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Viral View: The long idea of online video advertising

While big events will continue to be viewed live, engaging online content will keep the consumer coming back for more, writes Luke Aviet, managing director, Advertising UK, AOL and Goviral.

Luke Aviet, managing director advertising UK, AOL & Goviral

Luke Aviet, managing director advertising UK, AOL & Goviral

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Reality is back. X-Factor exploded onto our screens with its usual millions of viewers for the first episode of its all consuming run up to Christmas, while Richard Desmond’s Channel Five has hurled its version of Big Brother at our consciousnesses with more than 2 million viewers a night and a host of newspaper/TV/blog and video coverage following it.

Obviously it isn’t a new phenomenon on TV, with reality shows existing long before people thought of using video on the internet as an advertising channel.

But a lot of companies are now seeing real brand loyalty, engagement and increased sales by embracing the format as part of a long-tail online video advertising strategy.

Two aims for any business looking to succeed in online advertising should be to embrace the long idea - it’s about more than a 30-second campaign - and to be 'always on' - this means keeping a consistent flow of good content pouring onto the web, offering users entertainment, information and even help and advice.

Research from the Diffusion Group shows that since 2006 the time spent with on demand online video content has increased from just over two hours to almost 15 hours, with estimates showing that this will reach 30 hours by 2017 - overtaking live viewing by 2016.

This is creating a world where the rules of engagement have changed and where reality based concepts and content sponsorships represent a way for brands to remain relevant.

The biggest events in our life, the likes of the Olympics or the X Factor final, will probably still be seen live, but the majority of consumption and engagement remains in the long idea - around the hundreds and thousands of shows, sports games and other content that fill our daily lives across the globe.

When Coca-Cola Company presented its 2020 content strategy 'Liquid and Linked' what they really said was that all content has to be able to float between platforms, be on demand, and link to each other and the real world via interactivity.

In their words the future of content creation will be tent poles and tent pegs - lighthouses and supporting content - always on and always considering distribution and syndication.

An online reality strategy can deliver all of this because in essence you are building a franchise that keeps the consumer coming back by offering them content they can engage with whenever and wherever they want and, more importantly, is updated regularly.  

A very interesting exponent of this long-tail reality idea is the Cannes Grand Prix winning 'Replay' by Gatorade.

This involved Gatorade replaying an American football match, with all of the original players, between two rival high schools that took place 30 years ago and ended in a 7-7 draw.

The campaign not only used online webisodes in the run up to the game as entertainment, but even offered instructional work-out videos of the competitors getting back into shape for users to interact with.

Recent research from UM shows that just under 60% of people joined a brand community to have fun, while just over 60% said it was to get free content.

A well placed online reality strategy can offer both of the above, with hours of content that is both fun and engaging for consumers and, as viewing habits continue to change, also offers the excitement of a live spectacle such as Celebrity Big Brother or X Factor.

Luke Aviet, managing director, Advertising UK, AOL and Goviral

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