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Streaming Ads Driving Users Away From Content: Report

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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.

6 Responses to “Streaming Ads Driving Users Away From Content: Report”

  1. Johnny

    i can't stand commercials that precede a news video i'm trying to stream. here's an interesting thing i noticed – go check out FOX News. if you want to stream a news video, they'll put a commercial in front of it, showing the number of seconds that remain in the commercial. it's all lies! the clock starts a countdown from :20, but the ad you have to watch is more like 30. the clock is counting down in increments that are longer than a second each. it's this kind of deception that really makes me sick. and it's not my connection (T1) or my computer's processor (dual 2GB Core Intel). i want my 10 seconds back!

  2. The premise of this survey is a little whacky. What all that video content is doing there in the first place is creating video ad inventory. It's extremely expensive to host video, however it's doable if you can sell in-stream spots, which have a high CPM. The two are joined at the hip. No ads, no content.

    Because the premise is whacky the questions don't make a lot of sense. For example, "more than three-quarters (78.4 percent) of respondents said in-stream ads are intrusive" means exactly nothing. What value does this sentence impart? Users are watching video, and they are watching video ads regardless of whether the ads are intrusive.

  3. This is the exact thing that drove me away from CNN's videos. I'd otherwise click on them, but I don't want to go through the hassle — plus there are hidden costs. Not only with their crappy player do I have to watch a 15-30 second ad, but it's not properly attached to the content, so I often wait for that to have to buffer, then it reloads to the proper video, and only then can THAT little 2-3 minute clip start loading. It's cumbersome and poorly executed. I wouldn't mind a little 10 second clip properly attached to the video (so while I'm watching it, the news content could buffer,) but that's the maximum I'd be willing to stand.

    I know it's anecdotal and my opinion probably doesn't matter to them. Cause, hey, what do I know? I'm just one of those consumers they're trying to target.

  4. Marc,

    Your comment is the PERFECT example of this. I subscribe to your blog and have for a little while now. I wasn't aware that you spam comments section with you link. I could have clicked the live link in your name, made the connection and been locked in as a reader forever. Instead, I see the lame little signature and I value your opinion less.

    People often take the easy route and use immediate returns as the justification. Long term, it hardly ever stands up. Are you really disputing that people dislike streaming ads? That they tend to react differently when the transaction costs are raised in viewing content?

    The easy route rarely pays for itself.