Sep 28, 2007

Internet Video Ads: Is This The Future of Advertising?

Have you noticed the increasing prevailing pattern of major news sources putting ads in the front of their video footage on Internet Video clips?

Is this annoying you? It bugs the heck out of me. But, they've got my eyeball attention, so why not hold those "eyeballs" hostage?

There are different methods being utilized regarding advertising on, around, and within videos played on the Web. We'll examine five of them here:

1. Ads around the box. These are the least intrusive, to me. They can put an ad next to the box, I'll still see it, but it isn't BLOCKING the content I'm trying to view. This is a friendly way of doing ads, although the ad is not interactive beyond the simple click and view. An example of ads around the box is with Yahoo, who puts their ad in a sidebar on their home page. The ad may or may not be interactive. Yahoo also uses text ads for "sponsored by" for their stock watch and also the "marketplace section" appear to be text-based ads.

2. Peeling or Rollover ads. This is a fairly new ad methodology where you show an ad that peels back from the page you are viewing. The peeler ad is not very intrusive, and the viewer only sees the total ad content if they click the peeler. One of the more interesting Rollover ads I saw came up today while looking at Ad ratings for this blog article. An example of a peeling ad includes:

I saw a "roll-over this ad" comment and moused over it, to reveal an Eye Wonder Testimonial ad campaign. I loved the ad format, with testimonials from clients, then they used my #5 strategy here, end of ad to ask "Does your rich media company deliver results like this for you? They should. Contact Eye Wonder." Brilliant! (Only Eye Wonder's website fails the rule of Google [read: load fast] and took so long to load I got bored and clicked away from their site.

Here's a page with the Eyewonder rollover, last I checked: or
(I just read that the ad won an award). According to Eye Wonder, "Video has been embraced as the future of online advertising." I tend to agree with them. Methods that work as well as theirs are likely to further that aim.

3. Ads in front of the video.
Now, here's where I was expecting to find ads in front of the video: at NBC, at their version of "The Office" show online. Guess what? Not only did I NOT find ads in front, I found NO ads at all! The shock! The Horror! So, sometimes, in life, on the Internet, we are still pleasantly surprised (note: with nagging thought in the back of my mind..."I wonder when they'll add ads to this?").

So, an example of where they DO have ads in front, see this:
Ahh. Yes. Much like I thought I'd see with The Office. Whoever is running that part of the website. Thank you. For the bionic women, I might say I missed the front part of the Bionic woman clip because I didn't want to see the Mazda commercial. (Sorry Mazda). I guess you could say that I personally DISDAIN ads in the front of my video. For the same reason I stopped watching AMC and switched to Turner. Go figure. Moving on...

4. Pop-up ads during the video. This is a strategy being utilized by Google. It reminds me of watching a show and having people walk across the television screen from an upcoming show. It is annoying, and definitely more interactive than passive, as you can click to view the ad, but you're going to see the transparent part of the ad regardless. In addition, the ad is in the middle of the clip, meaning that the ad becomes more VIRAL, as you pass the video around, everyone sees the ad. Last, this ad strategy is being auditioned by Google, who owns You Tube.

According to Regalix, "The overlay ad strategy is not new but the massive popularity of YouTube will certainly give Google an unfair competitive advantage and turn the format into an industry standard, especially for short video content.

Whether the other major video content providers like MySpace, AOL & Yahoo follow suit, remains to be seen. As the proliferation and popularity of user generated content or viewer created content increases, online video advertising seems to be coming of age at the right time." (source:

Hmm. I wish the people at Google watched The Office. But, you can't sell thin air, now, can you? Thinking back to when a friend came back from Jamaica with a can of "Fresh Jamaica Sunshine" it dawns on me that, even though it may be a gag, you CAN sell thin air. Just as long as you wrap it in a funny jar, can, or other wrapping.

5. Ads after the video or at the end of the video. This is a strategy being utilized by i-Justine, a self-proclaimed "lifecaster" who has developed a skill at both directing, producting, and starring in personal video's aimed at humor, spoofs, and technology (most notably, Apple). She hit it big with over 1,000,000 views with her "First Apple i-Phone bill in a box" video. I noticed in that video she placed an image to "save a tree" at the end of her video, clearly utilizing an add at the end of the video as a method to capture your attention and hopefully act accordingly.

Another example of "ad contained in the end" is by Human Flipbook (, who created a complete flip book video using t-shirts: This video was, without a doubt, one of the more innovative and viral campaigns I've seen from a SANDWICH SHOP online! Nice.

I actually find this model of advertising to be the friendliest, least obtrusive, because I have the right to click away to something else or click on the ad, and the ad didn't hold my eyeballs hostage either before the video or during the video. I clicked on both the sites at the end. However, that's user experience. It is possible that the ads for video may follow a similar pattern for Google AdSense ads, whereas a certain percentage will hit an add in front, another percentage will hit the ads next to the video, another percentage will click ads in the middle, and another percentage in the end.

We'll have to run a test on this and report back to you when we have more data as to which type of ad is most effective.

In the meantime, I'd suggest the following: "Do unto others as you wish it done unto you." If you want people putting ads in the front of their videos, put ads in the front of yours.

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