Tighten the Coupling: Text Ads and Videos

As online videos and their consumption continue ramping up, we should consider this coupling as more than an afterthought. There must be ways to display text ads in a more targeted and user-friendly manner.

Almost all consumers willingly accept ads with their videos. They would rather have free access and put up with any ads. Also they are actively complaining about the length of video ads, and almost a quarter feel ads could be more relevant. All these findings reflect sentiments surveyed from January-June 2007.

According to Emily Riley, a Jupiter analyst, many consumers would prefer text versus even a shorter 15-second pre-roll video ad. She says “text ads don't interrupt the user experience as much.”

However, there's a real gap between accepting text ads and optimizing how they will get delivered -- when adjacent to videos.

-- Ad targeting will need to evolve. Semantic approaches are getting applied, but don't literally capture the whole experience. Certainly behavioral interests are also important, even when viewers are anonymous. The nature of what's appropriate for commercial purposes should come into play here.

-- Ads will need to become more dynamic. Think about what to advertise during long-form videos. Some programs stay on topic and appeal to viewer interests consistently, yet showing the same ads seems like lost opportunity. Other videos, like newscasts, vary over time and thus their ads should too.

-- Ad displays will need to change. We're all used to the flat approach to displaying ads, and that's a start. However, videos create a more dynamic experience. Should text ads be considered as something that is shown before or after videos? Or are they always about a sidebar?

Let's give our ad opportunities more careful consideration. At least we know that viewers are ready for us, the advertisers.