Online Video Ads Not Sustainable for the Long Term

eeyore.gifSome highlights of a rather skeptical view of online video ads (with my thoughts below in the circle bullets). Writted by Tom Hespos, president of Underscore Marketing, for a recent article:

  • “I have a rather controversial stance on online video ads: I think a lot of people will make a lot of money in the short term on preroll and standalone online video, but I don’t think that trend is sustainable for the long haul. I believe this because at its core, the Internet is not a passive medium, so dispel any visions you might have of people leaning back in front of their PCs for significant lengths of time.
    • WillVideoForFood (WVFF): What about when the lines blur between passive and active viewing? Online video ads are here to stay… they’ll get better, more woven into the content, and interactive.
  • The “video outta nowhere.” Folks, it’s fairly well-established Netiquette to let people know if you’re linking directly to a video asset. I don’t know precisely when this guideline was abandoned, but I’ve been noticing a disturbing trend lately, particularly on news sites. A link spawns a video player with no advance warning, and I’m left thinking, “Hey, where’s the text? I didn’t want to watch a video now.” Back button ensues.

    • WVFF: Couldn’t agree more than auto-start video players will soon go the way of pop-up ads.
  • Contextless prerolls. Speaking of videos without warning, could we please provide some context for the people who click to see a video of, say, three guys smashing a network printer to bits with a sledgehammer, and end up seeing an Acme commercial…How about something along the lines of “The video you selected will begin in a moment, after a word from our sponsor”?

    • WVFF: Good point – especially for people new to online videos. It’s confusing to see an ad you didn’t expect- especially if it’s a funny one that might be confused with the video content you actually want to see.
  • Expectations of viral infection. Just because a video exists online doesn’t mean there should be an expectation that the video takes off virally like the next “All Your Base” or Jib Jab political spoof. Ads have to offer something of value before they’re passed back and forth in any volume. It might be humor value, informational value or something else entirely. There is no creative agency that can consistently induce a viral effect when their client has 100 percent control over the message. That’s just how it works. Sorry

    • WVFF: Copout. It’s the agencies job to get the client out of the way and create something that stops viewers dead in their tracks and compels them to share.
  • Online video will continue to be hot for at least a little while, so let’s try to keep these things in mind as we shape this ad offering.”

    • WFFF: Amen

7 Replies to “Online Video Ads Not Sustainable for the Long Term”

  1. Thanks for the comments on the piece.

    One thing I disagree with you about is the viral thing. My agency doesn’t do creative per se, but we do have a network of creative partners, and many of their clients ask them to develop viral videos without relinquishing sufficient control to let the agency do its thing. They also tend to expect that the ad message is the thing that will compel viral success. But let’s be reasonable, shall we? No one forwards a video link because a company is offering a preferential rate on a savings account or 10% off fabric softener. That was my point.

    While I agree that it’s the responsibility of the creative agency to produce jaw-dropping creative that stands a chance of becoming a viral video, how many cool commercials with viral potential have been strangled in the cradle due to a client need to control the message? I’d say this is one of the reasons why unapproved commercials tend to do better than approved ones in the viral pass-along sense.

    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for popping by with comments. I was going to title the post “pessimism” something or another, but I couldn’t spell the word.

    Blogs need point/counterpart so common back so we can disagree on something even if we don’t.

    Having worked on agency and client side, I’ve almost gotten the point where I can detect a great agency idea squashed by a client. Where there was the beginning of something breakthrough but it was cleary tempered by committee.

    p.s. I’m a tigger buy myself

  3. ” … they frame competition as warfare; therefore, they place a tremendous importance on punishing their competitors. It makes no sense, but they’re so wrapped up in marketing as war, they make suboptimal decisions.”
    —Shelby Hunt, Texas Tech

  4. In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”, however, the schitzophrenic professor is hailed as a great theoretician when he comes up with an economic model showing how business actually wants to cooperate for the greater good. WANTS.

    Wants in one hand and viral videos in the other. Let’s see which poops advertising dollars first.

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