2007: The Online Video Era?
Shanfelt’s approach is to demystify. “In b-to-b, advertisers are just not used to video, so you have to develop out a video creative upfront that serves their messages,” he says.
He says Penton uses a ‘secret sauce’ to draw advertisers into the video phenom, and would reveal just one ingredient: that professionally produced ad agency clips are not necessary. “I tell advertisers we can leverage in anything they’ve got,” he says.
Understanding effective delivery might also help. Though those interviewed say no steadfast rule is in place, they all agree that video clips running three to seven minutes work for most markets, and that placing ads at the end of segments is useless.
If anyone has experience testing formats, it is Forbes magazine CEO and President Jim Spanfeller. He says Forbes began pursuing video more than four years ago. Today, Forbes.com is so advanced that it airs news-like broadcasts simulating the TV experience. Typical feeds include an in-studio anchor introducing a segment, then a 20-secondish ad followed by the remainder of the anchored broadcast. Over the years, Forbes constructed six mini-studios from which to air professional-looking online segments covering everything from financial news to celebrity break-ups.
Shanfelt says Penton will run similar video with ad reels on some sites. “On the other hand, our LHTVOnline.com videos are ads. They’re like infomercials,” he says.
Shanfelt adds that in terms of viewer measurement, metrics they use indicate which segments are viewed and at what point viewers bail out.
Aside from having an advertiser sponsor select videos for certain periods of time, Shanfelt believes some will step up to the plate and pay for a joint venture, which is a nice way to monetize video from the get-go. In fact, Penton just launched EngineeringTV.com, which airs two to five editorially driven features per week that consist of cutting-edge engineering technology and applications, with behind-the-scenes clips of that technology and the people involved.
“For that site, we had two charter sponsors—National Instruments and Analog Devices—come on board to buy out all 96 episodes,” says Shanfelt. “They were both very excited about this opportunity and, in this case, they own the entire EngineeringTV.com entity—ads, video clips, Web sites, the whole experience.”