Are Consumers Getting Used To All That Online Advertising?

Here’s more statistical evidence of how online viewing trends are changing. The action, or at least a lot of the attention, is focused on mobile, tablet and over the top devices.

FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report notes that about a quarter of the monetization in the second quarter was derived from ad views on those type devices.

The biggest increase, percentage-wise, was in OTT ad views, which were up a whopping 236% over a year ago, clearly a sign of more devices in the market. Chromecast, for example, has only been on the market for a little more than a year but claims 7% of the OTT ad views. Roku makes up 34%, and gaming consoles 33%, with AppleTV taking up the remaining 26%.

That’s obviously not the same as measuring use of OTT devices overall, but of advertising that comes from them. No doubt a lot of OTT viewing is of commercial-free fare like Netflix and Amazon, whose Amazon Fire device, which does offer commercial content with YouTube, Crackle and more doesn’t even get a sliver of the pie.

Altogether, the who’s-watching-where stats are misleading, but only if you choose to be misled.

For example, 76% of all online video ads in Q2 were still seen on a laptop or PC, down just 1% from a year ago, though that stat seems to be forgotten as eyes are on the new shiny things.

Even with that fat increase, OTT devices only conveyed 4% of the ad views, smartphones 13% and tablets 7%. All were up substantially; trends and marketing would seem to suggest laptops and PCs are toast. But the fact is, those big units are still dominant Internet sources, and will probably continue to be for a long time.

No doubt there’s change all around. While TV Everywhere is in a lot of ways still nowhere much at all, it is growing wildly. The FreeWheel report says TV Everywhere ad views have grown 619% year to year, one of those big percentage increases that seem to get attention.

The actual quarterly numbers make that 619% increase make sense. In Q2, 38% of long-form and live ad monetization came from beyond the authentication wall. Only 25% did one quarter ago; only 8% did a year ago.

The survey is packed with information about what screens are used when, and the general drift toward longer videos finding favor with digital viewers.

In that regard, the Monetization Report shows evidence that mid-roll commercial breaks in long-form programa are getting longer, which, I guess, means advertisers are getting comfortable there. But it also means, to me at least, that digital is adopting the lousy, cluttered aspects of television.

A year ago, the average mid-roll break was 68 seconds long and included 2.7 ads. In this Q2, that figure has pushed up the 3.7 ads, over 98 seconds.

I don’t know why those ads seem more annoying to me than the ones on TV. Maybe it’s because many of our first experiences with long-form online content was through Netflix and so ads in longer content seems, oddly, wrong.

Maybe it’s because of the relative intimacy of a smartphone, pad or even PC. These ads are really in our space, on our laps maybe, not way over there in the corner of our living rooms.   

Or maybe it’s because mid-roll ads are handled so clumsily. Go watch an episode of “Sequestered” on Crackle and then talk to me about the glorious integration of mid-roll ads.

Or maybe I’m all alone. FreeWheel’s report says, “As long-form content grows to account for a larger share of both audience and revenue, publishers are willing to test the waters and bring the digital experience on premium content more closely in line with what viewers are accustomed to on linear TV. Viewers have proven receptive thus far – acknowledging that TV is TV, regardless of the screen.”

We’ll see.



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