a r t i m e d i a

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Study Reveals Video Advertising Insights 

Analysis Shows PCs Still Leading in Video Ad Monetization, With Smartphones Second Among Digital Devices, as Mobile Viewing Grows to Over One Third of All Online Viewing
Ooyala, issued its Q4 2014 Global Video Index Report, revealing mobile and tablets now represent more than one third of all online viewing. The report pairs insights on ad impressions, fillrates and ad completions across all devices, derived from a sampling of Europe's top broadcasters and publishers, with Ooyala's global video viewing data from 220 million unique viewers around the world.
Global Engagement On Mobile & Tablets
Mobile and tablets achieved record growth this quarter, touting 34 percent of all online video views. That's roughly double the number of plays in Q4 2013.
Photo by Waag Society
As mobile becomes a primary form of video consumption, ad impressions are starting to follow suit. European market data included in this report shows that for broadcasters and publishers, next to desktops, mobile saw the highest percentage of video ad impressions as compared to all other devices.
Specifically, in December 2014, 35 percent of all online ad impressions for European publishers came from mobile devices, more than doubling the share of tablets at 14 percent, and within reach of desktops at 51 percent. On the other hand, broadcasters saw 12 percent of their ad impressions come from both mobile and tablets, with PCs taking the majority share amount at 76 percent. It comes down to content. Publishers' content can run the spectrum of short to long-form video, conducive to mobile and tablet consumption while broadcasters primarily deliver long-form content.

Ad-Load Opportunity: Viewership Behavior Across Device Segments
In Q4 2014, tablet viewers had the highest engagement of any other device, spending 70 percent of their time with long-form content. Mobile viewers are splitting their time nearly evenly between short-form and long-form content, 54 percent and 46 percent respectively. The growth of long-form consumption on smaller screens has been a constant over the three years this report has been published. Content providers should consider increasing mid-roll ad placements across all of their content as viewers demonstrate stronger engagement on these devices.

Additional Highlights:
  • PCs had the highest fill rates of all devices across all segments measured, reaching 80% for broadcasters and 69% for publishers.
  • Broadcasters see the highest rate of ad completions (87%), followed by publishers (71%).
  • In the month of December 2014:
    • More than 38% of video plays occurred on smartphones and tablet devices. That's the highest monthly total we've seen in more than a dozen quarters.
    • December mobile and tablet video plays showed a 15% increase from November. This month-to-month increase is the largest in mobile and tablet video plays since the Global Video Index began reporting video metrics.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How Online Video Ads Became a Necessity in the 2015 Israeli Elections

Every Israeli with an internet connection could not have passed over the hottest trend of 2015 Israeli elections – the growing spread of online video advertising and how it became a necessary tool for political parties to reach voters and influence them.

This phenomenon, which was already evident at the 2013 elections in Israel is now stronger due to the understanding of politicians and their campaigners that the communication center-stage moves away from the TV screen and into the second screen, be it the PC, tablet or mobile screen.

Israeli Political Parties - Online Video Ad Spending
Data from Ifat Advertising Monitoring for the period of December 1, 2014 to March 9, 2015 shows that all prominent political parties running for elections use online video media as part of their advertising budget, though there is one very clear leader as far as budgets are concerned.  Yesh Atid is the leading political party in video advertising spending with 78%(!) of total video advertising budget towards the elections.  Distant second and third are "Hamahane Hazioni" and "Likud" parties with 7% and 4% of the total online video advertising budget, respectively.

The growing use of online video as a marketing tool by politicians and political parties is related to several factors:

1.     Constant, immediate communication: in what seems today like a whole different era, political parties were previously limited in their propaganda, and specifically under the Israeli law, TV video propaganda had strict limitations of broadcasting for a couple of weeks prior to election day, for a limited amount of time per day and in defined TV channels.  Online video essentially makes all these limitations irrelevant.  From the moment the 2015 elections were announced, internet users were instantly and constantly exposed to each party's messages, where much like in every other area, the visualization and videoization of the web dominate as a quick and effective communication channel.  Video allows the parties to convey messages of varying length and depth, in a serious or humorous tone, as well as quickly respond to competing parties' video content and actions. Internet users are also empowered by the immediacy factor, as they review and analyze the videos, comment on messages, share and influence through distribution of the videos.

