Yesterday, when I was writing about MyPodStudios.com, I was reminded again that I don’t like the way a lot of pre-roll works.
MPS CEO Jay Miletsky was telling me he suspects that those pre-rollls that count down the seconds before the ad is over make many viewers so anxious (or aware of their dead down time) that they just go away from the video altogether. I’ve thought like that and was happy someone else had that vibe.
That got me thinking about online video advertising’s worst practices, according to me. (I’m welcoming you to add your own in the comments section)
--Pre-roll is often tasteless, given the circumstances. If you go to news sites to view grisly footage of a carnage in Afghanistan, a grieving parent from Newtown, footage of a natural catastrophe or a elephant tusk poacher, you are likely to first be confronted for a commercial for a cruise ship, a paper towel, a yummy rum drink or whatever.
I watch those ads and say—Does the advertiser really want to be there? Can’t the site concoct some rule that eliminates ads that are pre-roll to major catastrophic sadness? It’s not a problem before every news video, but it certainly seems to be before some of them. Do I want a Pizza Hut commercial before I see a story about Egyptian women who are ritualistically raped?
Of course, television news, you’d say, does the same with a its medicine-chest full of commercials and quack investment advisors and gold bar hucksters. But the difference is that a host puts his or her face between the ad and the editorial. The separation is clear. Your mind separates the Cialis ad and the plane crash.
Also online, you are specifically clicking on the video to see that plane crash video. The intrusion is real and awkward and not necessary. If you still can find somebody who once sold newspaper ads, they might tell you that papers didn’t have to be told to pull airline advertising from the paper the day after the crash. A full page that says, “We Love to Fly and It Shows” is not only worthless to the advertiser on a day like that, but likely damaging to their image.
But we live in a pretty awful time, when an online beating is noted mostly for “going viral.” So maybe it’s my problem.
So while we’re at it:
I don’t mind the idea of pre-roll per se. But I don’t want to be an unpaid employe.
Some pre-roll carries a thin border that asks, “Is this ad relevant to you?” I think, whether it is or not is really not my problem. The agency that places the ad has to figure that out by itself. That’s their job, not mine.
And I never get to ask that question in reverse. Am I relevant to you.? Haven’t I been consigned by Madison Avenu to wearing safe, sensible shoes and driving four-cylinder Toyota Dullrollas for the rest of my life, despite income that is probably more expendable that the average conspicuous spender?
So don’t ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.
Or I will lie. Since agencies and markters still keep asking, I’ve learned that if I consent to an advertiser survey and eagerly want to tell some product about its ineffective (or spot-on) advertising, I had better lie about the year I was born, or that survey will last for exactly one question. (“Thanks for participating! Naptime, isn’t it?”)
To all of you out there, I wasn’t born yesterday. And I wasn’t born in 1971, either, but that’s what I like to say. At some point many (rather than a handful) of advertisers will learn that I do buy modern-like products. I just won’t stand in line overnight to be the very first to get one, and I won’t go on Facebook to announce what I just listened to on Spotify, either.
Finally, if your ad is going to expand into the reading space on a Web page like a sponge, you should know that however charming and relevant the video you want to show me is, I am leaving. Publishers should know that, too.
If you want to shove your wares in front of me like some pickpocket confronting me with a a coatful of “Rolex” watches I’m going to keep walking. Do that on the publishers page enough times and I’ll just go somewhere else for good. I would argue no other advertising mediaum has ever had the effrontery to be that intrusive.
And now, dear readers: Your complaints? Write them below.