Skippable ads are all the rage, and now the Interactive Advertising Bureau is jumping on the bandwagon.
The standards body has codified online video ad-skipping, which might seem counterintuitive to a group that wants to promote advertising on the Web. But, on closer inspection, supporting skippability may be a good thing.
The IAB’s new video suite introduced this week, its first update to in-stream video ad standards since 2008, now includes support for "skippable" video ads that let publishers set pricing models based on ads that play to completion and also includes support for pods of ads in a single ad break, “allowing for the creation of viewing experiences similar to broadcast television,” the IAB said.
Why are these good moves? Because online video is moving closer to TV with skippable ads. In the last few weeks, tech firms such as SpotXChange to Solve Media have rolled out features to let users skip online ads. These efforts follow moves by YouTube and Hulu in the last few years to let users skip or choose ads, and suggests we may be moving closer to “choice-based” ads in online video.
While the prospect of skippable ads is becoming a divisive issue in the online video business, it’s also simply inevitable. Technology will almost always deliver workarounds to watching ads, just as industries always seem to serve up workarounds to their own products. Like the phone company introducing caller ID, then call blocking to cancel out its own feature. Or cablers rolling out DVRs that allow ad-skipping, then introducing measurement through Nielsen to incorporate DVR viewing.
Whether you’re for or against skipping ads online, the reality is skipped ads may become the norm. This isn’t a bad thing. TV has started to figure out how to deal with skipped ads. And as online video continues to mimic TV, this medium will figure out how to manage all those skipped ads too.