A new Forrester report (as discussed on NewTeeVee) forecasts online video advertising spending in the U.S. will reach $7.1 billion in 2012, an incredible 72% CAGR for the next 5 years!

forrester video advertising forecast 2007-2012

NewTeeVee adds: “Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk praised the emergence of “customer-centric” ad formats like the overlays used by VideoEgg, YouTube and others, which, rather than forcing an ad in their video streams, allow viewers to decide if and when to pause a video to watch an ad.”

That same report indicates that “spending on social media (…) will grow to $6.9 billion as marketers understand how to use and measure this channel.”

What it means: every time I see reports forecasting the enormous growth of online video ads, I get the feeling that this growth will be mostly driven by the desire of current TV ecosystem stakeholders (networks, media placement firms and advertising agencies) to replicate the existing TV business model. I’m not totally convinced consumers will be well served by that new medium unless precise targeting technologies are developed. Nonetheless, I definitely expect that the two darlings of online advertising in the next five years will be online video ads and social media advertising.

Weblistic logo

I recently attended a short webinar from Weblistic, my friend Dick Larkin’s company. Weblistic helps SMEs generate more local leads from a very fragmented Web. They have not revealed too much about their secret sauce but yesterday, they showed how successful they were when search engine optimizing local video ads.

Their first assumption is that search engines are going to integrate video content within their universal search results. Google has already started to do so. Video is also a very fragmented market and opportunities to be found abound. Weblistic is placing bets on all major video sites and has created accounts at most of them. They use the “localvidsdotnet” handle on a variety of social video sites like YouTube, Yahoo Video, Guba, iFilm, and stickam. They then upload their local advertising videos and tag them with a variety of relevant keywords. Videos start appearing in the Google search engine results pages. In this example, Weblistic has managed to capture 7 of the top 10 positions for their merchant name. Cool isn’t it?

What it means: in a fragmented world, there will always be a business opportunity to defragment and simplify. The local video market is a good case study. Weblistic seems to understand that concept and is hoping to simplify Web SEO/SEM for small businesses.

As most product managers will attest, the temptation is always great to add new features when building a product. Evan Williams, Twitter’s founder, did a short presentation yesterday afternoon at the Web 2.0 Summit to talk about how we can build better products by removing features instead.

Web2Summit Evan Williams Twitter

Knowing that Williams created Blogger at Pyra Labs, he defines Twitter as a blogging application with a maximum of 140 characters and no formatting. But he says that Twitter does not compete with current blogging applications as it offers a different experience. They originally built their technology to use with an already existing ubiquitous friend status network: the SMS, and SMS basically come with a command line.

They quickly realized that the majority of people went directly to the Twitter web site, many of them using 3rd party apps built on their API. They now have hundreds of applications today because “text integrates well with everything”.

He offered additional examples of sites or technologies that kept things simple (or that should keep things simple):

  • YouTube has a 10-minute limit for uploaded videos. This definitely had a beneficial impact on the service as it created addictive, ready-for-the-web content.
  • Podcasts would certainly benefit from a time limit to become a more successful phenomenon.
  • What about a social network that limits you to 10 friends?
  • What about a dating site with only a picture and a yes/no button? (Hot or Not)
  • What about an e-mail tool where you can only have 20 messages in your inbox?
  • What about a competitor of MySpace where only college students are admitted? (Facebook)
  • What about a competitor of Yahoo with only a search box on white page? (Google)

Every time I come to San Francisco, I always count the number of billboards on highway 101 advertising pure-play .com companies.  I use it as a straw poll to measure if we’re in a bubble or not.  In 1999-2000, billboards were the way to advertise your new Internet company, almost like a vanity play.  Yesterday night, driving from SFO to downtown San Francisco, I saw many telco and hardware manufacturer billboards but I only saw one from a pure-play: video search engine Blinkx.com.

