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Ten years ago, the hit TV show Friends aired its final season, with more than 52 million people watching. Back then, giving viewers the ability to stream the series finale or watch the episode online (for free!) from a mobile device or laptop would have been unprecedented.

Since then, however, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other publishers have not only turned this concept into a reality but also begun to produce great original content of their own.

The landscape of digital video is evolving, but the ability to profit from the video investment is not always clear.

What is clear is that the demand for online video is skyrocketing. By 2018, video traffic will account for 79% of all consumer Internet traffic and video on-demand traffic will double, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index.

As more and more video content moves online, marketers and brand managers continue to grapple with the question, How do we monetize this investment?

First and foremost, marketers must set a clear business objective for bringing the content online. The reason cannot be "because everyone else is doing it"; it has be in the service of achieving your business objectives—and, most important, it has to make sense for your audience.

Key questions to ask before you start to bring your content online include the following:

  • Are you trying to increase membership?
  • Are you looking to improve customer interaction?
  • Are you attempting to increase awareness?
  • Are you trying to engage a new audience?

Only one of those can be your goal, although the others may play a supporting role.

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image of Jessica Hall

Jessica Hall is the director of the Innovate Practice at 3Pillar Global, where she specializes in bringing new ideas to market through rapid prototyping.

LinkedIn: Jessica Hall