Recent news about online video probably has marketers confused. Distill the mix of positive and negative facts, however, and you’ll boil down the truth: Online video is still important for marketers who want to entice consumers.

It’s true that in the short term, we’ll see a slowdown of online video ad spend. AccuStream iMedia Research says that growth of such spending will decrease in 2009 to 22.5 percent, down from 36 percent growth in 2008. Figures from eMarketer are even more dramatic, predicting that growth will slow to 44.9 percent in 2009, compared to 81 percent growth in 2008. It’s easy for a marketer to look at all this and say, “Well, why should I use video for advertising and marketing? It doesn’t seem that my competitors will.”

But that’s short-sighted.

First, online video spending is bound to grow again–and the wise marketer will be ready when it does. Consider that both AccuStream and eMarketer say that online video ad spend will increase again in 2010 (to 28.2 percent, AccuStream predicts).

And online video is becoming increasingly more important to consumers–even elderly ones! The Pew Internet & American Life Project found in its catchily-titled report, “Generations Online In 2009,” that the majority of people in many demographics enjoy online video. Among those ages 18 to 32 (“Generation Y”), 72 percent watch videos online. Of those ages 33 to 44 (“Generation X”), 57 percent do the same. More interestingly, the number of Internet users ages 73 and older who download online videos has increased significantly–to 13 percent, from 1 percent in 2005. Those ages 64-72 also increased their video downloading behavior to 13 percent of users.

So it makes sense to have a video marketing plan in place. For example, you should know where and how to place your videos so that they’ll gain the greatest viewership possible (mobileStorm Video, for example, lets users broadcast their clips to all the major online video sharing sites in a single click). These videos can be used to draw consumers to a brand–perhaps by advertising a short code to which they can send a keyword to subscribe for special messages; or by directing them to a Web site where they can fill out a form for an email message subscription.

True, it may not be the most important aspect of your overall marketing strategy. But considering consumer usage and expected growth, you can’t afford to ignore online video either.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manager, mobileStorm
“I’d rather you text me”