Online Video Viewers Prefer News Clips, Shorter Ads

Most consumers - 62% - are viewing video online, and contrary to popular opinion those viewers are not just young adults viewing user-generated videos, according to a bi-annual video study from AOL’s Advertising.com, which sought to analyze online video viewing and response to video advertising.

Most (69%) of those viewing videos are age 35 or older, with a preference for viewing news clips online, the study found.


“The internet is still seen first and foremost as an information resource. With news clips remaining the most popular type of streamed content, video viewing habits reflect that status,” said Lynda Clarizio, president of Advertising.com.

“But it will be interesting to see how viewership evolves with the rise of social networks, more diverse video content, increased interactive gaming, and other such advances in online entertainment. I think we may see a shift in usage toward recreation; these latest figures certainly hint at that trend.”

As for video advertisements, consumers accept them as part of the video experience - 94% of respondents prefer ads to subscription fees. However, 63% of respondents say shorter ads would make the online video experience more pleasurable.


Shorter spots also deliver higher percent-viewed rates, according to data from the Advertising.com network.

Other key findings from the study:

  • More news, user-generated content:
    • In the first half of 2007, 62% of consumers viewed news clips online, followed by movie trailers with 38%.
    • Music videos came in third at 36%, decreasing from 47% in the second half of 2006.


  • Tastes differ by age:
    • The 18-34-year-old audience prefers entertainment content such as music videos and TV shows. They also create more online video content than those ages 35 and older.
    • In contrast, the 35 and older audience is more likely to view news.
    • Compared with the previous study, 18-34-year-olds are streaming more movies, TV shows and user-generated videos.
    • Those 35 and older are streaming more sports clips and user-generated videos than previously reported.
  • Complementing TV, not replacing it:


    • 51% of survey respondents would watch a television episode online if they missed it on TV.
    • However, 80% of consumers say that online video usage does not cut into their TV time.

About the study: Advertising.com’s research covered the first two quarters of 2007 and incorporated both consumer survey data and video advertising performance data from the Advertising.com video network. The survey was hosted by online market research company InsightExpress.



Teens Are Talking Talking Talking About Brands

A new study says teens have about 145 conversations a week involving brand names, reports BrandWeek.

The study comes from The Keller Fay Group, who monitored the conversations of 2,046 13-17 year olds.

The firm found that teens in this group were more likely than adults to not only talk about brands but about advertising, 57 percent to 48 percent.

It's teens freedom to socialize versus that of adults that plays a large role in their discussions. Because they have more free time to consume media, they're exposed to more advertising and brands, and thus talk more about both of those than older groups.

The study also found teens mention brands more online via direct communication or on blogs, than adults. 19 percent of teens' word-of-mouth occurs online, as opposed to just seven percent of adults'.

Entertainment brands were discussed by 75 percent of teens. Sports and other hobbies made up 68 percent, technology 67 percent, telecom 65 percent and dining or food 62 percent.

More than half of brand mentions by teens are positive, which may be higher than expected, but still below the 64 percent of adult conversations.


Study: Branding Can Alter Kids' Perception of Taste

Preschoolers' perception of what tastes better can be heavily influenced by the packaging, if it's branded by ubiquitous food brands - in this case, McDonalds - according to the findings of a study by a Stanford University researcher, writes MarketingCharts, citing the Associated Press.

The study had 3-5-year-olds from low-income families sample foods in taste tests of food wrapped in McDonalds and in unmarked wrappers.

Study author Dr. Tom Robinson is quoted as saying kids' perception of taste was "physically altered by the branding." Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids if they thought the food was from McDonlad's.

The study involved 63 low-income children from Head Start centers in San Mateo County, Calif. Only two of the 63 said they'd never eaten at McDonald's; about one-third ate there at least weekly.


The 63 children performed a total of 304 individual tasting comparisons. In general, McDonald's-labeled foods were the favorites.

The researchers found that children with more television sets in their homes and children who ate food from McDonald's more often were more likely to prefer the taste of foods/drinks if they thought they were from McDonald's (see figures in MarketingCharts, which also has more data from the study).


Reasons for choosing one agency over another...

