Television vs Online Video Advertising

As companies look for new ways to advertise, it’s important to take note of where people are getting their news, entertainment, and mail.

Everything’s online these days, whether we like it or not. We get our news, tv shows, music, gossip, mail and more online. There are still people that believe in pen and paper, and when I do have time to relax, to do tend to prefer to walk away from my computer and get a magazine or newspaper. But that’s because I spent about 80% of my working day in front of a computer.

But regardless of whether I Tweet, send emails, read the news or absorb any thing in text form, the visual form is always going to be more interesting. You know why? Because we’re visually curious. What happens on the freeway when an accident happens? Everyone slows down to see what’s going on. Why are cop shows, heist dramas, talent contests and even reality TV shows so popular? Because we like watching things unfold. We like being surprised and being teased.

You know what else we like? We like seeing more than one thing at a time. In a way, we’ve become an ADD society – but not in the way you think. I don’t mean it in the “I’m easy distracted” kind of way, but rather a “Give my brain multiple things to process at the same time, work my brain to the hilt” kind of way. We like seeing the small detail, the things that help us learn about a person, a circumstance, an environment. There’s a lot of money being spent in design because we know that as humans we need the varied stimuli.

There’s a reason why I can listen to radio while working but can’t while a tv show is on.

The interesting thing about online video outlets (such as Tube sites) is that you can upload anything anytime. Depending on the site, there may be restrictions (YouTube, for instance, shuns nudity), but on the whole you don’t need a giant commercial budget to create an ad campaign on a tube site. Combine that with cheaper and more user-friendly video cameras setups already on every smartphone out there, and you have not only a near-free way to promote anything you want.

The Super Bowl in 2009 showed an interesting shift in visual advertising. Rather than do full-length commercials, a few companies elected to do “blip” advertising in 1-second or 5-second increments. They garnered a lot of interest because not only was it novel, but it showed that some companies understood the shift of the attention span of the average consumer instead of trying to stick to old-school methods.

Since then, a lot of Super Bowl advertising has showed another big shift – that from going away from television advertising altogether. Some companies, such as Pepsi (who has been advertising on that day for TWENTY-THREE YEARS), have opted to not use what has been traditionally the biggest advertising day of the year and is electing instead to market through social media and other online means. Part of the Super Bowl tradition is watching the commercials – it’ll be interesting to see if the tradition continues or if people elect to interact online more and more instead.

Television commercials may not be dying as quickly as printed media, but the apparent need for it is making a dramatic shift. Those that do not embrace the value of online video as a means to promote and advertise their product instead will be missing the boat.

How much television programming do you still watch on television? On online “stations” like Hulu? What do you do during commercial breaks (if there are any in the method you choose)?