2.     Targeting, costs, measurement and learning: online video advertising allows for audience targeting that is far wider than basic demographics, spreading into online viewing habits, content consumption, internet usage properties and context. The growing effectiveness of media buying, and the shift towards programmatic advertising and Real Time Bidding allow the advertising parties to buy media at considerably lower cost than cost of traditional offline media and to target audiences down to the single impression level. Lower cost and targeting capabilities also contribute to more exact measurement of audience response to the messages delivered in each video, such as measuring completion rates of video ads, comments and shares for each video, etc.  A big advantage online video gives parties' campaign marketers is the ability to learn the viewing and engagement data of the ads and use it as ad hoc, real time focus groups to choose the kind of messages that create interest with potential voters. It's a great opportunity for politicians to actively test Groucho Marx' saying "Those are my principles.  And if you don't like them, well… I have others".

3.     Unmediated connection (or the illusion of one): political parties video ads seek to communicate directly with the voters and create an unmediated connection.  For many internet users this creates a sense, some would argue it's a false one, that they can talk directly with leading political candidates and have a real effect on parties' agenda through their commenting and sharing.

4.     It worked in the U.S.:  it sometimes seems Israel is a likely candidate for being the 51st state, as it tends to be influenced by American social, political and economic trends.  The 2012 Presidential campaign was a stellar example of using online video and social networks for communicating with voters and affecting both public opinion and traditional media coverage.  During the 2012 campaign, Barack Obama uploaded 3 videos per day on average, made it easy for people to donate online and targeted unique segments through video advertising.  The hope of Israeli parties is that what worked for Obama in 2012 would work well for them in 2015.

The growing usage of video advertising is one of many technological and cultural changes which affect politicians and voters' behavior in a way that is not as controllable as it used to be. As this trend strengthens it will be interesting to see if and how the engagement with video ads, that is the completion rates (viewers who choose to watch the ad in its entirety), comments and shares of each video, succeeds on its own in changing voters' opinions, similarly to the way voting polls may shift voters' decisions.

Monday, February 16, 2015

In an Industry First, Artimedia Delivers Programmatic Video Advertising in Israel

Artimedia Launches a Premium Video Advertising Network, Offering Smart Ad Formats on Video Content from Top Publishers in Israel:

Artimedia is launching a Premium Video Ad Network in Israel, working with top Israeli publishers. A leader in advanced video advertising technologies, Artimedia exclusively leverages automated content analysis to offer a portfolio of smart interactive ad formats that blend ads with video content. The platform is accessible through a self-service campaign management interface, enabling to buy and optimize premium media in real time.
Artimedia is already in commercial cooperation with top video publishers in Israel and has started its first pilot with Globes TV, which enables viewers on the website to choose whether they want to watch the full video ad or to skip it.
The company’s advertising products are based on a unique technology that automatically synchronizes ads with video content to generate incremental inventory from existing premium video assets. Furthermore, for the first time in the Israeli premium media market, Artimedia enables a new efficient and fair pricing model for video ads, based only on viewers who chose to complete a full view.
Artimedia’s technology automates and streamlines the complex manual processes which characterize today’s online video media buying – from planning and operation, to analysis and optimization across all stages of the campaign. With Artimedia, advertisers and agencies can execute data-driven and results-based video campaigns on desktop and mobile, in order to reach an optimally targeted audience for their brands.

