DoubleClick, a leading service provider in the digital/online advertising world, has just published an analysis of response patterns to 301 online ad campaigns running June to September 2006.

The bottomline is hugely important for marketers of causes and candidates:

Video ads generate at least twice the response (as measured by click throughs) as standard image (JPG or GIF) ads.

In fact, when all forms of interaction with video ads are included, about 8% of all video ad impressions delivered in the study generated some interaction (2.7 billion video and image ad impressions were studied).

Actual click-through rates range from 0.4% to 0.74% for video ads, as compared to 0.1% to 0.2% for image ads.

[Who's watching online video? Nearly 123 million people in the U.S. in January '07 (70% of the total U.S. internet audience), according to comScore. And they watched an average of 151 minutes of online video during the month.]

The “bad” news is that online videos are short, short, short. According to DoubleClick, the typical :30 second online video is actually viewed an average of 19 seconds, while :15 second videos are viewed an average of 10 seconds.

Not a lot of time for meaningful dialogue in the first instance! But remember, a key purpose of the online video is to trigger the click-through … from there your cause or candidate can “take the floor” with a more substantial presentation.

The Agitator has been monitoring the e-mail communications of all the Presidential candidates for the past two months. So far, we've been surprised at how little video messaging we've received, especially in the context of fundraising.

The typical use of video has been to recycle video footage of candidate appearances on mainstream TV (e.g. Biden on Leno, McCain on Letterman) or to present recycled or live key campaign speeches and appearances (e.g., all the Dems posted their performances before the DNC Winter Meeting, McCain and others holding online town hall meetings, announcing their candidacies, etc.).

Only recently have we encountered video-driven fundraising appeals (e.g., pitch for Hillary by Bill, John Edwards capitalizing on Ann Coulter's bigoted comments to the American Conservative Union).

Just for starters, it seems to us that a simple no-brainer would be to use a video thank-you and upsell to a monthly contribution, directly from the candidate, as the standard default communication after each one-time online donation.

Cause fundraisers should do the same, using the signer of the e-appeal as their video messenger.*

Direct mail fundraisers get fired if they don't exploit the “acknowledgement” process!

After the March “close-out” of candidates' 1st QTR campaign fundraising reports, we'll have more to report on our ongoing “content analysis” of their e-mail communications.

Roger & Tom

*In a survey of 450 US and Canadian charities to be published on their website in May, the Assn of Fundraising Professionals finds that nearly 88% of groups that raise funds online say their donations increased in 2006; in 2005, only 55% of groups that solicited online raised more than in 2004.

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