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    What kind of video advertisements would you welcome?

    by Mark Glaser
    June 23, 2008

    Researchers have predicted that video ads would explode just as online video audiences have expanded — but it hasn’t happened yet. Longer form video ads that play before videos (a.k.a. pre-roll ads) don’t seem appropriate when the video is brief. And marketers are wary about advertising around user-generated videos that have edgy content. YouTube has experimented with overlay videos and is now letting people sell their own ads. What format for video ads would you actually welcome? Relevant ads to you? Creative ads that can become their own viral videos? Ads that are tied closely to the video’s content? Which type of video format do you prefer and which one do you think will end up being accepted by video makers, advertisers and the viewing public? Share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll run the best ones in the next Your Take Roundup.

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    • I don’t welcome any video ads at all. I am very tired of seeing ads ads ads everywhere I look.

      If we must have them, here they are in order of preference:

      I think that a short (15 seconds or less) sponsorship message at the end of a video is acceptable. If I enjoyed the video I may even check out the sponsors out of appreciation.

      A short post-roll ad isn’t too terrible, though if it’s longer than 20 seconds I am likely to click away, go elsewhere.

      A very short pre-roll ad, no longer than 15 seconds is tolerable. Anything longer and I will generally refuse to watch the video or remain on the web site.

      I have a strong aversion to the overlay style ads because they get in the way of the video I am there to watch and I truly resent the intrusion. I don’t want my attention divided during an already brief moment.

      Overall I hope we can find different models of financial support for online video. I don’t mind if show hosts mention sponsors so long as it isn’t overbearing, too frequent, or ripe with the impression that the show is an infomercial for the sponsor. But enough is enough with ads. I’d like to see them stay out of online video, though I know that’s wishful thinking.

    • I’d love to have an internet-video-ad-free-world, but that’s the model folks are used to and I see it as inevitable.

      For me it’s “pre-roll bad, overlay worse.” I have to reeaaaaly want to see something to sit through a pre-roll. If it’s just a fly-by viewing that I clicked on out of mild interest I click away the second a pre-rolled ad starts *unless* it’s some sort of verbalized ad by the host/hostess I’ve clicked through to see. I can live with that.

      Something about that says “the people you’ve chosen to watch may have picked their sponsors by hand, so it may be of interest since they themselves are interesting.”

      Ads that bring up the rear are routinely ignored by me.

      Creative ads! We should be so lucky. Bring on the entertaining ads. I can live with that in moderation. Short, teeny little ads. None of this 30 second stuff.

      If I wanted to sit though that, I’d watch tv.

    • If ads are inevitable, though I can’t yet accept that:

      Short “sponsored by” or “supported by” messages, NPR style, at the beginning and/or end. Text or voice only, and completely separate from the rest of the video.

      As for product placement, it should be disclosed at the start of the video. It’s even more tasteless than ads.

    • The ads I have seen the most that offend me the least are a short (5-10sec) pre-roll teaser followed by a longer (10-20sec) post-roll spot.

      The pre-roll is over before it bothers me, and if it is relevant I can stay tuned and follow up if I desire. Overlays are terrible. Anything that alters the viewing experience is a fail. Long pre-roll is a fail too, I’ll skip or click away before I sit through 20secs of commercial, unless you have some kick-ass content at the end of it.

      Everyone grumbles about ad spots but very little on the web is ‘for pay’. Most content is free. Ads are a necessary evil. The trick is to get them as targeted as possible, which often means giving up a certain amount of user info. Privacy issues come into play. Hopefully a sweet spot will emerge where a little user info can be traded for highly targeted, useful ad content. And the web can remain free.

    • There is no “if” in advertising. News gathering, while a noble profession, is a business after all. We complain about low pay and we complain about advertising. This is counterproductive.

      Back on topic, I think micro ads would be best. As mentioned above people dislike long ads before the video, as well as overlay. When I say micro, I mean less than 5 seconds. It can be done. Think of McDonalds. Think of the first five notes in this Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI-xHMM8wXE

      That would be a micro ad. Throw in the golden arches graphic and you’re done.

      This isn’t an original idea. I heard about this on NPR once, but I haven’t heard it in practice. I’m not sure about television ads because I haven’t owned one since 2004.

    • “Welcome” is not a word I would use for video ads – broadcast or otherwise.
      “Accept” is different.

      I like the way Make Magazine handles their ads:
      http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/weekend_project_parabolic_1.html
      has an ad midway through the project which is in context.

      Another video on the same site has a pop up banner over content…
      http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/makers_notebook_pocket_cr.html

      These may be place by video hosts and not Make Magazine.

      I think advertisers are missing a great opportunities for product placement. ie: Making pocket cover out of paper she used Elmer’s Glue, a mention of why she used Elmer’s vs generic would not have insulted me.

      Makers of “edgy” products would do well to search out the prolific edgy videomakers and provide them product to use in videos.

    • The broader context of the issue is one that the public hasn’t quite grasped or accepted. Everything on the web is NOT free. It is ad supported.

      The text based web was much more affordable than the high bandwidth video web 2.0 we have today. That means content owners need to generate more revenue. Addition challenges come from the new “portability” of content.

      When people skip ads on the DVR, they are breaking the “old deal” that TV had with the audience. “You pay attention to the ad, we give you free TV.” Now we need a new deal.

      Pre-roll is the dominant ad format for high quality content for a number of reasons, primarily because the content is worth the value exchange the takes place. Put pre-roll in front of short, low quality (read: YouTube UGC) content, and you end up with unhappy users. Overlays are a desperate attempt to monetize content that isn’t monetizable.

    • I remember seeing an American Express ad that consisted of five little video clips framed by AmEx branding. They were clips of Jimmy Wales talking about social media.

      Clearly the advertising works, since I still know who posted the ads. I think they were great – I found it informative and entertaining (content), and I don’t really mind if it’s brought to me by a credit card company.

    • I don’t mind the short ads that Hulu inserts into their videos. It’s only one 30 second spot and I feel like it’s not a bad trade off for free content. That said, if those ads were actually tailored to my interests, they’d be even less intrusive.

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