31 Oct Lazy Bones & Eyeballs (yet nothing to do with Halloween)

In 1950, Zenith ran full-page ads for their new Lazy Bones remote control. This new wonder gadget promised to “eliminate the sound from annoying TV commercials.” This dazzling new device threatened to sink the business model of the nascent broadcast television industry. If viewers can now shut out ads without leaving their seats, would advertising dollars dry up? Instead of giving up on the promising new medium, advertisers quickly picked up their game with spots that no longer took for granted that viewers would stay put. Commercials became shorter and more engaging, and the volume boost on ads was made somewhat less infuriating.

In the modern era of online video consumption where all manner of programming can be watched on a range of devices, advertisers again must be savvy with their game plan if they want to keep their target audience from tuning out. To succeed in online video advertising, campaigns need to employ strategies grounded in solid data on how online video viewers behave when confronted with various styles of advertising. Do short pre-roll ads work better than 30-second mid-roll ads? How many ads will ? For the AVOD business model to thrive in a saturated media environment, advertisers need eyeballs, so viewers need to be willing to stay put for ads. More than ever, the placement or positioning, duration, content and QoE of online video advertisements need to be fined tuned for maximum effectiveness.

At NPAW, we have examined data from some of our major clients and we have found that mid-roll ads during live content see a sharp increase in abandonment after the 30-second mark and still more at the 50-second mark. This would suggest some wisdom in the industry trend of keeping online ads to roughly 30 seconds. We had similar findings with pre-roll ads with VOD content, although the drop off was earlier and sharper as ad length increased. For mid-roll ads, our data show that it is in the interest of the advertiser to wait until after the five-minute mark to place an ad as the churn rate drops considerably once the viewer has passed this mark. And, generally speaking, the later in a video a mid-roll ad is placed, the less churn it provokes. Interestingly, in our findings viewers are more patient when watching a pre-roll ad than they do watching a relatively shorter video buffer at the start.

In short, in a rapidly transforming digital media landscape, advertisers need to know exactly how their viewers are responding to ads. With viewers able to jump away from a video at the flick of a finger, online video services would be wise to harness real-world data on viewer behavior like that offered by YOUBORA to create an advertising model that is minimally disturbing yet still effective.