Video advertising is a much more engaging, slicker and persuasive form of advertising than static image and text advertising. Don’t you agree? Especially if you are going for awareness or branding angle, video is a key piece of the content puzzle. But video advertising is for the big boys, the big spenders, the TV advertisers. Or so you may think.
There is that little handy site called YouTube where people can upload handmade videos themselves by a few clicks of a button. But unless you’re actually going for that amateur, phone camera look, my guess is you want your business to appear professional and trustworthy, which means investing in some good video production.
This is where it gets tricky. How are small businesses supposed to fork out the cash to produce something engaging, inventive and informative? If they are already spending on other advertising – online display and search ads for example, which are relatively cheap compared to the cost of video advertising, it can all add up and leave small firms with no money left for other ventures. But this is where a scheme run by UK mobile phone operator O2  steps in. They’ve teamed up with the media outlet Guardian UK  to start Loving Local , a campaign to promote small, independent, local businesses with engaging and insightful videos  featuring store owners, café proprietors and independent entrepreneurs and their companies.
This is a great opportunity for smaller businesses because, especially at this point, the barriers are significant in terms of packaged offerings for
online video advertisement production and management. It is a shame that this has previously proved such a restriction for video advertisers because, in actual fact, the advertising opportunities on YouTube can be more cost effective – the cost per click when a user watches a video most of the way through is, on average, far less than that of a paid search CPC.
In 2010, the average Google Adwords bid was $2.13 versus the $0.28  average price of YouTube Ads, and although it’s probably true that the gap between the two has narrowed since then, I think it’s safe to say YouTube CPV (cost per view) is not going to catch Google Search CPC any time soon. Additionally, YouTube ads have near enough the same management system as AdWords, i.e. it’s a mostly-solid advertising platform with a lot of functionality – the ability to target a market in the same manner and with the same tools as paid search. Online video advertising should be an easy win, but it’s the production prices that hold businesses back. Maybe this Loving Local scheme, or any other similar campaigns, could be the answer?
Unfortunately, at the moment it seems unlikely that this specific scheme will make too much of a
splash, seeing as an extremely minimal number of small businesses had the opportunity to be featured in one of O2’s campaign videos, and it actually appears to only be temporary. Loving Local was set up in October of last year, but since December has been fairly quiet. But even if O2’s campaign itself can’t be the answer to the small business and video advertising problem, it could hopefully spur small and medium businesses to wade into this market themselves.
Geo-targeted search ads and location specific television ads have been a great option for small, local businesses for a long time, and the functionality exists for companies to geo-target on YouTube, but when’s the last time you searched for something on the video site and were shown a video ad for a business in your area? I can’t say I’ve ever noticed it. But this is where small companies can make inroads into online advertising.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine  and with the increasing importance of video in online advertisement , I see video or animation fully replacing display and integrating with traditional content in the near future, so this is definitely an area upon which local businesses should be capitalising.
The only problem, as we keep finding, are the production costs. Not many local businesses can afford to either wait for a scheme like O2’s to come along or pay an extortionate amount to a video production company. To be an effective and useful option, the target market also needs to be of such a size that creating a high quality video is fiscally feasible. I think that the answer may lie in more digital agencies providing small scale but high quality videos for small business clients. It would be a big investment, yes, but if online video advertisement is really on the rise as much as it is rumoured, it could be a lucrative investment for many online marketing and advertising agencies. Will the roster of services provided by the majority of digital agencies one day include video advertisement production? I hope so.