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New Study: Online Video Ads Beat TV Ads In Viewer Recall


More news is out this week in a study showing that online video ads beat television ads head-to-head when it comes to viewers paying attention and recalling the message after watching the video. I’ll have more on that below.

As a plaintiffs’ attorney I”m always interested in obtaining new clients with great cases. And as the owner of an online video/new media/social media company, I realized years ago that online video offered a wonderful opportunity for plaintiffs’ lawyers.

In early 2009, we began a very successful online video campaign designed to attract clients injured in Yamaha Rhino rollovers.  (See my March 29, 2009 post, “Use online video to do things you can’t do on TV“). Our satirical video made exactly the point we intended–that Yamaha was ignoring the too-frequent reports of people suffering serious injuries in Yamaha Rhino rollover accidents. To date, the satirical video has been viewed 11,755 times.

A video of one of my joint venture partners explaining why Rhinos are dangerous has been viewed 6,207 times. We found two major takeaways from our Yamaha project: (1) you can present interesting, well-produced online video far cheaper than you can engage in a television ad campaign, and (2) the videos are very effective in delivering clients via the Internet and telephone.

A study reported in Media Post yesterday reported that viewers pay significantly more attention to video ads than television ads. The article states:

Viewers pay more attention to online video ads than to traditional TV commercials and also recall them better, according to new research that utilized Affectiva’s facial tracking algorithms and second-by-second biometric modeling of cognition, excitement and stress levels.
The research measured the reactions of 48 viewers watching one hour of programming in Interpublic Group’s West Coast IPG Media Lab.
Conducted by the Media Lab during March in conjunction with video ad network YuMe, the study determined that on average, online viewers pay more attention to the screen than do traditional TV viewers — and the greater attention levels carry over to advertising.
Online video ads received 18.3% more viewer attention in the study than TV commercials — a much higher disparity than the 8.5% greater viewer attention garnered by online video content over TV content.
This was largely due to the finding that when transitioning from program content to ads, the attention of TV viewers dropped off three times faster than that of online viewers.

More proof of the power of online video comes in YouTube’s announcement today that over this last weekend,  YouTube had more than 3 billion views a day. That’s a 50% increase over last year. YouTube says “That’s the equivalent of nearly half the world’s population watching a YouTube video each day, or every U.S. resident watching at least nine videos a day.”

The two articles that came out this week are impressive, but they neglect one point of utmost importance to plaintiffs’ law firms–most of the people watching online lawyer videos have already self-identified themselves as potential clients. They are online looking for you. Television doesn’t have a way to compete with that. You may target the viewers of Judge Judy and the other judge shows, but many of the viewers aren’t interested in hiring a lawyer. But if someone runs a Google or YouTube search that leads them to watch your video, it’s almost certain they’re looking for a lawyer. They may just be looking for you.

So when your prospective client searches the Internet and finds your video, what message should the video convey? That you are knowledgeable, trustworthy, and understand the type of legal problem that the client has.

To help communicate your message in the most credibly way possible, you need the high production quality that professionals can give you. You don’t want your prospective client to see a poorly lit video that’s hard to hear because you used your iPhone or the camera you got for Christmas. Most lawyers simply don’t own the professional sound and lighting equipment that a high-quality video requires. And if you’re a camera-shy person or look shifty-eyed, consider having a partner, associate or paid spokesman appear in the ad instead of you. Although it’s nice for the client to see the actual lawyer, it’s even more important that the client see and hear someone who looks professional, competent and unafraid.

Using professionals with high-quality video, lighting and sound equipment doesn’t have to cost a fortune. After all, one of the advantages of online video is that it’s cheaper than television. But videotaping yourself is a good way to waste time and money, without getting the results you hope to receive. If you sign up just one modest personal injury case as the result of your video, your fee should more than cover the cost of professional production.

And a professional will help you come up with things to enhance your video that you may not have considered. As I’ve said before, you can do things with online video that you can’t do with television. Ask your video professional for ideas. For example, you can use exactly the amount of time necessary to clearly communicate a convincing message, without being locked into a 30-second or 60-second format. You can leave the contact information on the screen for a full minute at the end of the video so the client will actually have time to write down the contact info. You can put clickable links on your video asking the client to click to contact you. When the client clicks, he/she will get a brief form to send his/her contact and case information immediately to you. And you can use satire in appropriate cases to increase the “viral” nature of the video. TV really doesn’t lend itself well to personal injury lawyers trying to use satire.

If you haven’t tried incorporating online video into your law firm marketing campaign, you’re missing out on a low-priced way to communicate your message to thousands of potential clients.

If you want to find out how we can help you get clients using online video, please use our Contact Form. We can either prepare an online video campaign solely for your firm, or we can discuss putting you in a joint marketing campaign with other firms pursuing a particular type of case (for example, a mass tort). We’ll be happy to provide you with a free analysis of your options. and we’ll give you an ironclad up-front price for our online video services.

About Michael J. Evans

Michael J. Evans is a personal injury lawyer who represents people with claims involving defective medicine or medical devices, other defective products that cause serious injury or death, and environmental cases. Evans also handles whistleblower lawsuits in which employees, or former employees, expose fraud or other illegal conduct by the corporation for which they work(ed), Evans organizes litigation groups of plaintiffs law firms to work with him on these cases nationwide. Evans uses social media, blogs, online video, mobile apps and traditional media to connect with clients, and help other prominent law firms connect with clients.. Evans is also an advocate for the rights of consumers. His primary areas of legal practice are mass torts, and advising law firms on the ethical rules and law governing legal marketing via the Internet and social media.

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