Online Video: Should Your Firm Jump on the Next Big Ad Trend? - Strategist
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Online Video: Should Your Firm Jump on the Next Big Ad Trend?

The first video was uploaded to YouTube on Saturday, April 23, 2005. In January 2007, Netflix started streaming video.

It's been a slow journey, but now, more than ever, online video is becoming the next big thing.

The Economist outlines the big trend: The New York Times just launched 14 online "channels," Yahoo will launch two original comedy series, live stream concerts, and already pushes sports and video content. This is in addition to the stalwarts, Amazon and Netflix, which have been pushing original content for the last year, and traditional networks which have been putting their content online for even longer.

New media and old media alike, everyone wants to push web content. And with more content comes a new advertising medium. Should you be an early adopter?

Who is Your Audience?

One nagging concern that we can't shake were the discussions of video content by law bloggers at the Above the Law conference a few months ago. The consensus was that prior efforts weren't successful. One proposed reason was the target audience: law blogs for lawyers shouldn't do video because lawyers don't watch videos at work -- it makes too much noise, it's too distracting, etc.

If you're targeting consumers on the other hand, your efforts might be more successful. The Economist notes that the average American viewer watches 4.5 hours of television per day -- and a full hour of online video as well. Advertising spending has followed the trend: while spending on television and online advertising generally is also up, online video ad spending is expected to increase by at least half, to around $10 billion, by 2016.

Even if you can't get them interested in lengthy, original content, such as a lecture on the importance of wills, you might be able to get their attention with a short commercial during a more widely-watched video.

Tips and Tricks

One of our favorite pastimes is mocking terrible lawyer commercials. The need for a high quality advertisement doesn't change when you move online either -- just because YouTube videos started as grainy camera phone videos doesn't mean you can get away with a hastily-filmed iPhone or webcam video. (If you do, we'll probably mock it. Sorry.)

What makes a successful video? It's not necessarily a matter of high-end production, though Jamie Casino's video was pretty great. You can go reasonable-budget but funny instead, such as the fake YouTube takedown divorce ads or the Thanks Dan! video that went viral earlier this year. My fellow writer Gabriella also has a few tips for those of you seeking to avoid Internet mockery.

And if this is all too much for you to handle, you can always call our Lawyer Marketing folks.

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