There are almost no standards in the online video advertising market, which makes for a very poor user experience. Every website seems to treat video advertising differently, whether it’s the format, length, quality, or functionality of the ad. Ad-solution vendors promise things like targeting and high-quality engagement, but they fall severely short. It’s the whole reason why the average cost per mille (CPM) for nontargeted pre-roll videos has fallen over the years and now hovers at about $10. No advertiser wants to spend a lot of money, except in specific niche cases, because the targeting of the ad, the experience for the consumer, and the metrics given back to the advertisers are so poor. Some online sites can charge $25 CPM for pre-roll, but not many.
Day after day, site after site, I get the same pre-roll ad delivered to me 10 times in a row. On the CNN, ESPN, and NFL websites, I’ll often see the same ad on every clip I watch. On some sites, the content I want to watch is available in HD quality, but the pre-roll ad is delivered in SD quality. Some websites will deliver a 4:3 ad inside a 16:9 player. One site will run a 30-second pre-roll ad before a video clip that is only 30 seconds in length, but another will stick to only 15-second pre-rolls for short-form content.
You can skip some pre-rolls, but not others. And when it comes to the player itself, some ads can go full-screen, while others can’t. Some you can pause, some not. And then you have the problem that some sites won’t let you turn off auto-play videos that start with a pre-roll. I will read an article on a website only to notice later that a video was playing someplace else on the page the whole time. I didn’t see the ad or engage with the video at all, but an advertiser paid to deliver that ad anyway. Last year, Google said that 46 percent of the video ads running across the desktop and mobile web (outside of YouTube) never had a chance to be seen. All online video advertising vendors talk about is engagement, yet the metrics they use to measure engagement are different, or there is no real engagement taking place at all.
The live streaming experience is even worse. Server-side ad insertion is very hard to do, many vendor solutions in the market do not work, and the consumer experience is poor. If I want to watch a live stream of an event that has already started, I want to get to the stream as quickly as possible because I feel like I am missing out. And yet, for example, when I watched the Democratic National Convention stream on foxnews .com, I had to sit through the page loading (6 seconds), the player loading the ad (5 seconds), the ad itself (30 seconds), and then the live stream buffering (5 seconds). So 46 seconds after clicking the live stream link, I finally got the content. What is it about that experience that publishers and video advertising vendors think is good?
By Dan Rayburn
Read more at www.streamingmedia.com