With New TV Viewing Habits, SMBs Must Explore Online Video

TV is often the first channel many advertisers turn to, especially in local markets. But changes in TV consumption have forced many advertisers, large and small, to think differently about how they approach TV advertising. One growing trend is the “cord nevers,” a subset of viewers who have never paid for a cable or satellite subscription. This group accounts for 9 percent of the total population, but could be as high as 35 percent of adults 18 to 29, MediaLife Magazine reports.

With more and more younger viewers avoiding traditional TV packages altogether, SMBs in particular should be paying attention, as they’ll have fewer opportunities to reach customers via airtime purchased from local media partners. To counteract this, SMB advertisers will need to push deeper into online video, an area many have been hesitant to experiment with. Fortunately, SMBs will find that the barriers for online video advertising aren’t as high as they perhaps appear.

The first thing that SMBs need to know is that video inventory is available to them – and quite easily, at that. While many likely associate video advertising with the premium streaming destinations like Hulu and YouTube, the truth is that there are many other options for video inventory. Programmatic ad buying allows SMB advertisers to pursue their audience across the web, opening up video inventory – both pre- and post-roll inventory – across a network of sites around the web. Advertisers can often access this inventory through the same local media companies from which they buy their TV airtime. In most cases, the advertiser need only stipulate their budget and technology can take of the rest of the buying, serving and reporting.

SMB advertisers also can’t think of video only in a traditional sense, as a commercial that plays around programming. Social networks have actually proven to be great sources of video advertising inventory, especially Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is already the most commonly used social platform for SMBs, according to eMarketer – using the same video creative on Facebook is a seamless progression for advertisers looking to reach an audience amid shrinking TV viewership.

Of course, that creative is likely the greatest barrier to entry, but it doesn’t have to be. SMB advertisers don’t need to invest a huge budget to create an ad that matches the look and feel of a Super Bowl spot. Facebook itself is running workshops to teach SMBs that they can produce really engaging content for as little as $50. SMBs that are willing to spend more, especially those that already invest in local TV, will find that producing online video spots that match the look and feel of Fortune 500 companies’ advertising is relatively easy today. High definition equipment is far more affordable and local agencies and media companies can often help with the creative concepts.

The future of advertising is going to video, which will be consumed across desktop computers, mobile devices, and even traditional TV sets. SMB advertisers need to make sure they’re investing in this channel, especially as a younger generation eschews TV services in favor of the internet. Fortunately, it’s never been easier for SMB advertisers to access video inventory and produce spots that look just as good as some of the biggest brands in the world. The barriers to entry are so low that SMBs should not be asking if they should invest in online video, but if their online video campaigns look as good as it could.