Commentary

Facebook Will See How Much Consumers, Advertisers Will Stand

Maybe better now than later. It appears a few online video providers, or others that carry video advertising, are coming to quick conclusion that digital consumers really don’t want to wait or wade, and advertisers won’t pay for it,  so you see quick efforts to speed things up.

Facebook is now monitoring which of its videos command the most attention from its users, so it can jettison the rest. In large part, that’s to help advertisers, but to some lesser extent, it’s to help Facebook users, who just don’t want all the noise.

Advertisers are telling Facebook they don’t want to pay for ads that aren’t seen all the way through; Facebook has countered by asking, how about 10 seconds? 

According to TheWall Street Journal, WPP’s Group M has informed Facebook it only wants pay for ad plays that Facebook users initiate. Even if you think autoplay has faults, going all the way in the other direction--consumers choosing to watch ads, en masse!--seems a tall order especially on the Internet, which has a short but fertile history of ad dodging.

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But all around, from the content you watch to the ads that sometimes help pay for it, the message is to streamline.

Nearly every major content provider is working on a better user interface to explain what’s going on, but Hulu and Showtime are bundling online packages at a package so that consumers don’t have to go app-crazy locating them, though each will still be available at a discount. It makes finding content easier.

Hulu, already a known entity, needs a new framework to prepare for a promising  package of new programming coming. But so far just mainly shows yesterday’s TV. And Showtime, which I’ve slurred previously as nice, but unnecessary, needs interesting stuff around it. Packaged together though, it seems like a thing.

Reasonable people can disagree. The Diffusion Group’s Joel Espelien is one of those people. He writes, “Beyond the difficulty of price discrimination in a bundle between different OTT providers, the bundle itself appears somewhat arbitrary and without logic. In the consumer’s mind, Hulu is another SVOD app like Netflix, HBO, or Showtime itself.”

He suggests, blue-skying it, that it would be much better for Hulu and Netflix to create a bundle, and even though I won’t be around a million years from now, a million years from now that still wouldn’t have happened. Though it is a nice idea. 

Consumers and even advertisers seem to be seeking efficiency, in new and wondrous ways.  A weird example, to me, is trying to  figure out how much time the aggregate universe is spending on mobile and then dole out advertising in the same proportion.

Writing about Facecbook, TheStreet.com reports on Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali, who has determined that Facebook could also benefit from the decreasing gap between the time people spend on mobile and the amount companies allocate to advertising on mobile, according to Squali and his team. Currently the gap stands at 14 percentage-points.”

That is people spend 24% of their media time on mobile but U.S. companies only set aside 10% of their budget for mobile spend.

Now it might be that advertisers should spend more, but the one-to-one benchmark, which seems wickedly logical, is really pretty nutty, when you consider all the different advertisers, goals and potential customers.

Yet the idea of coming up with some handy device seems pretty enticing. Ad agencies are flipping out these days because so many of their clients are calling for reviews. This, it seems, is leading to publishers being required by nervous agencies to prove some kind of ROI. Every little rule of thumb, and every corner cut, would seem helpful.
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