#SMTLive today!

Online Video Use Exceeds 84%: Marketers Rush to Video Ad Spending

online video advertising

When over 8 in 10 US Internet users are doing something, marketers should take notice. New data from comscore Video Metrix reports that in May of 2012, 84.5% of the US internet audience watched online video. On average, online viewers consumed 21.9 hours of video, up from 15.9 hours a year earlier (a 38% year-on-year increase). Overall, 180 million US Internet users watched some 36.6 billion online content videos in May 2012, surpassing the 10-billion mark for the first time ever.¹ To put these numbers in context, if you assume that the average feature-length film is around 110 minutes in length, the average US Internet user would’ve watched the equivalent of 12 movies online in May of 2012.

To put it another way, that’s like watching the 1954 Cecile B Demille classic The Ten Commandments six times in one month (don’t try this at home-or anywhere).

Google sites generated by far the highest number of online views (17.6 billion), followed by Hulu (888 million) and Yahoo Sites (845 million).¹

us online video viewers

This of course presents a huge opportunity for online marketers. In fact, eMarketer estimates that US online video ad spending will reach $7.11 billion by 2015, up from $2.16 billion in 2011. In the past year alone, growth was 52.1%.²

Why are they so sanguine about the future of online video advertising? Probably because it works. In May of 2012, over 10 billion online video ads were viewed, more than double the 4.6 billion in May of 2011. Hulu generated the highest number of video ad impressions (1.6 billion), followed by Google Sites (1.4 billion).¹ This is surprising, given that Google sites enjoyed over 17 billion online views to Hulu’s relatively paltry 888 million (I presume this has something to do with online marketers cashing in on the low-hanging fruit of Hulu’s TV-like format).

Here’s the key point: online video ads reached 52% of the total US population an average of 64 times during the month (up from 34 in May 2011).¹

As exciting as the possibilities are for online video advertising, challenges remain. According to a Brightroll survey of US ad agencies, high prices, limited reach and lack of targeting are considered the top three growth hurdles. However, the adoption of cost-per-view and cost-per-engagement pricing models, more interactive video content, and the personalization and targeting of video ads will likely resolve these issues over time, as online video advertising matures as a marketing channel.²


For business owners and marketers, the explosion in online video consumption represents a massive opportunity if handled properly. To be effective, your online video marketing strategy should incorporate a healthy mix of video content that mirrors and compliments your other content marketing media. You’ll want to craft online video content that targets your buyer personas, and aligns with and/or is structured around your TOFU, MOFU, or BOFU offers.

Any decent online video marketing strategy should also take into account the rapid consumer shift to mobile devices generally and tablets specifically. eMarketer projects nearly 70 million US consumers will use a tablet by the end of 2012. By 2015, over half of all internet users will be tablet users.²

Accordingly, make sure you take some time to really think about how your online video content offers and advertising initiatives will mesh with your target audience’s mobile experience. 

Finally, remember that there is no substitute for action. Start small, experiment, tweak. Don’t find excuses for inaction.

The online video age has arrived; you don’t want to be late to the party.

Join The Conversation

  • Jun 29 Posted 5 years ago John@Bravo

    Great post Chris!  Online Video is definitely the marketing arena of the future, and is growing at a rapid pace!  There are all kinds of ways to utilize online video RIGHT NOW.  There are solutions which will provide everything you need to get started.  Businesses now need to start growing their video presence so they aren't left behind.  Very nice article here!



  • Chris Horton's picture
    Jun 27 Posted 5 years ago Chris Horton


    Thanks for the kind words!

  • DavidDSimons's picture
    Jun 27 Posted 5 years ago DavidDSimons

    This is such an insighful article! Great work!

Webinars On Demand

  • May 09, 2017
    With all of the technologies available to marketers today, have we lost that personal touch? Join VP of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark Bornste...
  • April 05, 2017
    In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, operational efficiency, quick turn-around times, testing and adapting to change are crucial to...