No Holy Grail For Online Video Ad Model, But Various Formats Find Their Converts

Viewers of online video have never warmed to having to watch a preroll ads, and so, sites and marketers have been desperately searching for marketing vehicles that will click with consumers. A WSJ piece surveys some possibles answers. One format being pursued is the use of graphics that slide over the bottom of the video-viewing screen – sometimes called referred to as overlays, bugs or tickers – as the best way to monetize online video. Another method advertisers have been trying out is wrapping the video players in skins. And still others haven’t given up on prerolls, attempting to make them more palatable by shortening the ads to five seconds or inserting a countdown timer telling viewers when the actual content will begin.

— Time Warner’s New Line Home Entertainment used bugs to promote the DVD release of The Number 23 on About 2.5 percent of those who saw the ad clicked on it, which Ian Schafer, CEO of interactive ad shop Deep Focus, the agency that created the insertion, claimed is “much higher” than average CTRs.

— Videoegg has tried a gamut of ad experiments on its online video network, finding that picture-in-picture ads have garnered the most highest click-through rates, with each video with this method averaging 4 percent to 5 percent.

— Video site is currently betting on skins as its ad format. The site says that skins have viewers have voted their acceptance of skins by clicking on them for more information between 1 percent and 2 percent of the time they’re displayed, though the Journal article notes that such data contrast with industrywide numbers that indicate users click on such ads only a fraction of a percent. Nevertheless, this month Heavy is introducing an online video ad network called Husky where it will sell ad skins that can appear alongside videos on other publishers’ sites. One of those sites includes animation site

No one is claiming to have found the perfect solution. Still, all the experimentation is starting to lead to increased spending as advertisers act on the preliminary results, said Gokul Rajaram, a Google director of product management. At the moment, Google, which last week said it has scrapped consumer video purchases altogether, is trying out contextual-targeting – matching the subject of the ad and the video content – though the company declined to specify the results so far.

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