Online video

In my previous post, I wrote about Gunn’s 12 advertising formats – which were illustrated with video clips embedded in web pages. An interesting symbol, as video advertising is becoming more and more prominent online.

It is an easy way for TV networks and media agencies to follow audiences: people watch less TV, more online video, let’s just deliver the same TV commercials online.


In my humble opinion, there are a few things to consider when using video for marketing messages on the Internet. Here are just four examples on possible ways to make online marketing videos different from their TV predecessors.

1) Interruption vs invitation. Interruptions of the user experience are definitely not welcome online. Advertising is more effective when users choose to watch it voluntarily rather than perceive it as an intrusion. Users should also have options to come back or be reminded later, so that they consume the advertising on their own time.

2) Linear narrative vs. adaptive story line. Let users interacting with the story to increase their engagement. It does not have to be complex, it can be simple branching such as “yes/ no” or “go left / go right”.

3) One size fits all videos. The Internet is a very personal medium unlike TV. Sending different messages to different audiences or different audience segments is possible. It can happen without breaking the bank in terms of production budget – green screen videos combined with computer generated images open greatly the range of options.

4) Substance over production values. The most successful online videos are often shot with low-cost webcams or camcorders. Users’ expectations are different than on TV. Don’t spend extra budget for details that will be barely noticeable on a small size video window.

What are your thoughts about online video? Can all of Gunn’s formats be reproduced as such? Are there going to be eventually new formats that fit the online environment better? I’d love to hear from you.


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