If a Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, Then is a Viral Video Worth a Million?

Last Wednesday, I logged into Facebook to check and see if any friends were online and also to update my status with, at least in my mind, another witty statement to give friends a few laughs. I must say that I do like Facebook’s redesign, as it makes updating my profile easier.

On this particular visit, I look notice of something that I usually ignore completely–namely, the ads that Facebook serves up. It caught my attention because it was a thumbnailed video clip that announced that the new season of South Park was beginning that evening on Comedy Central. I had become so used to, and ignorant of, Facebook’s normal text ads that I was oblivious to them.

However, this ad not only presented me with valuable information, as I didn’t know South Park’s new season was about to begin, but also incorporated a viral video to get my attention, which I found unique amongst the usual ad serving that Facebook usually offers. Since the ad was from Comedy Central, a source that I’m interested in, I clicked the video as well. It offered a preview of that night’s premiere episode.

As seen in the screenshot below, Facebook is now using ads in the right sidebar of the page that go beyond text and incorporate images as well. I’m actually starting to notice them now.

I’m not sure if it’s the use of the color pictures in addition to text that finally got my attention, the positioning in the right sidebar that is Google-esque and familiar, or a combination in conjunction with the relative uniqueness of South Park’s video ad breaking through the clutter that got my attention.

While most of the ads don’t have any relevance to me, which makes them less than effective from an interactive marketing perspective, the occasional ad can have an impact in the case of the South Park video clip. The clip also fit Comedy Central’s online marketing efforts, as video clips of upcoming episodes are often offered as a preview through their website. By extending these same clips in thumbnail format to other platforms to gain interest, the effectiveness and reach goes even further.

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