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Social & Viral Are Great, but the Real Future of Video Advertising is Choice

We can barely escape the words “social” and “viral” today. You’ve probably had meetings about one or both of these words in the past month. And for good reason. Everyone wants to know how to do social and everyone wants to know how to get their campaign to go viral. Social and viral are good and powerful ideas. But as good as they are, we’d like to add another idea to the mix: Choice.

The reason is that if you don’t have choice, social and viral can’t happen. Social capitalizes on how consumers choose to interact with their friends and family. Viral is simply consumer choice on steroids.

Choice is what puts consumers in control. It’s what lets consumers be consumers.

But as fundamental as choice is in our day-to-day lives, this is the first time in history that consumers can choose which ads they watch. For thousands of years, consumers have been forced to see specific advertisements. And they’ve come in the form of borrowed engagement.

Choice changes the social dynamics between ads and consumers. When consumers can choose to watch ads, as opposed to being interrupted by them, they share and recommend those ads to friends and family, blast them across social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, embed them on their blog and site, copy and repost them across hundreds of video-sharing sites, and more. This is Earned Media, and it’s the crown jewel of advertising.

The years ahead will see incredible innovation in video advertising. Some of it will be focused on optimizing existing technology based on borrowed engagement, from which we’ll likely see significant improvement. But the real push will be to create new ad formats that enable advertisers to be the center of the dialogue, create organic relationships with their consumers, and systematically drive Earned Media. And all this comes from choice.

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