Examining the reasons for choosing one agency over another, the study (pdf) found that though “chemistry” and “strength of creative work” scored highly, as might be expected, so did “quality customer insights.” Respondents ranked the various factors as follows:

  1. Quality customer insights
  2. Chemistry
  3. Creative work
  4.  Service level / response to needs ongoing
  5. Cost control
  6. Innovative / strategic thinking
  7. Case for ROI
  8. Client list
  9. Strict adherence to brief
  10. Seniority of account team
  11. Location
  12. Size


Study: Agency Size Matters Little to Marketers

There's a significant disconnect between marketing agencies and their clients' decision-makers, according to Rainmaker Consulting's "Intelligent New Business Survey," which examines how US marketing communications agencies best engage with prospective clients to win new business.

The poll sought to determine what prompts brand spenders to search for a new agency, the most effective ways for agencies to engage with clients, and the reasons they choose one agency over another, writes MarketingCharts.

Among the study's findings:

  • In general, clients don't feel that size matters, but agencies tend to believe it does.
  • The majority of clients (83 percent) don't feel geographical location is an issue, but many agencies think it is.
  • 85 percent of clients say agencies don't prepare enough.
  • Most clients (75 percent) are seeking to buy actual solutions to business problems - whereas most agencies think the client is looking for advertising, PR, design or some other silo-fit.
  • Clients want agencies to be far more proactive, whereas most agencies like to sit in the bunker.



Navigation: Which kind is best?

Certainly, you should have the navigation that works best for you. But testing navigation is not as easy as testing, say, the titles you should have on pages, or what prices you should offer your products at. Most companies want to decide on their navigation before they design their sites, and then they just live with their misery until the next redesign. (I learned that lesson the hard way.)
So let's just discuss the opportunities and downfalls.

Top horizontal vs. left vertical navigation vs. both.
Top horizontal navigation has the advantage of all being above the fold, and gets presented in a nice neat package up there with your logo. Furthermore, it doesn't hoard much of your precious real estate, the way that left navigation does. After all, even if your left navigation only has seven or eight options, your designer will probably keep you from wrapping text around it (and thereby prevent you from using the white space below it. Although, you could use the space for surveys or testimonials or news or snippets from your blog.) Top horizontal has another advantage -- you can add a wordpress blog much easier. Blogs tend to have a side horizontal nav bar already (although you could do them on opposite sides of the page, especially if you don't have to design for 800x600.)
On the other hand, it is much harder to extend horizontal navigation - it can only get as wide as your customers' browsers.
So I will make sweeping generalizations, if everyone who reads recognizes that the only "good" navigation is the one that is good for you. If you are a small lead generation website that wants to have Services, Products, Partners, About Us and Contact Us in your navigation (I really hate those, but more later), then go ahead and do the horizontal thing. If you are a large website, especially an e-commerce website with lots of products, you probably have to do the vertical navigation. If you are Amazon, you probably have so many products that you need to do both. And if you are a content site, like CNN, your whole site is really one big piece of navigation, because everywhere you turn, you are linking to another story.
Having said that, we are a small b-to-b website, and I just hate our horizontal navigation. There are so many things I would like to add and can't.

Text vs words in pictures.
Oh, this one is easy. If your navigation includes important keywords, then do your navigation in text. That way, you get some credit for those keywords in the search engines. On the other hand, if you have one of those Services - Products - Partners - About Us -Contact Us kinds of navigation, go ahead and write it any way you want.

Javascript pulldowns and flyouts.
The issue here, besides any search engine issues, is about usability - it's so hard to get your mouse to navigate to exactly the right place (and this gets worse when companies add another level of flyouts, Haven't you done that, you mouse over something, a menu comes up, you move your mouse over to where you want to be, and then you have a third set, and you can't get your mouse to hold on the right spot?) So keep this one simple. As part of that, make *sure* that the first level of navigation is mousable. For example, you hve a music website, and one category is jazz, and under that, you have all sorts of jazz bands -- you should still allow me to click on jazz, the highest level, so that I can see the category page.

