Later this month I am speaking at AdWeek with my friend Shelley Zalis on the topic “Top 10 Mistakes that CMOs Make.” Leading up to AdWeek I am going to publish a handful of items for friends who can’t make the conference.
This post is about online video, and specifically YouTube. As a consumer I love YouTube.com, and I think they have great video publishing tools. However, YouTube poses a number of challenges for marketers.
YouTube’s agreement with content creators is that you get video tools for free, but Google controls the advertising around the content. It may seem like a harmless arrangement, but video hosted on the YouTube player is shared across the entire web, not just on YouTube.
There are a number of ways that this can cause problems for brands. Just last week I was researching the Nike Fuelband and clicked on a Nike video. I was immediately hit with a 30 second Reebok pre-roll ad. I have come to expect this sort of competitive advertising with Google, but this video was playing on a Nike managed website because they were using the YouTube player.
This experience often happens without a CMO knowing about it. Agencies occasionally use the YouTube player, naively thinking it is cheaper than grabbing a comparable video player from JW or Adobe. As time passes it becomes harder to undo this decision because the content gets picked up and shared to numerous sites. Google continues to own the advertising inventory on the video as it becomes further and further entrenched into the web, and if you don’t like this arrangement your only choice is to yank all the content and start over.
When it comes to video, brands have two basic choices:
1.) Purchase a video platform that provides the same service as YouTube (hosting, CDN, streaming, CMS tools, sharing, etc). This is relatively cheap – $1.00 per thousand streams – and there are a dozen providers out there one could use. With this choice you control the assets, the user experience, and the advertising.
2.) Use the YouTube player. The tools are free, but you will likely end paying ten dollars per thousand streams to make sure that competitors don’t hijack your content.
It seems like a clear choice to me. Google is betting that most advertisers can’t figure this one out, and so far they are right.