Roughly 179 million U.S. viewers watched more than 38 billion videos this past February, according to comScore, which should leave no surprise that video is an important part of every digital marketing plan. But as brands dedicate more budget to video, the pressure increases for agencies to show that money is spent efficiently while delivering maximum impact and a clear ROI. With the spotlight shining on video, it’s obvious that agencies need to own online video if they are truly going to deliver for brands.

“Owning” video advertising isn’t limited to conceptualizing, producing and seeding a viral video. The goal of every agency is to drive brand lift and purchases, and that’s best accomplished through paid brand advertising campaigns. As the comScore numbers show, online video is massively popular with consumers, opening the door for a huge branding opportunity.

Video is a complicated field, which is why so many third-party media sellers entered the game. Even if a third party is to blame, the buck stops with the agency, and agencies that can’t follow through on a client’s wishes tend to lose accounts quickly. That’s why it’s crucial for agencies to develop a robust video strategy and directly engage technologies such as third-party ad-serving, audience targeting and verification.

Of course, agencies shouldn’t all be expected to develop their own tools to compete with cutting-edge technology companies. They need only to reach a new level of sophistication and expertise that helps them execute their video buying, optimisation and measurement. It’s entirely possible for agencies to use production companies to help them deliver content.

Going forward, it’s critical that agencies deliver targeted campaigns with a greater understanding of what works. Whether it’s building their own technology or licensing a piece, agencies need to be key stakeholders in online video, from production to serving to analytics. Failure to do so is tantamount to simply giving business away.

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