Dr. Ofer Miller
Dr. Ofer Miller, Founder and CEO of Artimedia: “Artimedia will revolutionize the premium online video media industry in Israel. Our advanced platform enables brands to easily reach and engage relevant and interested viewers. Soon, 50% of online viewers in Israel will be exposed to ads served using Artimedia”. According to Dr. Miller, the advertising world is moving towards Programmatic Direct media buying, and he intends to lead the programmatic advertising trend for premium video. Dr. Miller added that “Artimedia helps advertisers and publishers to achieve the greatest return on their digital video investments”.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How to Win in Premium Video Advertising with Programmatic Media Buying

With estimates of $53bn in programmatic media sales by 2019, representing 150% growth rate from 2014, and the coveted title of “marketing word of the year 2014” programmatic advertising is said to turn the digital advertising industry into a clean mean efficiency machine.  Much of the criticism and some publishers’ reluctance to join the programmatic inevitable movement forward stems from the confusion caused by using terms like “programmatic”, “RTB”, “guaranteed/direct programmatic”, “single-impression-auction” and more, interchangeably. No, they don’t all mean the same thing, and they don’t all say we humans are being replaced by machines.  They do all reflect the inevitable change the adtech industry goes through, a change towards a more efficient, transparent, brand safe and data-based environment.

One of the areas in which programmatic has had many questions raised is premium advertising, and specifically premium video advertising.  Unlike display or social advertising which embraced programmatic buying as an efficient solution to trade remnant inventory across multiple buyers and sellers, premium video advertisers and publishers alike are trying to figure out how programmatic media buying works with premium inventory.   

As far as programmatic is concerned, online video advertising, the second-fastest growing advertising format, with estimated 19.5% growth rate by 2016, is now going through a similar process display and social advertising went through in 2013.  According to research published by Turn, online video advertising is driving, along with Mobile, the growth in programmatic media buying. 

So why is it that despite all the positive outlook and ever-growing adoption rates for programmatic advertising, premium video advertising has not been a major part of the programmatic media buying revolution?  Simply put, not all programmatic media buying channels are made equal.  Advertisers need to build the right mix of media buying solutions that best fits their campaign goals.   But while advertisers are more familiar with Programmatic Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) as the most efficient way to buy targeted inventory, sometimes what they need is a guaranteed inventory, which cannot be auctioned in an RTB system, by definition.   This also comes up as an issue for Publishers, who do not wish to lose guaranteed revenues, seeing the high demand from brands for premium video ad placements.

This is yet another classic adtech example where terminology chaos creates confusion and misinformation that perpetuate an inefficient situation.  A common misconception is to always associate programmatic media buying with Real-Time-Bidding (RTB), where buyers bid for a single ad impression for a price that is set in real-time, auction-style. But this is not the case at all - Programmatic does not necessarily equal RTB.  And this is where Direct Programmatic comes in as an additional solution for buying premium inventory automatically and efficiently.

Direct programmatic (also referred to as “Automated Guaranteed”) leverages the advantages of RTB programmatic advertising to bring efficiency and scale into direct media buying.  The technological infrastructure that is at the basis of programmatic advertising allows for automated analysis of vast amounts of information, automated optimized decision-making, algorithmic improvement of campaigns based on history learning, low operating costs and cross industry standardization.   

Direct programmatic in online video advertising provides guarantees for both advertisers and publishers: advertisers know exactly which ad placement they’re getting and at what rate, and they can choose which placements to buy with guaranteed placements and where to leverage remnant media via RTB.  Publishers can maintain premium CPMs for premium media placements, without the long selling and deal-closing cycles and with the speed and optimization capabilities programmatic offers.

