Teads.tv InRead Interrupts with Video Ads But Nicely, Nicely
I was writing just the other day about annoying and/or useful ways various Websites present online video advertisements and took offense at various devices that often make using Websites just more trouble than they’re worth. (And the cookies! Don’t get me started.)
And all along, I realized, I do like one new way of presenting online video advertising I’ve heard about. It's used on Websites that deal mainly with text, like newspaper or magazine sites.
The one that has caught my eye is Teads.tv’s inRead format, new in the United States, and now used for some ads seen on the Economist’s site, economist.com, but only in some stories. Forbes.com, CNBC.com and Reuters.com are also new to inRead, but in Europe, about 100 Websites are using it. Teads.tv wants to expand big time in America, possibly by interesting chain newspaper publishers.
The Teads inRead works like this: As the reader
scrolls down any text-based article, the video ad appears between paragraphs and begins to play when you roll over it. When you stop to watch, it plays. If you go on, it stops as you are leaving its
viewabilty. If you see it all, it then it goes away altogether. Advertisers pay for complete views, most typically, and what they get are complete views.
It is not totally unobtrusive, though the French company likes to say it is, and so does The Economist’s Nick Blunden, the SVP global head of digital and content strategy in canned comments.Teads.tv provided.
It is, however, mostly unannoying and perfectly so if you absolutely don’t want to be bothered by a commercial interruption because you can just fly by it, if you choose. I understand watching those commercials is the way publishers stay in business, but there are times a reader wants to read, and avoid the messaging.
“If the reader wants to keep reading, you just keep scrolling. The reader is still in charge,”: says John Osborn, in charge of Teads.tv's North American business development.
When we talked, we struggled to agree on what “in-” word was most spot-on. It’s intrusive, I declared. “It’s intrusive, but not interruptive,” fine-lined Osborn. Thank God neither of us had a gun.
Osborn, who's also a frequent contributor to MediaPost, says the perfect inRead ad is about 15 seconds long, and at that length, 40% or more of the ad starts go to completion. That lowers to 30% or so for ads that are 30 seconds long.
Reading that, it sounds pretty perfect but nothing really is. In practice, it’s the sound that gets you. The audio is jarring at first and supposing you don’t watch it all, but have reason to go to the top of the page and begin again, you begin to dread the idea of going in the neighborhood of that ad. Mostly, though, I suppose, people don’t keep backing up and re-reading news articles.
And I don’t know, but if I knew a reader watched an ad all the way through, as an advertiser, I’d like to have that ad stay on the page of that user. So maybe inRead shouldn’t be devised so the messaging goes away, as it does now.
(To put this in newspaper terms, if I was distracted enough to read about a fabulous car lease offer while otherwise reading a news story, I might have it in the back of my mind to go back later on and check out the deal a little more deliberately. If, however, I returned and noticed that page A6 had disappeared, I might be a little put out. )
Osborn says it’s something that might be addressed in later iterations of inRead, or could be now, since publishers have a lot of leeway about how many stories inRead formats are placed, and which ones.
Maybe I quibble, because in the main, I think most everybody involved could be pleased by the inRead arrangement. The reader is only momentarily bothered. The advertiser pays for ads seen to completion and the publisher gets paid for delivering the goods. It’s an interesting idea.