As Expected, Publishers Misusing Intrusive Video Ad Study Results

from the extrapolate-a-little,-please... dept

Unicast has been getting a lot of attention lately for their solution that lets websites broadcast full TV-style commercials online. The “innovation” is that they load in the background, so the quality of the video is better. Last month, we wrote about a study of those testing the format suggesting the ads annoyed fewer people than expected and we predicted that due to a misinterpretation of those results, we should expect to see a lot more ads. It didn’t take long. The head of is practically begging advertisers to sign up for such ads. As we mentioned when that study came out, he’s focusing on the “only 28% were annoyed” number. First of all, the fact that any decision is being based on “number of people annoyed” instead of “number of people helped” is more than a bit shortsighted. Second, he didn’t bother to think that maybe (just maybe!) the reason people weren’t annoyed were because this was new and different and they were being asked what they thought. If these ads start showing up everywhere you go, expect many more people to be annoyed by them. Furthermore, “only 28%” seems like a pretty big number to me. Pissing off people usually has a much bigger negative impact than the positive impact of not pissing people off. Is it really worth risking completely driving away one-third of your potential customers just because the other two-thirds “don’t find your ads annoying?” As we pointed out yesterday, there are ways to use video advertising online, but it involves actually understanding the nature of the internet, and not just believing it’s the second coming of TV. Intrusive and unexpected advertising doesn’t work in a truly interactive medium.

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