Friday, May 9, 2014

Is Anyone Watching Online Ads? Uh….No, and Why Should They?

Just imagine your company shells out big money to a marketer, to get your ads online – and you expect them to appear in primo positions, places…..say like on the NY Times. (Believe it or not, there is a hieraarchy for placement of online video ads and regular ads). Then, after a time you enlist the services of an “ad verifier” and lo and behold discover your ads are being placed on porno sites.

 This evidently is what happened to one marketing company called Blue Chip in a promotional campaign for a company that sells “mom-related products”. (‘The Great Unwatched’, NY Times, p. BU-Y1, 6).  When Blue Chip hired a verification service – the agency vice-president Sarah VanHeirseel’s jaw dropped.  According to the Times’ account:

Many of the ads were running in tiny video players, 3” by 2”, on the sites. Some were auto-playing. But disappointment turned to rage when she read the list of domain names where the ads were running; it included pornographic websites.”

Wow! But such is evidently the landscape now as millions of ads pile in to vie for space in an already crowded venue, and often end up getting the ‘scraps’ so to speak. Too many adds for placement, too few fine upstanding venues with high profile consumers. Welcome to the world of online ads which currently gin up a $2.8 billion business.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that companies have to find new customers and make profits if they can, given this is largely a consumer-driven economy. (70 percent of the GDP is driven by consumption). 

But do they really expect me to stop what I am reading, and gaze over to the left or right to take time to watch a stupid ad video? Hell no! No more than I would do watching the TV – where nearly everything is put on the DVR list so any shows with commercials (like Amazing Race) can be sped through at will – unless wifey wants to look a little longer at one of those Expedia Travel troll dolls).

The name of the game, in other words, is ad avoidance, because they are: boring, mentally insulting and basically distracting from what I want to do.    If I had my way then (and advertisers and marketers should be glad I don’t) I’d ban every last ad or ad video from the Net.

Indeed, I mark as a uniquely cursed day when the marketing and ad bastards devised the sort that come to life if your cursor (or finger on a notebook) barely touches the hidden ad space. Whereupon all of a sudden a noisome  popup  intruder or cartoon seizes the reading space and demands you pay attention or else….. Well, truth be told when that interference occurs I simply split for another site. I refuse to waste one nanosecond being forced to watch an ad until I can get to the article again. (Of course, there are ‘close’ notices on most  such ads, but I’ve recently encountered a few lacking this civility.)

 But how many of these ads really get read, if any?  Vindico, an ad management platform company (cited in the Times’ piece) asserted that 57 percent of two billion video ads surveyed over two months don’t get read. They are deemed “unviewable”.   That is 1.14 billion video ads that don’t get viewed. That’s a lot of money wasted but maybe they don’t care.

 Now, because of this huge wastage, one has to expect something will change to get more ka-ching than no-thing. As it turns out, the Interactive Advertising Bureau – which manages such duties. The IAB has announced that from the end of this June – get this – a video ad will be considered a viewable impression if 50 percent of the player containing it can be seen for at least two seconds.

According to the Times (ibid.):

In other words, if you visit a website and scroll down and the top half of the video player is in your view for two seconds – ka-ching. That counts as an impression, even if you didn’t watch the ad.”

In effect, this new IAB standard sets a baseline for negotiations between buyers and sellers and is an improvement over the current standard which doesn’t require the ad to be viewed at all.

The point is that ad makers and their lot will collect something instead of nothing.  A typical rate cited is $10 for 1,000 impressions or one cent per impression.

Jeebus! If we’d all just sit down and watch more of these things, the ad makers would earn more money and not have to grovel for “impressions”. 

But don’t look for that to happen at my end.  To me ads will remain a nuisance, certainly the type that intrusively pop up any time and almost in every web space.


Unknown said...

It is very interesting. You should have a read if you haven't already. Loosely, it's about the notion that it takes a lot of effort to do brave work, and that people are naturally disinclined to put in that effort if the chances of the good work being used seem slim.
It's especially interesting if you read the comments, there appears to be a lot of disenfranchised creatives out there, who appear have given up on producing good work and are just phoning it in.
online ads

Alex moner said...

Too many adds for placement, too few fine upstanding venues with high profile consumers.