A fool’s errand

Reports show that consumers are increasingly watching television shows on the Internet. Does that mean you can recycle your short-form DRTV spots and put them online?

No, says Jaffer Ali, CEO of pay-per-click video network Vidsense.

For one thing, the cost for pre-roll video is way too high — you would need to generate about $1.50 per click to break even. And many viewers will abandon a video that lasts more than 15 seconds.

You also better have a good involvement device. Vidsense helps its clients build databases, using videos as the lure. Prospects are asked to vote on simple questions — like which actress is the prettiest — then are shown the results if they opt in and provide an e-mail address. They also get to watch the video.

“The video is the honey to generate the click,” Ali says. “And the poll and the e-mail address request add to the involvement.” The average opt-out rate is 10%, Ali adds.

Others say it is a waste of time to put your DRTV spot on your site.

“Once the customer is at your site, you already have them,” says Gordon Magee of Doctors Foster and Smith. The pet products merchant is finding the lines to be blurred between the traditional short-form DRTV spot and a regular 30-second television spot.

You could take a chance that your spot will go viral, meaning someone will record it and place it on YouTube. But the chances that you’ll create an Internet buzz like Britney fan Chris Crocker are one in a million.

“The average video on YouTube gets less than 1,000 clicks per month,” Ali says. “It’s a fool’s errand.”

But according to a recent report by online video seeding firm Feed Co., 70% of ad agency and media buying executives plan to increase budgets for viral video marketing in 2009.

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