Streaming Ads Driving Users Away From Content: Report

Advertisers know that viewers, for the most part, would rather avoid their messages. While marketers have always found a way to get themselves in front of a largely captive audience, whether through TV commercials or banner ads, advertising on streaming videos is presenting some particular challenges, according to a survey from interactive marketer services company Burst Media. Among the findings:

Ads are disruptive: In an online survey of 2,600 respondents, about 53.6 percent of online video viewers recall seeing in-stream – either pre-, mid-, or post-roll – ads attached to some form of web programming. That’s the good news. Not too surprisingly, more than three-quarters (78.4 percent) of respondents said in-stream ads are intrusive and fully one-half (50.4 percent) say these ads disrupt their use of the internet.

In-stream ads are a turn-off: Again, most people aren’t fans of commercials of any sort. But even the most irascible would be unlikely to turn off their TV show because of ad irritation. When it comes to streaming ads, half (50.7 percent) of the respondents said they stop watching an online video once they see an in-stream advertisement. Two-out-of-five (43.2 percent) do stay on to watch the rest of the online video. While only a small percentage – 15.3 percent – said they immediately leave the site once they encounter an in-stream ad, about half (49.7 percent) said the such ads’ presence alone makes them less likely to view other online videos.

Younger viewers: more tolerant, less recall: If you are going to aim a streaming ad at someone, viewers 18-24 are somewhat more tolerant of the practice. Over one-half (57.6 percent) will watch an an online video ad and not become too annoyed to finish viewing. However, the report says younger viewers also have fairly low recall rates.

Low recall: Perhaps the worst news for in-streamer advertisers is that 33 percent of respondents said they pay less attention to in-stream ads than they do to other commercial spots on the same page; and 36.1 percent said they pay neither more nor less attention. Only 21.4 percent of those who do recall the ad said they pay more attention to the in-steam versus other ad formats on the same page.

Red Herring: If the numbers in Burst’s survey really do reflect the poor reception of streaming video ads, marketers and publishers are going to have to make some choices. It’s not likely that streaming video providers will endorse a subscription model overall – would most of Burst’s respondents really favor that?

Aside from that option, David Cooperstein, Burst’s CMO, offers some free advice on the issue. For starters, marketers should try shorter spots – go to 5-10 seconds, rather than 15-30 seconds. Secondly, try to advertise on videos that relate in some way to the content. Finally, ad overlays, as YouTube and others have found recently, seem to offer the most promise, as viewers still get to watch their video uninterrupted and advertisers still get to reach their audience.