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Editor's Note:

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

Thanks for Reading!

Pony Up To The Video Snack Bar
by: Jaffer Ali
(Originally published: 5/19/2009)

A realization struck me just a couple days ago: I was thinking about the steady dose of critical assessment that characterizes my weekly musings and my propensity to use a rather large and heavy sledge hammer to bang away at what passes for conventional marketing "wisdom".

But amidst the headlines on torture, stock market uncertainties and rising unemployment, perhaps it's time to point to some positive things our industry offers. Just as there are more and more critical articles surfacing that challenge the online status quo, I want to turn the other cheek-or at least give it a try. Why? Who knows. Maybe I'm just growing tired of preaching to the coterie of folks who agree with me!

I recently was asked to speak at the CMMA (Chicago Media and Marketing Association) monthly gathering. Together with a video SEO expert, we discussed online video and its enormous potential. I was struck by how few had heard of the term "video snacking". Given that nearly 80% (77% to be exact) of all video viewing online is the result of "video snacking" rather than search, we should talk about this.

So what exactly is video snacking?

Simply put, it is spontaneous video viewing that occurs while doing something else. It could be a link to a video sent by a friend or a link inside a news story. Or it could be viewing some editor's picks on a video site like YouTube.

Video snacking stands in direct contrast to actually searching for, and then viewing a particular video clip. And again, for anybody doing the math, more than three times as many video views occur through random video snacking than through purposeful search.

Yet most of the trade ink surrounding online video is geared to search technology, SEM, SEO. But if we really want to understand online video and how to harness its innate power and appeal, it behooves us to examine how people actually consume it.

Advertisers, in particular, should pay closer attention to how video is consumed. Why? I think my friend, Tom Cuniff, VP of Marketing at Combe, Inc. (Just For Men, Cepacol, Grecian Formula, Vagisil, and about a dozen other brands) may have the answer. Here's how he replied when asked why video snacking was important to him and his company:

I really like marketing within the video snacking mindset because I have the opportunity to intervene into his/her awareness much easier than if they were doing purposeful searching...unless they were searching for my brands.

Tom is a savvy marketer. He understands that creative "intervention" is what advertising and marketing is all about. Intervening while people are "snacking" is a chance to tap and satisfy this insatiable appetite for distraction in a very positive manner. Besides, why try to intervene with the 23% of consumers whose video attention is otherwise focused? Those searching for a particular video clip-their minority status notwithstanding-have already "declared" their intention, described nicely in this analogy from Mr. Cuniff:

Say someone is walking across the room to get a fire extinguisher. They are focused on getting to the fire extinguisher and I really will have a hard time getting that person's attention. But with video snackers, I can get their interest more easily. It's just common sense.

What Tom is saying is another formulation of what Bill Bernbach said many years ago. Bernbach spoke of advertisers creating "environments to buy". Video snacking presents an opportunity to resonate with those 77% of video-hungry consumers looking for a satisfying video snack. In essence, this proven behavior and the mindset that fuels it combine to produce the ultimate environment to buy.

The wonder of the Internet is that we now have a virtually unlimited supply of tasty video snacks to share. And we definitely have the appetite. So advertisers, what are you waiting for? It's time to pony up to the nearest video snack bar!


Original Article: Pony Up To The Video Snack Bar

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