Premium video content begets premium video advertising. As online viewers demand and consume more premium video content, and as content producers supply high-quality video for digital viewing, advertisers’ demand for premium video advertising will grow.  For big brands, premium online video inventory provides a perfect solution for carrying off TV-quality advertising cross-screens to desktop, tablet and mobile. Bringing the efficiencies of programmatic technology into the media buying process will provide brands with the quality, measured viewings they look for, while maintaining publishers’ premium pricing for their best content and ad placements.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Artimedia Refreshes Advision Website

Ad formats get better visibility on the new Advision site:

Artimedia launches a refresh to the Advision web site at www.arti-media.net/advision. The web site had its sections rearranged to highlight Artimedia’s groundbreaking in-stream formats through a host of new and improved features. The site offers a cleaner user interface and easier navigation with a concept of design created to reflect simplicity, beauty and efficiency. 
Artimedia’s blog, now globally acclaimed, will continue to regularly update with relevant news and original content, serving as another channel of communication. 

About Artimedia: 
Artimedia provides advanced video advertising technologies and platforms for video monetization. We enable advertisers to deliver innovative video ads that optimize performance and engagement to millions of viewers worldwide, while helping video publishers maximize monetization of their video assets, creating a less intrusive, entertaining experience for the user. For more information visit www.arti-media.net
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Pre Roll Reinvented

Probably the first video format available online, the pre-roll has finally found its way of recreating itself and step into the modern age.
Maybe we are not talking about the most innovative ad type here, but what has been seen lately it’s a “new generation” of pre-roll, trying to reinvent itself without losing its main characteristic: appearing BEFORE the content.

Appearing before the content, though, does not necessarily mean that the “skip this ad” button will be always available. What was seen a while ago is that sometimes pre-roll might become a standard ad unit even far, far away from video: trying to be a new type of interstitial, sort of a quid pro quo for using a free web service. As an example, many casual game companies started to make viewers watch a pre-roll a condition for playing a game online. 

In the process of reinventing itself, the pre-roll has been trying to become more “native”, offering choices to the viewer: what is seen now is that by adding choice to a pre-roll, effectiveness is improved. Before viewing a pre-roll, the viewer is given a choice between a handful of ad options: they choose the one they want, watch it, and then get to see the video they really wanted. 

Besides all that, pre-roll has three major advantages over the other ad formats for the Web: 

1 – Integration: Pre-roll is a common thread between television, the web, and mobile. One may take an ad from television and easily repurpose it for the web and mobile. Plus it better leverages the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are spent in the production of a commercial.

2 - Easiest comprehension and synergy to Media Companies: Pre-roll and post-roll ads are similar to TV ads, which are the easiest for traditional advertisers and marketers to comprehend. They view it as being basically "an online commercial," in easy-to-understand 15 second to 30 second online spots.  

3 - Greater impact over television ads: According to many researches, the impact of pre-roll has proven to be greater than that of a commercial in live and on-demand television viewing  for their brand awareness. It is easy to understand: the viewer is waiting to watch a specific content, and if the ad is well placed, obviously it will reach its goal. It is almost mathematical. 

What is seen now is a new movement to recreate the oldest online video format with media companies coming up with great and unique formats that mix up the pre-roll as we know it with other exclusive formats, leveraging its power and making it a new and powerful tool of online video. 

Artimedia recently launched an exclusive format called “Sequence”, that much more than an ad format is a new concept of pre-roll itself. Sequence™ starts with a standard pre-roll followed by two consecutive additional impressions: a branding unit and a call for action. These two impressions are Artimedia’s unique formats, designed to re-enforce the theme of the ad and placed as a whole sequence, as the name suggests. The whole concept is flexible and also allows more units to be added, if needed. 

As much as pre-roll have all the advantages presented previously, it is well known that we are talking about expensive ads to be produced – not only the pre-roll, but video ads in general. In this sense, the format is limited and there are much less creative out there available for campaigns. The Sequence approach enables to “mix-and-match” a standard pre-roll with a far broader variety of banners.

Due to the fewer pre-roll choices, the targeting capabilities are also limited (show the right ad/creative to the right viewer according to their interest, demographics, etc.), and are less effective for direct response.  As one thing leads to another, because of the above mentioned issues, pre-roll is used mainly for branding. Nevertheless, most brands and advertisers would want at least some level of call-for-action to drive viewers to engage. With Sequence™ the advertisers can add a layer of call for action by using targetroll or overlay, which will appear 30-90 seconds after the pre-roll.

