When YouTube created a place to store and show videos online in an easy and simplistic fashion companies saw their way to advertise and self promote through the medium of online videos. Most companies define their online presence through inventive advertising but a few provide videos to enlighten a viewer as to their strategy. What follows is an exploration of five ways companies, groups and productions use online videos to expand their audience.

Online Video Advertising platform YouTube

1. Interactive Videos: One of the best things about the internet is its ability to provide a vast choice of experience to users. Businesses have tapped into this with interactive videos that help promote themselves. Such interactive online video advertising enable companies to promote an individual identity, using the video to get their voice across whilst simultaneously drawing attention to a product. These videos set the tone of the company from the cheeky often lowbrow interactive outings of Lynx with their Keeley Hazel campaign to more successful and bountiful car adverts cropping up online showing off Mercedes and Volkswagen with a sense of humour.

2. In-Game Advertising: An unfortunate aspect of mobile and online expansion is the prevalence of ads on everything, including the games we play on our phones. In-Game advertising has encroached its way into the public consciousness and hardly through choice, but rather through the widespread usage and necessity of mobile phones. The culture of gaming apps has created the opportunity for gaming companies such as Fresh Planet (the minds behind the release of Song Pop, a game that intentionally advertises for other games at regular intervals) to integrate video advertising into the gameplay, loading screens and structure of their games. These videos prove intrusive yet effective with the number of players in these social games ever growing.

3. Revision: Certain companies or TV series have used online video advertising to reinvigorate their brand or series for a different generation such as the highly successful advert for Sesame Street or the web video designed to reintroduce another iconic brand, Old Spice aftershave, to a new generation of customers. This use of new and old together shows the vitality online video advertising provides; the easy distribution of these videos and the family friendly tone depicted within them compliment the targeted advertising of web and search history; directing the Sesame Street advert for example, to parents of young children.

4. Imagination: A lot of the same reasoning used in conventional advertising still applies to its internet counterparts. Adverts must keep the viewer entertained, but most importantly for online video advertising in this category, they must make the viewer curious. The viral ad was formed with the help of the internet and the innovative minds that expanded it but its adverts still require the same thing you’d expect on a television screen, imagination. Viral marketing for movies, especially mainstream blockbusters is the latest advertising approach big studios like 20th Century Fox use to drive up their attendance. For instance the release of the much talked about TED Talk by fictional character Peter Weyland for the movie Prometheus was a huge success that drove discussion on the film before it was even released, encouraging a large proportion of people to see the film. Using imaginative topics and themes in online video advertising encourages audiences to promote the product in question themselves, simply by discussing online video advertising they found interesting or innovative.

5. Messages: Finally some videos emphasise a company’s message without really being promotional at all. Thanks to the internet people around the world are provided access to unusual, remote or specialist events through internet videos – creating such a video establishes a company brand and reputation all on its own, as with the previously mentioned TED Talks (lectures freely distributed on the internet to stimulate and inform), the talks cover a huge amount of ground, each given by different people but the sum of all the videos provide TED with its mission statement, a way of emphasising importance while saying very little about itself as a company. The direct approach, while less common, has helped define certain organisations through the adverts and videos they create.

The use of online video advertising to promote is still in its infancy; with companies worldwide experimenting with different approaches to the age old problem of getting inside their customer’s head. While the methods change and get more imaginative, the reasons and intentions behind them invariably stay the same.

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