Will Online Video Advertising Replace TV Advertising?

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Two facts got me thinking about this question. Firstly, online video is growing, driven by mobile, but with desktop still playing a big part. Secondly, online video advertising is far easier to track. But does online video advertising have what it takes to replace TV advertising?Meerkat and Periscope have made it easier for the every-man to become a live broadcaster, opening up the live video world to new producers, presenters and creators, potentially increasing the competition for TV networks.

Related: Adults in the U.S. Watch Over 5 Hours of Video Each Day

Data, Data, Data
Tracking and targeting campaigns have been the two big differences brought in with digital. Video advertising on TV was powerful in the past, when there was little choice for consumers, but it was never perfectly trackable. Video advertising online is trackable.

Is it irrelevant?
We could be heading to a time when TV and online video merges. In fact, it’s possible that soon, TV advertising will be trackable, and could even be considered just another form of online advertising.

If that happens, then, yes, TV advertising will be replaced in a way, but really, it would have just progressed and evolved.

What everyone watches
In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H was watched by 125 million viewers, Super Bowl XLIX had over 168 million viewers. These are incredible numbers.

At the time of writing this article, Gangnam Style has had just over 2.3 billion views on YouTube, Justin Bieber’s Baby music video has had over 1.1 billion. These are even more incredible numbers, but of course, that is views over time.

With online video advertising, we can target a select audience, track how much of the ad they watched and measure their clicks, bounce rates, purchases etc. This is pretty powerful stuff in comparison to the old TV ad model of putting the advert on TV and measuring a spike in sales.

The one thing that stands out as missing from online video, even live broadcasting, is the buzz that comes from knowing that everyone else will be watching what you’re watching. For pre-recorded video, we can take a guess that at least one person we know has watched “Charlie Bit My Finger” but it doesn’t have the word of mouth triggering mechanism of knowing that people you know are watching the same video as you, at exactly the same time. The emotion can be higher, the group cohesion can be higher, and the impact on viral marketing can be huge.

Once we can be sure that 125 million people will log on to Periscope to watch live video streams, then we will be at a time when mobile and online video will be replacing TV, and therefore the need to advertise, but until that day, TV advertising still has a role that online video advertising can’t quite fill, however, until the two merge, online video advertising has a massively effective role that TV advertising could never fill.

Photo Credit: By Alf van Beem (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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