To better picture it: shortly after the pre-roll video ad completes and the video content starts to show, the viewer will see an interactive branding unit blended into the content itself.  This is one of Artimedia’s unique formats: TargetRoll™, which slightly reinforces the brand and enhances recall, while not interfering with the viewing experience. Thirty seconds after that, a customized call for action banner is displayed, utilizing another of Artimedia’s unique formats – SmartOverlay™, maintaining the same ad theme. 

This way, within a relatively short period, the viewer is elegantly presented with 3 brand impressions that create a much more compelling brand experience, combining strong branding as well as actionable banners to drive performance. 

The whole system guarantees that the banners will be shown in sequence to the same viewer in order to maximize the brand experience. This enables to supplement pre-roll with diversified and targeted creative to enhance the ad’s impact, engagement and performance. 

Get to know more about Sequence™ and the future of Pre-Roll here:


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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Social Branding More Social

As social media arise, all the terms related to it gain new power: social branding, social content, social video and all kinds of terminologies that add the word “social” in the beginning or in the end.  The main thing about social, though, is not only trying to be there, but to appear in the middle of the crowd: to be interesting, to be cool, to be someone. Among the billions, that’s not easy. But it’s possible. 

The main secret here is maybe aligning two efforts: marketing and branding. It is true that there is no universal approach to build and maintain a good brand, but when it comes to SOCIAL branding, we can try to build a checklist using few marketing truths and tactics that work well and that one should keep in mind when they look at their social programs. Summing them up:

Get in the Groove:  Advertising got so saturated that the only way it found to overcome it is to be different. What happens is that being different makes it lose relevance or the message requires too much explanation. Remember: different is not always good, especially in the online environment when a brand has just a few seconds to capture someone's attention and connect with the consumer’s  emotions. There is a groove in each person's head that a message must fit right in. This groove is an incomplete need or thought, based on what they know, what they need and what they love about the brand or category. Find this gap or this "groove" and fill it. Accomplish this and chances are you will have a winning message that connects and embeds in people's minds on a synaptic and emotional level. Miss the groove and probably you will be just another meaningless instant in an ocean of impressions.

Talking about online video, this is apparently clearer: viewers do not realize anymore the standard formats that block content out there, bothering what should be a pleasant experience. We just press the “skip this ad” button and all the efforts spent on hours in advertising agencies are lost on the click of the mouse.  New and unique formats came to fill in this gap and offer an exclusive way of advertising, the same way social networks are investing on video features and allowing paid advertising (as recently Instagram announced) in order to make it “native”,  to make the viewer “choose” what, when and how they want to see ads. That is the true online video advertising revolution: the free will that it now offers. 

Be Helpful:  Ask yourself a simple question: "Why would someone want to hear from my brand on a regular basis?" Make sure there is a good answer. An answer that even convinces you, as a person and a customer. How can it be that getting a continual stream of content from your company will add value to your audience?  Give people a palpable reason to connect with your brand/service and make them one of the driving forces of your social content and promotions. And this answer should be applied to all kinds of content, meaning texts, articles, white papers, videos, etc. – everything that carries the name of your brand and is online should be meaningful and worthy.

Make People Talk: when talking about social media, a brand is not what you say;  rather, it's what people say about you.  So, give people something to talk about.  Light up conversations and promote content that generates dialogue, not just between you and your community, but between the members of your community and new and potential leads. Encourage interactions. Make things viral. How? Read the following tip.

