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Online Video Viewers Want to ‘Choose Their Own Ad’

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Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi unit announced today that Hulu’s Ad Selector was tops among video ad units tested as part of its “Pool” research project, suggesting that Hulu might be revolutionizing the video ad market by allowing its users to select the ad they want to see. 

What video viewers really want is choice, the research suggests. Hulu’s Ad Selector unit gives its users the option to choose between two comparable ads — meaning that viewers are opting in to watch an ad that is somewhat relevant to their interests. Or at least, it gives them the feeling that they’re choosing an ad that’s relevant to their interests, rather than showing an ad that might be completely unrelated.

Ads run by a number of online publishers were analyzed, including some on AOL, BBE, CBS Interactive, Discovery Communications, Hulu and Yahoo. Participating marketers included Publicis clients such as Allstate, Applebee’s, Capital One and Nestlé Purina PetCare.

The research did not include ads from other ad agencies or marketers that aren’t Publicis clients, however, which has caused some marketers to question the VivaKi’s findings.

VivaKi spent 16 months and more than 230,000 hours of analysis examining different ad formats to determine which were most effective in reaching online video viewers. The analysis included 29 different video ad models that were shown to more than 25 million customers.

7 Responses to “Online Video Viewers Want to ‘Choose Their Own Ad’”

  1. Ryan,

    I read this article with great interest and would love to help in the future. As the inventor of self targeted advertising in 2001, I am excited to see that our evangelizing of this new paradigm in advertising is beginning to work. We believed all along that it would be the model of the future. I am reaching out to you in hopes that you would appreciate more details about how this concept actually came to market.

    I am currently the Founder & CEO of SponsorSelect, a spinoff of AWS Convergence Technologies Inc (parent of WeatherBug). As the head of Business Development and Product Strategy, I invented SponsorSelect in 2001 for WeatherBug. SponsorSelect allows Internet users to choose the advertising they wish to see. We call it Self-Targeted Advertising. Built atop a robust ad server that has already been deployed with numerous 3rd party publishers, including Fandango, PCH, IAC, and Real Networks, we are continuing to expand our network. I ultimately believe that more visibility to this concept and SponsorSelect’s inclusion in the discussion, will help the advertising ecosystem.

    I would welcome a conversation at your convenience and I hope this email finds you well!

    Shane Lundy

  2. The ads I saw with choice were presented as “Watch one long ad the beginning or multiple shorter interruptive ads throughout.” So it wasn’t a choice between this ad or that, it was whether you wwanted to wait 3 minutes and see the show uninterrupted, or get to it right away, then suffer a few 30-second or less interruptions.

    I often chose ads for products that meant nothing to me to get the format and length I wanted.