Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Embedding your name on my face

I was directed to this post from the MIT Ad Lab via Publishing 2.0. The Ad Lab suggests a different way to look at advertising on YouTube, namely this:

Embedded ads. My response is... duh. Anyone who's in the television business knows that embedded advertising works without seriously eroding the user experience. Why do you think the CBS bug (that's the term for the little graphic in the corner) sits there through all 46 minutes of CSI?

And for those of us who see the path to success for video on the web as light, portable content that you can embed, share, and discover at sites you already visit, the only viable monetization solution is embedded advertising. Your advertising has to be as light and portable as your media.

I can't figure out why no big video site has tried this monetization model yet - to me it is the single most obvious solution - it's easy, it doesn't take any of my time as a user, and it has a track record of actually WORKING - embedded advertising, integrated marketing, product placement and sponsorship. Those are the only ad strategies that will work in the evolving web video space.

Perhaps the only place where that's NOT the case, however, is Youtube. Like mySpace (ok, mySpace is another exception to my video advertising rule) Youtube is a destination. It's a social networking site that seamlessly integrates video and has an audience. You can sell ads around content and banner ads, etc in this context. Youtube's got an entirely different monetization problem, which I blogged about here (and provided my idea for a solution).

But back to the embedded ads - think about where that takes you... so I've got this portable media... and I've got portable ads that go in my portable media. That means I can distribute my media like ads are already being distributed online - because I make money anytime anyone watches it. I can start distributing my videos through adsense, or doubleclick.

To me, this model just makes sense. It allows the content producer to monetize their product in a way that's good for the user (good content with no ads that they don't have to hunt for - in context with what they're doing already online) and good for the websites that have traffic (valuable and entertaining content for their audience).

The beauty of the web to me is synergy.

When the Internet works, things just make sense and fit together. Everyone's life gets easier and everyone makes money. That's the kind of monetization model we should be working towards, and embedded ads are a key part of that.

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