Encourage Sharing:  Sharing is as valuable as liking or following on social media. It creates immediate bond impressions featuring your brand and also goes back to the "make people talk" tip. Be greedy with sharing and cherish it. Make content that is worth sharing and then make the share the call to action you are trying to encourage. We all want engagements, conversions and actions - but usually forget about the share, what in the end is the key that will lead a campaign to become viral. And often forget that in the social media environment, the share is actually the action. Think that  nowadays, approximately people watch 4 billion YouTube videos every day. 68% of video watchers share links to the videos. Creating highly compelling videos that tell your brand’s story and posting them on YouTube will make your brand be spread like fire on straw. It will create the bond with your audience and make your brand known with the new leads you are searching for. And we are talking here only about YouTube. Don’t forget about Facebook. And Vine. And Instagram…

Be Human: Social media is the right place to show the human side of a company. To let people get to know not its products, but the people behind its products. After all, it’s about socializing and people want to feel like they are connecting with real people who share their values and emotions. It is impossible to communicate with an inanimate object. Loosen up a little bit and show the face behind the curtain. Be real friends with the people who are willing to love your brand.  After all, we are all humans here. 


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Monday, October 7, 2013

Instagram and the Video Ad Revolution

With a growth of 50 million users in the past six months, Instagram is the social network that has been causing a revolution on the online social scenario lately.

Few factors can explain it: the visual social network had a sudden growth in the past six months with 50 new million users, and now reaches a total of 150 million users; the recent confirmation that paid ads will be part of the social network and are supposed to be launched initially in the US and then in the rest of the world in the next few months; but mainly the video functionality, launched to compete with Vine, the Twitter app that was a huge success and has been kind of left aside since Instagram adapted a longer and improved version of video (most notably 15-second, filter-enabled, editable video function if compared to Vine’s 6.5 seconds) to its platform.  Also, we need to remember the very important fact that the app was finally released to Android users, since Instagram was exclusive to iPhone when launched.  And that opened its doors to the whole world, considering that now over 60% of users are out of the US.

What is really surprising though is the fact that the picture/video app increased the number of private and governmental companies creating and activating accounts on it: even NASA launched about a month ago its official account, with thousand of followers immediately after the official pronouncement that the account would be open to the public. A report conducted by the NYU Luxury Lab stated that 36% of luxury big brands were active on Vine since its launch, on January 2013. But since the launch of Instagram, 25% of the big luxury brands known worldwide started to experiment the app and created accounts or posted videos on their old accounts. And 25% is a number that should not be ignored. 

Considering the pessimistic prediction that evolved the app when Facebook bought it early last year, what can be seen now is not only a successful marketing case, but a great branding effort with tendencies to grow stronger and further as the video app is improving and the ads are about to be launched with all the buzz and the expectations they deserve. These ads are already there, though not on Instagram itself. And in such a subtle way one can barely tell. For example: American Licorice Co., maker of Red Vines, quickly turned Instagram videos into ads that ran on Facebook and Twitter. And I believe that was the idea of many of these big brands when they started to try or use their Instagram accounts to post videos. Another great example is Gap – the brand posted a video in the very same day of the release of the video functionality, a sort of corporate short movie adapted from one of the ads of the company.  


After all, we are talking about free 15 seconds of advertising available to 150 million users worldwide.  Companies like Nike Inc. and Lululemon Athletica Inc. have already found ways to run viral marketing campaigns on Instagram without paying anything. So obviously the next step would be to monetize it somehow. And that’s what happened. 

The idea regarding the paid ads is to offer something that runs on Instagram, most likely similar to Facebook’s newsfeed ads that are more or less native to the existing activities users are engaging in. After all, when 150 million people are hanging out in a place where they’re viewing a lot of beautiful, funny, evocative images and videos, you can be sure that, when given the opportunity, advertisers will follow them. Whether those people want to be followed or not.

The big controversy about ads on Instagram marks the second big change on the app in less than four months. The first, the video itself, brought sound and motion to what had previously been a quiet, mostly serene user experience. With video live, Instagram can now attempt to capture the higher CPMs video ads command on the web.

