There is one word that describes the greatest advantage online promotional videos have over television promos: interactivity.

A television promo (or commercial) is a static thing: it hits you with colors, images, sounds, and quick camera work to try and get your attention, but in the end, if you don’t want to look at it, you can just flip the channel until it’s over.

Online video producers, however, are using new techniques to engage customers that a television ad simply can’t do and they’re discovering new techniques all the time. One of the best ways, as well as one of the funniest ways, is to include a mini game in the ad. I’m sure you’ve seen them.

My favorite is the shooting gallery game, where toy ducks dash across the screen and you have to shoot five of them using a crosshair before being sent to the website the ad is promoting. By giving me a sense of accomplishment, it incentivizes me to take a closer look at the business and its products. It’s a clever marketing trick and I’ll be the first to admit that it works. But I also must admit that a television commercial has never had the same impact on me.

Online Video Marketing Taking Over

Another reason online video marketing is gradually taking over old-school television marketing, is the rise of social media. All the folks checking their Facebook and Twitter accounts at work and on the bus, all the folks posting pictures of their meals to Instagram, all these people are constantly engaged in social media platforms and they are exposed to a greater and greater number of video ads. And, according to the statistics, people are watching more and more of them.

Promotional Videos

This is due to two primary reasons: 1) When high-speed internet became the norm, videos could be watched without them pausing every other second to load; and 2) Mobility. The smartphone has made the internet available wherever you go. People are more in touch with their smartphones these days than what’s on their TV at night. And if they are interested in a particular TV show, they’re just as likely to watch it “ad-free” on Hulu or Netflix as on their actual TV.

Of course, the natural conclusion of all of this is that television is dead and the internet is the inevitable source of all entertainment, commerce, marketing, and so on and so forth. But this probably isn’t the case. People love their TVs. There’s something intimate about a family or a group of friends gathering around a TV to watch an old movie or the latest episode of their favorite TV show. You just can’t get that feeling by gathering around a smartphone, tablet, or even a PC. So TV isn’t going away any time soon, but don’t tell that to the internet wolves at the door.

If you wanted further proof that the internet giants are aggressively trying to corner all the advertising money out there, there’s the hot-off-the-press news that Yahoo is buying a video ad platform called BrightRoll for around $700 million. BrightRoll is essentially a website that will compete directly with Google’s YouTube. If a company as large as Yahoois sinking that kind of money into video ad production, I think it’s safe to say that there’s a firm future there.