Here’s a picture of it but, according to various sources, it looks like the billboard has been up for a couple of years already.  So, no bubble for now!  ;-)

Update: the New York Times talks about a related topic, “Silicon Valley Start-Ups Awash in Dollars, Again“, this morning.  

(via Springwise)

Montreal-based Brandfame has launched itself as a product placement agency for YouTube and other online video sharing platforms, connecting makers of online videos with brands that want to be integrated into the next viral video blockbuster.

Advertisers can list products they’d like to have featured in videos, and search for upcoming videos by producers to find a match for their brand. Producers indicate which productions they’re willing to integrate products into, and can search for brands or products they’d like to work with. Once a deal has been made, the advertiser pays the producer, and Brandfame takes a cut. The startup is also working on an auction system for advertisers to bid on product placement in new videos by hot producers.

What it means: first time I hear about this company from Montreal. According to these web sites, the founders are Nadim Elgarhy and Sebastian Gary. I like the concept because it replicates a model that’s already very successful offline. Main challenge will be getting enough video producers & usage to make it attractive to brand owners. I think ad agency relationships might be the key to a successful deployment. Similarly, Business 2.0 had showcased NextMedium last year, a firm that wants to automate product placements in offline movies.

Update: eMarketer talks about product placement.

I’m just coming out of the last session of this year’s DDC conference organized by the Kelsey Group. Again, a very good conference with interesting topics and multiple networking opportunities. Here are some random data points from the various speech and panels I heard in the last two days.

  • Print media still represents 90% of total directory industry revenues
  • 60% of SMEs do at least half of their business with other businesses
  • 21% of SMEs have embraced cell phones and VOIP lines (instead of the traditional phone company land line)
  • 34% of SMEs ad budget is dedicated to online media (including web site expenditures)
  • Automotive represents 60% of Trader Corp’s revenues (Trader Canada)
  • Jingle: at least 90% of their revenues come from national advertisers. 5% of their queries are category-based. They have close to 100,000 advertisers.
  • White Directory Publishers will generate $3-4M in online video revenues in 2008.
  • The optimal length for an online local video ad is 45 seconds.

(via Research Brief)

According to the Online Publishers Association, Internet users are spending nearly half their online time visiting content, a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago. The Internet Activity Index, conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings, shows that communications accounted for 46% of consumers’ time online in 2003. A dramatic shift has taken place since then, with consumers now spending 47% of their time with content and only 33% with communication.

OPA Internet Activities

The OPA found a number of other important factors behind the changes, including:

  • A more accessible, and much faster, Internet is driving increased overall time spent online.
  • The increased popularity of video is leading to more time being spent with online content.
  • The improvement in search allows consumers to more easily and quickly find the exact content they are looking for, increasing the likelihood they will engage more deeply with that content.
  • The Web simply offers far more content than it did even four years ago, increasing content’s share of time.
  • The rise of instant messaging (IM) as a key communications tool has been a factor in communication’s reduction in share of time. IM is a more efficient communications vehicle than email.

What it means: for anyone who doubted the strength of the content tidal wave (professional and user-generated), these numbers leave no doubt. If you are traditional media, make sure your offline content is ready for the web and published there as well. Create also web-specific content and allow users to comment, tag and contribute additional content. And don’t forget that content can be accessed using non-traditional platforms: mobile, Nintendo Wii, etc.

AdWeek reports on a study called “State of the Media Democracy” that was released by Deloitte & Touche’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice.

Highlights from the study:

1) User-generated content

• 51% of all consumers are watching/reading personal content created by others; the number jumps to 71% for Millennials.

• 55% of Millennials and 42% of Xers read blogs, while 62% of Millennials and 41% of Xers watch YouTube or other video streaming sites.

• 40% of all consumers are creating their own entertainment, such as editing movies, music and photos. Millennials may be the majority of the creators at 56%, but Matures are also participating – 25% of them report creating their own entertainment.

