, we like them and sometimes they like us back... Anyway, I found this statistic rather interesting. It seems that this year in the survey what most video advertising clients (of agencies) want, is targeting capabilities. I guess it should be no surprise, after all, it did top the list the last two years also. The surprising bit is that it grew 9% since last year's annual Brightroll Agency Survey.

What that really tells me is that advertisers are figuring out online video advertising. If you look at the chart you can see growth in very specific areas - targeting and reach - while there was big decline in others like Ad unit format and other. Combined, those categories lost about 15%. Other, to me, meant they didn't really know what they wanted. Ad unit format, well, the industry has somewhat leveled out in what is offered. There are pretty much basic formats now for video ads that you can find practically everywhere including, user choice.

Targeting Tops Most Wanted List for Video Advertisers brightroll q1 2011 1

Now I'm not saying we've peaked and it's time to pack it in and move on to the next big thing. I think actually where we are is at the tip of it becoming the soup du jour for the ad agency. That's evident in the amount of RFP answers that included video. Between 2009 and 2010 there was a definite shift towards online. All of the 'minority' reports are down while half or more stated they included online in some way.

Well, still about 50% of ad agencies said that less than half of their RFPs had some online component in them. So as I said, we've not peaked yet, there's still a lot of old-school offline advertising going on, and there always will be because, I know this might shock you, not all consumers are online.

Behave Yourselves! We're Watching...

The top form of targeting, in terms of value, at the surveyed agencies, was behavior. 27% said that it was most valuable, but that many clients weren't using it as the main form of targeting. A full 91% did say
targeting in general is an important factor in clients purchasing online video. That is not at all surprising to me. The agencies are certainly on the targeting kick as half of them said 40% or more of their upcoming campaigns will include some form.

Targeting Tops Most Wanted List for Video Advertisers brightroll q1 2011 3

The big question is then: How do you target when you start giving users choice on what ads they'll see?

The easy answer is: Whachoo talkin' bout Willis!?

No, really I just wanted to work that quote into an article again.

The real easy answer is easy, you use their selections as another variable. By users actually choosing which ads they want to see, they're doing the best kind of targeting imaginable - user initiated.

Things that are user initiated are far more valuable, to me anyway, than things that are force fed to them. Giving them a choice between A, B and C will net you a result worth having, how's that for a slogan? User Choice: A Result Worth Having! That result is that they are interested in whatever they picked more than the others. Then you stick that same option in with two others and see what they chose and you refine your data sets, etc, etc.

Sure, there will always be some of us who will just randomly click on whatever takes our fancy at any particular time and not actually choose something that is of value to us out of spite or paranoia. But throw out that 3% of nuts and you've still got a really good set of data so that when an advertiser comes and says "I want to target people who like chocolate/sports/travel" you can sure "sure thing!" and you dive into your data pool and come out with a bright shiny target audience that the advertiser can sink their teeth into. Yum!

You can also find out, over time, where those particular people congregate and target sites hoping to hit a slightly larger audience than just going on one variable.

Now I know, this isn't really the type of behavior targeting that they're talking about but it certainly should be in the mix. After all, if I choose to see Skittles commercials over Hubba Bubba, you know that I like sour hard candy and not bubble gum...or I'm just really weird and want that cat dude to keep licking my finger. Either way, valuable insight into my mindset and perhaps my purchasing decisions.