There is cottage industry seemingly devoted to explaining why online video ads are more effective than just about everything, and another cottage industry that will patiently explain why they are notoriously ineffective. If you reside between those two cottages, you can easily see through both houses a little bit.
One cheery piece of new research from Rocket Fuel, a programmatic buy firm, says ad agency professionals are having their doubts about the effectiveness of TV advertising. Rocket Fuel’s survey shows 80% of them are spending more money on digital this year. And 7 in 10 believe consumers are avoiding TV commercials more than they did five years ago, presumably, at least in part because of DVRs. They don’t think TV commercials are “working as hard” as they used to.
And yet, what to make of such stats? This was a survey of digital advertising agencies executives who might have been truthful in their answers, but biased in their experience.
I do think their answers are more telling when they discuss online video advertising, about: 60% “recognize there are serious barriers to shifting money from TV” to online.
“Chief among those barriers? Building reach (58%) and prior budget commitments (56%). Other challenges cited by those who agree that there are serious barriers to shifting TV funds into digital video include: agency coordination (31%); converting video assets to online ads (30%); and brand safety (23%).”
You know, little stuff.
Undeniably, online video advertising is exploding. It now makes up 60% of all Web traffic and a lot of people believe that has a lot of room to grow. Online ads are easy to watch, usually enjoyable—in any event, usually not torture—and yet, it seems ads are shot out to so many places that rather than being enthused by the coverage, advertisers are bound to feel a little out of control.
The lack of agreement about how to measure online effectiveness, or the fair cost of advertising is at least in part because of publishers, marketers and advertisers still aren’t sure about how to present commercials in a way that will maximize viewership. The basic conundrum is how many times in a short period of time I’ll endure 15 seconds of advertising for a minute’s worth of content. One extraordinary thing about online advertising is that it is perpetually asking consumers what they think of it—“Is this ad relevant to you?”—or telling you how much longer you have to endure it. Online begs a viewer to watch, but sort of implies they know they’re bugging you. I don’t know if that’s stupid or smart.