Online Advertising Is Going Somewhere, But Not Fast

I’m thankful for the content providers that tell me I can stop this pre-roll ad right away and go to the content I came for, post-haste. does this all the time. But oddly, I usually watch the ad because I want Forbes to keep offering the option of not watching, and that will only happen if I don’t utilize the option. I also watch those ads if I sense a Website is struggling to survive. I like to help the underdog. I bet I’m not alone.

I also like those advertisements online that tell me how much longer they are going to last. If only people did that. At a cocktail party, if I knew the blowhard or equal-opportunity blowhardette approaching me had only had 30 seconds-worth of hot air to expend, I’d circulate a lot more. So would they, I bet.

And apparently, a lot of online viewers, knowing the end is coming soon, just sit there and take in the ad.  

But in truth, if you grew up with TV, by now you can sort of mentally/physically determine how much time you have to leave the set to make a sandwich, run out to the car, go to the bathroom, or focus ever so briefly on your spouse.



That’s why advertisers often pay more for the last ad in a pod, because the television clock inside our brain is often not precisely accurate. Sometimes, despite our training, we get back just slightly too early.

In a more minor league kind of way, I’m learning that rhythm  with online ads, skippable or not. I can do something else for 15 or 30 seconds, then focus.

TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson last week told an audience that 15%-25%  of skippable ads are completed, which of course is the positive way of saying that 80%-85% of skippable ads live up to their name. According to, on the same panel at a VideoNuze online advertising summit, Kathryn Friedrich, YouTube’s head of video strategy “dodged the query with the more guarded answer of ‘it varies.’ ”

But goodness, for YouTube, it must vary tremendously, given the wide range of content (some of it barely qualifying as content) that shows up there.

That VideoNuze conference had some more uncomfortable truth telling. Here’s another: Damn the stats, advertisers and marketers just aren’t going to rush over to online advertising, because there is just too much online out there.  TV, though more and more expensive, is still serving them well, and easily and without as much risk as an advertiser might experience putting messages someplace they’ve never been before. It’s why you end up ordering the same thing at Thai restaurants. Pad Thai is the devil you know.

 “If you followed viewers across all screens, we’d have to add at least 70% to the budget … our clients say ‘we don’t have have any more money and everything’s more expensive,’” said Michael Bologna, director of emerging communications at GroupM, as reported on And so, things stay not exactly as they are, but more like they are than they should be.


4 comments about "Online Advertising Is Going Somewhere, But Not Fast".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, June 11, 2013 at 2:16 p.m.

    Agreed with your title and conclusion. Despite all the hype, online video really isn't a powerful marketing tool. Useful, yes. Does it create "power" for you? Not when compared with traditional TV. Where I'll disagree is the idea that TV is "more and more expensive". Looking back over 20 years in DRTV there's really not been a massive increase.

  2. Scott Martino from Audi of America, June 11, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

    TV is much more expensive compared to online video, but the question you have to ask is what is going to provide you with a better KPI given the cost? I have conducted a two screen study and found that while ad impact is only slightly higher for online it is by far a cheaper option when you look at awareness and consideration.

    So while you cannot add 70% to your budget you should absolutely move it to places where it can do the same job for less cost.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 11, 2013 at 6:57 p.m.

    That big screen TV and even watching TV programs on a smaller screen to a degree is still a different mind set. Work with it. Next - when an article or ad has video it adds time to the information one wants to add to their intake. There needs to be a better balance when video hinders and annoys and when video is welcome like when a person is interested enough in a static ad to click on the video for more information. Which consumer do you think will turn into a customer ?

  4. Emily Duffy from VideoElephant, June 12, 2013 at 4:30 a.m.

    I think length od adverts is a really key factor, if I'm going to watch a 20 second clip, I'm not going to want to watch a 15 second advert. It also needs to be more targeted based on viewing history - say on You Tube for instance, if I were watching interviews with cast members of Game of Thrones say, I wouldn't mind being targeted with adverts for a new similar show, or a movie with one of the actors, or even similar music to the soundtrack etc. The internet is in essence a way for people to have more autonomy in the media they consume, so it should stand to reason that they also have some influence on the ads they are targeted with? This is a good thing for advertisers - as instead of avoiding an irrelevant and uninteresting advert, consumers are being told about something valuable to them. It's a win win!

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