In-Stream Ads Annoy Web Viewers

NEW YORK While advertisers and content owners rush into Web video, consumers are giving the thumbs-down to the most popular form of integrating brands into the experience: in-stream commercials.

More than 80 percent of Web video viewers polled by Forrester Research called in-stream ads—placements that appear before or after clips—”annoying” and 75 percent said they ignore them.

Less-intrusive advertising, such as placements alongside video, is more palatable: 50 percent of respondents deemed those acceptable. Text links are the Web ad format most preferred by consumers, according to the Forrester research, with 19 percent finding them annoying.

User resistance to more intrusive forms of video advertising presents brand advertisers with a dilemma, said Forrester Research analyst Brian Haven, since sight, sound and motion are typically the best way to convey an emotional message. But so far, advertisers have used Web video mostly as a way to extend the reach of their 30-second spot-driven TV campaigns.

“Marketers need to think differently about how they’re communicating with their customers viewing online video, Haven said.

While most video sites have relied on pre-roll ads, some have avoided them. YouTube is banking on user-initiated video spots to anchor its ad model, and new owner Google is pushing its click-to-play spots, also user initiated.

“When you see what’s going on with YouTube and short form content, using the old mode of inserting ads into content when you’re looking at a 3-minute video is not going to work as well,” Haven said.

More advertisers will need to follow the lead of brands like Nike, which has created broadband content consumers elect to watch, Haven said. He also expects advertisers to tap user-generated video more frequently for its authenticity.