Bradley Werner and Ben Barokas predict what’s up for video in 2007, including BT and contextual targeting, sponsor cards, five-second bumpers, end cards, telescoping and more.

Products are being built and research is being done at this very moment to ensure that the user experience is forever preserved when it comes to video content. Many of these products and much of this research will also let advertisers and publishers know how much of a presence they can have in the next generation of video ad solutions to ensure results but minimize user annoyance and negative feedback.

These new video ad solutions will bring further scale to the video market. Where they’re utilized, how often and for how much money, will be dependent on the video content’s subject matter, length and position.

Right now there is a wide variety, and abundance, of video content out there. It encompasses the mainstream and long tail, user-generated and professionally produced, and everything in between. Since advertisers recognize the importance of promoting a positive association between their product or brand and the content it’s associated with for the audience being targeted, all of these videos will have large opportunities as effective advertising products.

In the near future, the key to effective and profitable digital video will be the relevant targeting and contextual association between the advertising and the content. Targeting methods and media planning services that ensure pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads are highly relevant to the content they play around will make those products more effective and more tolerable to users. Adding companion banners and interactive capabilities goes without saying because the internet was built for that, but it will be the marriage of ads to complimentary content in context that will ensure the success of digital video results.

When it comes to the acceptable length of video ads, the present predominant practice of repurposing :15 and :30 second TV creative has created angst amongst publishers and users. Acceptable ad length on the internet depends on the length and kind of content that it is being inserted into, and it must also adhere to an optimal ad-to-edit ratio.

In 2007, to alleviate the headache of appropriate commercial length, asset differentiation such as the placement of sponsor cards, five-second bumpers, and end cards are going to grow in visibility. Additionally, we are hearing lots of interest and talk about branded entertainment that will blur the line between advertising and content.

In this multiverse of video ad products, sites that have dedicated video playlists — either those that are editorially built for the user, those that are user-created, or those that are created dynamically for a user based on their past decisions (the way that Pandora makes a music station for you based on the artist or song that you have selected first) — the focus on video advertising viewed between assets will be on the view-through metric. Ad products that show up at the end of playlists will be based on their click-gathering abilities, and ad products surrounding the video experience will need to collect info and promote interaction without interrupting the user.

Finally, we will see more integrated opportunities within the video itself. At the IAB annual meeting, a colleague used an example of what in television parlance has been known as a "bottom third." This is when, as the content is playing, a portion of the viewable space is used for advertising and promotion. In the online space, clicking the bottom third will pause the video and present an advertiser-centric video experience. When the user has learned what they need from the advertiser, they can begin the video where they left off.

Additionally, at the recent iMedia Agency Summit in Camelback, much fervor was raised around the scalability of video with "telescoping," or the ability for users to click on certain (advertiser-sponsored) elements within videos to learn more about them. While many view this hot-spotting as a panacea, the industry still has a long way to go before making these solutions scalable.

Publishers, advertisers and video solutions providers are well down the path of enhancing the ad products that surround video. Many will be experimenting with these units to bring them to fruition, set best practices and make them scalable in the near future. In this endeavor, the growth of video is also spurring the ad serving companies, publishers’ technology teams, media planning and creative agency groups to put their heads together to get these tasks done efficiently and effectively …which has to happen in internet time…before the olfactory ad solutions hit it big in 2008.

Ben Barokas is the director of product and innovation at the Fifth Network.