What words should you use?
This is a great opportunity for some quick user testing. Write down the topics of your top hundred or two hundred pages, and ask users to sort them into piles that make sense. And then ask the people who are sorting to give each pile a descriptive name.
My favorite example of bad naming is from the old Carnegie Mellon website. I try to keep screenshots out of email, but if you looked at it, you would notice that one of the categories is Faculty Visitors. I can't tell you how many times I have been to that link. After all, when I go to the CMU website, I am usually pretending to be my spouse, dealing with benefits. Visiting their website. That made me a faculty visitor. Right? But always, I came away disappointed, because that's where visitors from other universities were supposed to go....
And of course, you can be completely non-descript and use Services - Products - Partners - About Us -Contact Us, thereby ensuring that no one can look at your navigation and know what you do without clicking.


Breadcrumbs, and where am I, anyway?
Not everything is on the navigation. After all, it just can't be when you have a million-page website. But you still need to get visitors to their information, so you'll have to rely on excellent on-site search, a great sitemap (but not everything will be there either, will it?), very strong scent, and linking from page to page.
Should you have breadcrumbs? You know, those little (sometimes clickable) links that showed you went from Outwear to Sweatshirts to Hoodies? I think that the jury is out on that one. Jared Spool claimed to me (this was in March '06 when I was at their road show) that his studies show, no one uses breadcrumbs. When I blogged about this, readers had strong opinions (both ways, including Spool, who commented too.) If you do use them, be careful not to create a real trail in text (lest you really mess yourself up in the search engines.) You can either create a relative trail (so, for example, even if I land directly on Hoodies from the search engines, my trail already says Outerwear > Sweatshirts > Hoodies.) Or, you can create a real trail, but wrap it in javascript so that the search engines can't read it.


Robbin Steif


Top 100 Global Brands Named



More info:

Nielsen, MRI: Magazine Website Visitors Mostly Incremental to Print Readers

An average of 83% of visitors to the websites of 23 large-circulation monthly magazines access those magazines’ content solely online, according to a new, jointly launched single-source database from Nielsen/NetRatings and Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI).

The database, named Net/MRI will measure consumers’ offline and online media usage, providing a net audience estimate for print media that have complementary websites; it will provide demographic, psychographic and product usage information for users of both platforms, the companies said.


Also according to the newly released magazine website data:

  • Among individual magazine titles, the web-only percentages range from 65% to 96%.
  • Male visitors to online magazine sites were more likely than female visitors to read only the online version.
  • However, there was little difference between older and younger visitors to these sites in their propensity to read the printed magazines affiliated with those sites.

The companies plan to publish Net/MRI data monthly, shortly after the release of Nielsen/NetRatings’ monthly NetView data.

College Students Growing More Receptive to Mobile Ads

College students are growing increasingly receptive to receiving advertising via text messages on their cell phones and other mobile devices - so much so that more than half would consider it - according to a new study from Ball State University (via TheStarPress).

Some 56.3% of survey respondents said they would accept ads if they were to get something free in return, said Michael Hanley, a Ball State advertising professor and mobile marketing researcher, who conducted an analysis of mobile communications by college students during 2005-07.

Among the survey findings:

  • 37.4% of college students said it would only take the offer of a free ring tone for them to accept advertisements on their cell phones.
  • 21.4% preferred a discount or coupon to a restaurant, movie or grocery store.
  •  20% wanted free minutes, upgrades, access to the internet or music.

 ”Just a couple of years ago few college students accepted ads on their mobile devices because they felt it was an invasion of their privacy,” Hanley said. “Now all you have to do is offer free ring tones, cash or access to the Internet because this age group has grown up with cell phones and other mobile devices. It is the way they communicate with each other as well as with the outside world.”

Some other findings from the study:

  • 36.7% of college students had received a text message advertisement in 2007, up 13% from 2005.
  • College students are less worried today about how a business obtains their cell phone or mobile device contact information:
    • The percentage of those who said they were “very concerned” dropped 25%
    • The percentage of those saying they were “concerned a little” fell 33%.
  • The study also found that cell phones are being used less today for talking and more for entertainment than in 2005:
    • The number of college students with cell phones with video cameras increased 33%.
    • 40% of respondents sent photos via cell phone or email in 2007, up 10%.
    • 10% sent videos to another cell phone or email addresses in 2007, up 7%.
    • 50% said they had downloaded a ring tone in 2007, up from 8.5%.
    • 20% have downloaded wallpapers or screensavers, an increase of 18.1%.

“It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the mobile industry because college students are early adapters,” Hanley said. “It is hard to find a college student without a cell phone or another mobile communications device.”