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How Will You Monetize the Visual Web?

Posted on 10.20.2010

Google recently predicted that display advertising will be a $5 billion industry by 2015. Yahoo! keeps pushing display advertising (reporting a 17% increase in Q3) and claims to be as dedicated as ever to the medium. Jumping on board with Bing should most certainly help. Social networking and sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and others have made photo sharing easy, interactive and fun. And then there's online video. It's being watched in record numbers.

According to new data from comScore, 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video in September 2010, for an average of 14.4 hours per viewer, encompassing a masive 83.9 percent of the total U.S. Internet population. Over the course of the month, more than 5.3 billion viewing sessions were engaged. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released numbers last week showing that between Q2 2009 and Q2 2010, online video advertising grew by 65 percent. Clearly, online video is on the rise and so are advertising efforts - and budgets. But wait ... there's more.

A recent story from NPR highlights two companies that help publishers make money from photographs, in GumGum and Pixazza. Essentially, these systems analyze items in a photograph (clothing, for example) and tie them to products on the Web. So, a user can shop simply by clicking on a person's shoes in a photograph. Google is a believer - they have invested nearly $6 million in the website.

PepsiCo and Brand Affinity Technologies are experimenting turning photographs into apps. When a user mouses-over a photo, apps appear providing additional content - YouTube videos, tweets, news, etc. The content is displayed right in the space where the photo sits, so the user never leaves the site. That's even more opportunity for brand exposure and monetization.

Samsung and others are readying "smart TVs," pre-loaded with apps. They will include YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, photo sharing apps ... and all the advertising that comes along with that content. Suddenly, we're talking about Internet advertising reaching the eyes of everyone in the living room.

The iPad has been a smashing success and a whole army of competing tablet devices is set to march on consumers any day now. All of these tablets (and their smartphone counterparts) have similar qualities. They are on relatively small screens, navigation is accomplished by touch, they are optimized for displaying video and brilliant images ... they are part of the visual Web.

Add everything together and you can see that the Web is becoming brighter, more colorful, full of motion and more entertaining. There's a sort of visual revolution taking place online. How will you prepare? What will your business do to capture the attention of visual consumers?

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