Red Herring, 1080076X, 1/21/2008.
This short article reports some of the key findings of a survey conducted to investigate internet users' attitudes and behaviors related to in-stream video ads--video advertisements which proceed, interrupt, or precede normal video content. The findings show an extreme dissatisfaction with in-stream video ads which has led to a portion abandoning the websites they were using when such ads were introduced. Some light is shed on why ads elicited such a strong reaction; viewers of video content like TV shows may expect and be reconciled to commercials on traditional mediums like television, but they do not expect ads in their online content, and are perhaps unpleasantly surprised by their intrusion. In order to increase effectiveness of in-stream video ads, the author recommends making ad content more relevant to the video content being viewed and decreasing the length of ads. This latter recommendation makes particular sense for a number of reasons. Consumers generally prefer minimally intrusive ads to longer ones. The also seem particularly disgusted with internet video advertising when compared with television ads, and are thus less likely to sit through television-length ads on the internet. The article also describes some creative ad placement which may minimize consumer irritation by blocking less of the video screen.
This report is interesting from a number of perspectives. First, it provides some support for the social contract view of advertising by noting that consumers seem less likely to accept video ads on the internet than on television, despite similarities in their use. While television viewers utilize many different strategies to minimize their exposure to ads, from channel surfing to DVR, there seems to be less hostility toward the ads themselves than on the internet. This may be because internet users have not yet adopted a contract in which their attention to ads seems a fair exchange for content. The article is also interesting because it highlights another type of advertising--in-stream video--which appears to affect consumers' attitudes, in this case negatively. It also reiterates the findings of Wise et al. that ad relevancy to content likely increases positive attitudes toward the ad and broadens the context of the finding from advergames to in-stream videos, a less unique type of advertising.
*Because this was not an academic study, I was not able to access the actual study results, only this article.