Online advertising is becoming more advanced and taking advantage of consumers attraction to video elements. According to eMarketer online video ad spending will grow by a compound annual rate of 38% in a five-year span ending in 2015. That’s the fastest growing category in the study. In total spend though, video ads are expected to remain far below search and banner ads. I expect that will hold as video assets can be more expensive to produce and deploy. In fact it was the top factor cited for limiting growth potential in another study by eMarketer.
What I think is more interesting is the variety of opinions on how video ads should be used and measured. Measurement is a bit more complicated than tracking clicks to a hyperlink or banner ad. For example a non-linear (runs parallel to other content) video ad is something the marketer knows a customer does not necessarily see or pay attention to within the context of the main content. Is the tracking and effectiveness simply based on impressions? Does it require a full play of the content? How do we measure customers that abandon the video or pause the content play-back? Is it possible to track a video viewing to a sale? What about social sharing and conversations (buzz)?
In my personal experience I’ve observed linear video ads (in-stream with other content before, mid, or after) the most. They play between video news clips on CNN and before free music sets on Last.fm. Speaking honestly, I have not found these two examples annoying. They are short, 30 seconds or less, and I’ve concluded the trade-off of playing the ads acceptable to consume the free content.
For some reason I’m not so content with other types of ads. If I’m trying to read content on a site, I don’t like the moving ads that cover my reading area and require a click to remove. Theoretically, I guess I should accept these ads as well in exchange for free content. But I don’t. Maybe there is a different psychology to non-linear ads. The linear video ads are closer to traditional television, so perhaps my mind is trained to accept them. Tell me your thoughts on this in the comments.
For fun I am listing my favorite video ad thus far. This one played for months in front of the Last.fm music. I still laugh when I watch it.