Nobody likes a broken record, but what if that record was playing music so good that you actually didn’t mind the repetition all that much – like Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde:

or Mumford’s Sigh No More:
or T Swift’s Red:

(ok, I’m kind of kidding on that last one… and kind of not…)? And what if that broken record was spewing really wonderful news for marketers, like how video rules (have your heard that before?) and is the next big thing in digital advertising? You wouldn’t mind hearing more on that would you?

Well, according to data from the newly released Digital Video Roundup put out by eMarketer, video is the fastest growing of any digital ad format (Umm, YAY). Here are a few key stats from the survey:

Consumers are Watching Video

  • This year, 74.4 million mobile users will watch video content on their phones, up 16.9% since 2012.


  • By 2017, eMarketer estimates, about 45% of all mobile phone users will watch video on their devices.
  • 182.5 million US consumers will watch video content online at least monthly this year, equivalent to 57.7% of the population or 75% of all internet users.

Marketers Oblige; Shell Out Lots of Dough

Given the popularity of digital video among consumers, it’s no wonder marketers are gravitating toward it. The Roundup cites a June 2013 survey conducted by AOL showing that almost three quarters of marketing professionals plan to increase their spending on branded video content or video ads in the next year.

The AOL survey also revealed marketers’ growing preference for digital video ads over TV ads in two key areas: brand awareness and engagement. Nearly half of marketers surveyed (47%) thought digital video ads were more effective at fostering brand awareness than TV ads, compared to less than a third (31%) who thought they were less effective. In terms of driving engagement, the majority (58%) of marketers regard digital video ads as more effective than TV ads. A small number (15%) felt they are less effective. When it comes to video vs. display ads, display is down and out: 9 out of 10 execs thought online video ads had equal or greater impact than display ads.

By 2017, video will account for nearly 15% of all digital ad spending. US advertisers will spend $4.1 billion on digital video ads in 2013. While this is only 9.7% of all digital ad spending, it’s the single fastest-growing format throughout eMarketer’s forecast period. In the coming years, digital video ad spending is expected to more than double, reaching $9.1 billion by 2017.

What is the biggest factor in the success of digital video advertising? According to the marketers in the AOL survey, the ability to quantitatively micro target specific audiences and then measure results. In fact, 73% of survey respondents said that better targeting was the biggest determinant in how much money to invest in digital video advertising; 67% cited better measurement.

The concrete data that accompanies digital advertising allows the big guys and gals pulling out the check books to get a better bang for their buck. Very appealing, don’t you think?

Video Loves Social

In part, the power of digital video lies in social sharing, or “social video.” A December 2012 Netbase study found that video sharing was the 2nd most popular online activity of US Internet users in the key Millennial and Baby Boomer demographics, rating just behind social networking. People share what they love, and the social platforms offer a prime arena to obsessively share that weird cat video or the Dove video that made you cry.

You can be sure that the major social networks know that video is not only here to stay but is fundamentally changing the concept of the thirty-second spot during the latest episode of whatever-hot-new-primetime-drama of your choosing. And that means big bucks for them in the form of video ad revenues.


Rumors around the Facebook mill have been swirling. We know Facebook video ads are coming; the only question only is when. Facebook’s audience size, which it proudly proclaims to media buyers as “the equivalent to three Super Bowls happening every day (roughly 300 million people per day),” challenges TV’s still large audience. According to Business Insider sources, the 15-sec advertisement rollout to the Newsfeed won’t happen until Q3 or Q4, even 2014 according to some. Either way, I’ll be anxious to see how quickly TV ad spending comes toppling down.


Of course there’s Instagram video, or Instavideo. Yes, we all did cartwheels and backflips when Instagram announced its new video feature back in June. After we landed back on Earth and got our heads straightened out, we marketers immediately got to thinking how we could use this to promote our selves (psh, typical). While the 15-sec clips certainly aren’t rivaling the big time ad dollars, the new feature offers yet another way for marketers to capitalize on the consumers’ growing affection for video. But please brands, please make sure that we stay true to the sepia-toned goodness that Instagram has to offer and don’t pump primary-colored, stock reel content into my feed (I’m looking at you Carnival Cruise Lines).


Twitter is opting for a more subtle approach to video advertising with “Twitter Amplify,” taking the “I’ll be your best friend approach,” with the networks, complementing TV ads with tracking and pushing brands’ social reach. However, both my friends at TechCrunch and I are skeptical about how long this friendliness will last.


LinkedIn isn’t quite threatening the likes of TV video advertising, but it definitely threw its hat into the ring this year with video advertisements for brands.

Google AdWords for video currently runs ads on YouTube as part of the TrueView family, which only requires payment for the amount of views the video gets. Again, with the growth of online video consumption, this is a much better option for brands.

The Takeaway

The research is clearly showing that consumers are integrating video more fully into their everyday lives, though they’re not necessarily sitting on their couches in their living rooms to fulfill this need. Increasingly, they’re watching video on tablets and mobile devices, anywhere and everywhere. If your brand is really interested in connecting with these consumers, you may want to experiment with digital video advertising.

This does not mean video should be treated as a solo initiative. As with all marketing in the Digital Age, you want to integrate video advertising with other existing social media strategies; just remember to use a consistent voice and message across all digital channels.

A final note to brands and marketers: don’t let the prospect of yet another digital medium to master send you cowering in a corner with a pad of paper and a pen crying for simpler times. No, no. Instead, see video advertising for what it really is – a precision weapon that allows you to efficiently navigate the online clutter to reach your target audience with pinpoint accuracy. Or, alternatively, it’s a way to blow tons of your client’s dough without posting any results.

I kid you, I’m a kidder…