Monday, February 8, 2010

Online Video -with ads

As I said in a really old post, I'm going to start putting videos on a site like someday soon. Naturally, I've been paying extra attention to how other sites have been implementing video ads. In that last post I just talked about some video streaming sites. Now we get to the meat of my current interest, online video with ads.

This isn't meant to be seen as a comprehensive guide of all sites and different types of online ads, just a few notes and thoughts regarding the way I've seen some sites display ads. For extra fun, picture me saying it in the whiny, meandering voice of Andy Rooney.


I like Hulu. The video looks okay, I rarely have to pause it to let it buffer, and it has a huge selection.

Also, because it's big, it has a much larger pool of ads. I once watched a full episode of Bones on Fox's website, and every single commercial break had the exact same commercial. That's bad enough, but it was a pretty annoying commercial with an annoying song. It drove me crazy. I may never watch another episode on Fox's website again.

Recently, before watching a video on Hulu a message came up asking me which of two campaigns I'd like to see ads for. That's a pretty good idea, provided it doesn't lead to my viewing the same commercial over and over again. By giving potential viewers a choice, it actually invokes curiosity about the ads and makes them more likely to be viewed.


Another site doing something new to me is ABC. I've watched all the new episodes of Scrubs on it, and they've got an interesting idea. So far I've seen two different implementations of it.

The first was for some hardware store offering holiday decorating ideas. I saw an html page in the viewing window with pictures and links to ideas on how to create these decorations with the hardware store's help, and after 15 or so seconds I had to click a button in the upper left corner to continue the watching the episode. I had to click the button to proceed, if I didn't click anything the video wouldn't resume.

The second implementation also had a basic html page in the viewing window, but it had a video embedded in the page as well as text. The ad's video was 30 seconds, and this time I could click the button in the upper left corner to stop a 15-second countdown and finish watching the entire length of the ad's video. Meaning, don't click the button in 15 seconds, you go back to your show, do click the button, you watch the rest of the ad.

Both are very interesting ideas. The hardware store ad, even though it was probably much cheaper to produce than a video, gave more specific information and provided more ways to engage the audience.

The second ad, with the video longer than the break I'm sure will give sponsors valuable information as to which ads people want to see in their entirety.

Both ideas were fairly innovative and both in theory, should result in better ads.

Text ads

Then we get to my least favorite online video ads, the text ads. I'm okay with text ads in the sidebar of a blog (obviously). Sometimes a particularly relevant one jumps out at you, but they're off to the side, out of your way and easy to ignore if you don't want to see them.

On a video they're kind of obnoxious. They cover part of the screen, they're actually distracting viewers (I know, that's the point). I'll probably try them out to see how I like them on my own videos, but as a (eventual) producer and as a viewer, I'll take pre-rolls and post-rolls (text or video) over in-video text ads any day. That's not to say I won't enable text ads in my own videos, I'll certainly try them out, but I don't know if I'll stick with them.

So there you have it, a tiny little review of a few implementations of online video ads. Months late, but nobody reads this blog anyways.


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