According to data released in January 2009 by comScore Video Metrix and published on eMarketer, more than 146 million US Internet users watched an average of 87 videos per viewer in November 2008—that’s 77% of the total US Internet audience.

eMarketer also puts online video viewers at more than three-quarters of US Internet users, and estimates that percentage will rise to nearly 90% in less than three years. These numbers just go to show that online video continues to grow incredibly fast and offers the savvy business deploying online video content more opportunities to engage with a  growing audience if the content is created correctly to engage viewers without a hard sell. Transparency is key. If it’s a straight up sales video don’t try to disguise it as a “funny” video. Online viewers can sniff out a fraud within 10 seconds.

So with that in mind the next part of this survey is what really bothered me. The subtitle of the article was “Is all of it monetizable?” and it stated “For marketers, this growth raises the question of how much online video can be monetized.”

STOP. I repeat stop trying to monetize every single video out on the internet. Stop trying to squeeze a cent out of every online video just because it has a viewership to market to. There are occasions particularly with long-form (online television shows or movies) where pre-roll ads or post-roll ads could be seamlessly built in around the content. But please stop trying to squeeze ads in on a 90 second video. Particularly while the video is running and it blocks the bottom half of the screen with its “message”. Do you think these content-blocking and interruptive ads make me want to buy your product?

If you really want to take advantage of online video growth and the budding audience that goes with it — hire a content creator to produce a video or series of videos for you that is entertaining, engaging and has your product or service loosely worked into the story line. Make outdoor hiking gear? Create a short series about hiking up Mt. Ranier using your gear in the video series. Sell office products? Shoot your own mockumentary of “The Office”. There are a million ways to produce your own online content to get your message out without interrupting what online videos people are watching with rolling ads. Besides if you create content geared and tagged to be found by your demographic, it’s that much more targeted to reach your audience when and where they are searching.

I think eventually viewers will move away from video sharing sites where these video ads are used and the “marketing powers that be” will think online video cannot be used for advertising mainly because they don’t understand how they need to completely rethink their advertising tactics for this medium.

What do you think? Where do you think online video advertising is headed? Share you thoughts & keep the conversation going below in the comments.