The ad concept will be a big change to Instagram users and modify completely the user experience for people that were used to a platform that offered a “native” way of browsing: from now on, brands that the user do not follow will appear on the timeline. At the first moment, the ads will show only to users in the US, sparing the 60% of the users abroad. And Facebook, Instagram’s owner, claims to have a very careful plan to launch these ads. On the official blog post where they released the plan, they say: "We'll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”

From the content point of view, it can be really interesting. As the blog post says, users will have the choice to hide the ads that are not interesting, just like Facebook allows. Also, the video feature allows brands to generate content specifically geared for Instagram. 

So we understand that the experience will be a choice, and not an imposition. The video feature, in the end, came as a kind of backdoor for brands to serve video ads on Facebook. Considering all the cheerful and unique visual appearance of Instagram, what can be expected is at least an exclusive way of making advertisement. 


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brands and You: Good Old Friends

Imagine a life without YouTube. Hard, right? Well, 7 years ago it did not exist and we all could live with it very well. The ads were seen on TV, video clips were on MTV and we could not search the programation and nobody died because of it. But slowly internet evolved, and made a revolution in our lives and in the way we see the world. Yes, I know I am repeating myself, but this is so true that we cannot run from the clich├ęs sometimes… And the way we consume information also has changed.

Online advertising in the early days used to be strictly direct response, with those amazing static display banners with insanely CTR high rates. And the few online video ads we saw were duplicated from the television, since no one knew how to adjust the content to the web. Then, brands found out the wonders of the digital world, not only creating their own private wonderlands but also e-stores and building a virtual persona that they were not able to create offline. The whole identity that could be created only in a store was maximized inside a screen, this time with sounds, movements and… video

Not every brand needed necessarily to give the consumer the option to sell online, but to establish a bond, a connection to the consumer’s heart.  And the old days of direct response were left behind, also when the consumers became more demanding with the huge amount of content available and the invasion of social networks that replaced the old and good “word of mouth”. People now can recommend a product even before buying it, and they do that for pure emotional reasons: the bond with the brand itself.

Having all these awesome tools (consider we didn’t even mention a third part of them here), what happened? Brands became online independent entities. Can you recall the first days of Facebook, when the companies' pages did not differentiate people from products? YouTube still does that, actually: the procedures to set up a personal channel and a company channel are basically the same. Been there, done that. In the online world, Brands are people, dear people that sweetly whisper to you that they are there for, understanding you, knowing your deepest desires, that they have a story the same way you do and that above all you can trust them.

But placing the online branding reality inside the online video scenario, where we can see so many changes? A lot has changed since the early days of Internet video. Today's professionally produced content is not only leaps and bounds from early amateur video, it's competing with broadcast television for viewers and ad dollars: heavyweights like Hulu, Yahoo, YouTube and Vevo put on presentations for ad executives that rivaled anything the networks have delivered in the past.

The last stats of online branding are so exciting that makes us, industry professionals, clap our hands like kids: brand advertising will see a big increase in spending, with 63% planning to up investments in the next year.  When it comes to specific tactics that will see growth, in particular, will double down on social media, mobile and video this year, with 70%, 69% and 64%, respectively. EMarketer estimates that branding will grow its share of digital ad spending during the next few years. This year, only US advertisers will spend $17.46 billion on branding, or 41.6% of the total digital spend. By 2017, branding will grow to $29.33 billion, or a 48.5% share. And again, we did not even mention the rest of the world

To conclude this post, please find a selection of the best brand videos of the first half of 2013. If you click on the link on "sources, there are more, I chose the ones I liked more (privileges of being the author of the blog). The criteria here, above anything, is virality. Because they became viral, have millions of views on YouTube, and more than anything, because you are going to stop and watch them, makes me wonder that maybe the secret is not hidden in any complex algorithm but in the pleasure or the emotion that the video gives the viewer. Would love to hear your impressions of them. May I confess I seriously thought out getting back to Internet Explorer?

- Baby&me: Evian

- Child of the 90s: Internet Explorer

 Skittles Figurines: Skittles (pay attention - it’s interactive and REALLY fun!)

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