Interruptive advertising is one of the building blocks of most traditional marketer's communications plan. TV ads break up 20 minutes of actual programming (unless you Tivo your content). Radio ads moan on and on while you trudge through traffic. Pre-roll ads on web video make you wait patiently for 15 to 60 seconds. Everywhere you turn, you are accosted by advertising.
There are consequences to doing this, especially in the digital space. I enjoyed reading this article on the New York Times site points to a Burst Media survey of 2,600 online video viewers. In the survey responses, 53.6% of people recalled seeing some type of interruption-based advertising (pre-, mid- and post-roll). 78.4% of those people said that in-stream ads are intrusive with 50.4% saying the ads disrupt their time. (This means the subtraction of value, not the addition of value.)
The in-stream, or mid-roll, ads (a trend that is rapidly growing and is particularly user un-friendly) had the most negative reaction by far. 50.7% of respondents said to have stopped watching the video when they saw an mid-roll ad and 15.3% were so angry they left the site all together.
While people ages 18-24 are slightly more likely to stay through a mid-roll ad, the worst finding for advertisers was around the recall of the ads. Only 21.4% of people who recalled the ad said they pay more attention to mid-roll versus other ad formats.
If you're a content creator, does it really make sense to run mid-roll ads if people are abandoning your content? You have to ask yourself where you place your value, ad dollars or content distribution. Moreover, if 1/3 of people leave your site altogether, you're hurting revenue from sponsors and other advertisers not to mention your reputation.
From an advertiser's view point of view, why would you do this? The negative impression of the ad's placement is weighing on your brand. If your goal is to have people take action or remember your product/service, this is definitely going to work.
There are, however, better options. Create a "skin" for the video where your branding surrounds the content, but doesn't encroach on it. Align your ads with content that makes sense and is in your audience's focus. The worst thing you can do is take a 30 and plop it in the path of web users who are trying to get the content they value. You're not adding anything to that situation. The 30 second spot is dead online as well (just in case you were wondering).
What other advice would you give to advertisers lining up for these placements? What ads have you appreciated or received value from and how have they been placed?
This all leads up to a post I have been working on for a while that will premiere tomorrow. "3 is the new 30".