Online Video

The increasing extensibility we’re seeing with online video is, as Martha would say, “a good thing.”.

Wait, you’re thinking, there’s been online video forever, dude…

Yes there has been online video years (forever in Internet time), but it’s the extensibility of it that has started making video interesting to marketers once again. Consider the “no-flash” iOS situation, the need for using the proper codec when prepping the material, and then the placement of the content: Although they are great resources for standardizing its presentation, online video means more than embedding through YouTube and Vimeo.

Marketers need to know that the content will play no matter what. There are ad dollars at stake, as well as reputation and embarrassment with management.

At right, we see from the ABC Family site for Pretty Little Liars a self-running video promo at top, above a link to a custom-developed choose your own adventure video feature for the show “Pretty Little Liars” (as executed by the company I work for, Band Digital). The expectation is that these will play regardless of the user’s selected device, be it a laptop, iPad or Android phone.

That is what we mean by extensibility; the user cannot have to download a plug-in, or be on the “wrong system”. The user should just see and enjoy the content. Should that be so hard? It doesn’t have to be if we follow three easy rules:

  1. Get The codec right – make sure that the video is encoded properly for all the ways it can reasonably be played. There are some codecs that are great at handling the content, but are non-starters when considering the need to go between HTML5 and Flash.
  2. Get the order right – almost all video has been handled as a Flash element (part of or called by a SWF file), but with the runaway preponderance of iOS devices (iPhones and iPads to you and me) the HTML5 version is of equal if not greater importance. Is your player coded properly to know which to play when?
  3. Get the tracking right – Playing video is cool. Tracking the user’s interactions with the video is profitable. Always strive for profitability: understand fully the tracking requirements and get the underlying javascript calls right so the folks in ad sales include you in their next boondoggle. It will take some back-and-forth, but that’s what pays the bills.

Of additional interest is this article from Mobile Marketer called “5 best-practice tips for designing a mobile video campaign” by Ujjal Kohli, CEO of Rhythm NewMedia. He notes as tip #3 the following: “A tap to interactive video option can create a very immersive brand experience with long-form video ads.” I am in complete agreement with this: Video is interesting to consumers, and interesting videos are sure pass-alongs.

Don’t waste the opportunity that video presents today.