2) Traditional Media

• 79% of all consumers discuss their favorite TV shows with friends, family and colleagues, compared with 38% that discuss favorite websites.

• 72% of all consumers enjoy reading print magazines, a proportion that’s consistent across the generations.

• 23% of all consumers expect to spend more time reading books this year. A slightly larger percentage expects to spend more time hanging out with family and friends.

3) Cell Phones

• 46% of Millennials embrace their cell phones as an entertainment device.

• 57% of all consumers text message on their cell phones compared with 84% of Millennials.

• 56% of all consumers take photos with their phones, including 37% of Matures.

4) Advertising Insights

• 76% of all consumers find Internet ads more intrusive than print ads, and 64% pay more attention to print ads than those online.

• 28% of all consumers would pay for online content to avoid seeing ads.

• While offline advertising is effective in driving web traffic, 84% of all consumers visit a website after finding it through a search engine and 82% do so because of a personal recommendation.

What it means: a couple of interesting insights for the Praized blog readers. First, younger generations love user-generated content and mobile access, which means a local/social mobile application could be a killer app. In addition, traditional media is far from dead. It’s just competing in a much more fragmented world.

(via Hitwise)

YouTube‘s growth has not begun to slow yet this year. Hitwise traffic data shows that the market share of US visits to YouTube has increased by 70% when comparing January 2007 to May 2007 (this only includes site visits, not streams or streams from views on embedded videos). In comparison, the market share of visits to a custom category of 64 other video sites increased by only 8% in that period. As of May 2007, YouTube’s market share was 50% greater than those 64 sites combined. Here is a ranking of the top 10 sites in that custom category for May 2007:

Top 10 video sites May 2007 Hitwise

What it means: YouTube still completely dominates the video market online. As video sites are quite bandwidth intensive and the video ad business model is not quite “ready for prime time” yet, we’ll start seeing some attrition in the marketplace in the next few months within the 64 video sites counted by Hitwise. Expect verticalization and B2B-ization of some of these players. Some of them might close as they run out of VC money.

(via SpringWise)

What do you get when you cross online classified ads with web-based video? Realpeoplerealstuff.com is equal parts Craigslist and YouTube—a whole new way for customers to reach out to one another to sell their used appliances, automobiles, collectibles, concert tickets and countless other goods and services. “Realpeoplerealstuff.com combines the hottest internet trends in one, easy-to-use site: e-commerce, snarky writing, funny videos, everyone’s desire to be a star and video sharing.”

realpeoplerealstuff Video Classifieds

With a few clicks of a mouse, customers can upload their own video commercials, recorded on their camcorders, webcams, digital cameras or cameraphones. Ads are organized by category and location, and users can enter text descriptions, prices, thumbnail photos and tags along with their video clips. For best results, users are encouraged to engage their personality, creativity and sense of humour when filming their commercials. And who knows? One may well turn out to be the next average Joe or Jane launched into internet stardom. The service is entirely free—for now at least, though there may come a day when, like Craigslist, modest charges apply to select portions.

What it means: I really like the concept as I’m very visual. But I wonder about the quantity of energy needed to produce a video vs. taking a simple picture, even if there are many video-capture devices out there. I remember when I started selling stuff on eBay in 2002. There used to be some barrier to entry if you wanted to post a product picture. Then, eBay introduced one of their coolest seller function: the UPC code product finder. When listing a product in some categories (like videogames), you just need to enter the product’s UPC code to instantly get the default image attached to the product, usually a cover shot. By removing friction, eBay got me to post more stuff for sale. I think Realpeoplerealstuff.com will have to think about how they can remove some of that friction.

I also think that classified advertising is all about local. Right now, local seems to be a second thought to the whole site. They need to embrace local much more to eventually be successful. There’s also a chicken & egg problem with local content. You need local content to make your site relevant to local users. I think Realpeoplerealstuff.com should be looking at doing backfill content deals (maybe with Oodle.com) to improve their local content breadth and depth.

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