In mid-August, Netflix announced that they are going to start testing running advertisements between episodes – or as they referred to them, “recommendations… [to help] members discover stories they will enjoy faster.” And no surprise, subscribers are not impressed with the concept and has caused significant backlash. Netflix, until now, had set themselves apart from their competitors such as Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube, because their platform was completely ad free. So, even if Netflix’s intentions behind implementing these “suggestions” are actually meant to improve user experience – it brings up the age old question of why viewers are so opposed to ads? What lengths they will go to to avoid watching ads? And most importantly, how do marketers and digital advertisers keep our users engaged and interested enough so that they don’t feel the urge to push the “skip ad” button.
CNBC covered a study written by IPG stating that 65% of viewers will push the skip ad button as soon as it becomes an available option. But even more interesting is that, 76% of those people were also reported to do so out of habit, “[as] an ingrained behavior.” It is clear that viewers are so accustomed to ads, because they experience them in video, on social media, and listening to music on a daily basis, that they have become wired to skip them. For digital advertisers this is an opportunity to improve the experience enough so that audiences feel both engaged and interested in the content being offered to them, rather than annoyed.
Make it Engaging
Advertisers need to tell a good story in the language that addresses their audience. Advertising can’t just focus on pushing features and functionality, but rather engage with the viewer in order to tell them who their brand is and why they should pay attention.This doesn’t need to be complex or lengthly, but actually the shorter the better, since the average viewer only watches the first 5.5 seconds of a 15 second pre-roll ad. Advertisers have to pack a lot into those couple of seconds, needing to effectively tell their story in an engaging way that keeps the audience’s’ attention and encourages them to interact with their brand.
To encourage viewers from skipping ads on YouTube, NBC showed cute images with messages that read, ““Only a monster would skip a video of a bunny in a bucket…Enjoy a moment of goodness, and maybe, just maybe, you will end up in the good place” to promote Season 3 of their hit-sitcom, “The Good Place.” Viewers that didn’t skip over the ad were rewarded with a sneak peak of Season 3. This successful storytelling technique not only promoted users not to skip the ad, but to actually engage with the content being presented.
Make it Relevant
eMarketer projects that by 2020, video ad spending will reach $19.81 billion. With mass amounts marketing dollars going toward this platform, advertisers need to ensure they are targeting the right audience. With the growing capabilities of programmatic video, the ability to contextually target a person with the appropriate message, timing and content is in now possible. Brands who use a combined DMP and DSP for their programmatic video buys have the ability to learn about their users in an efficient way so that they can deliver ads with content that they will not want to ‘skip’ in the right context of the video content being consumed.
Programmatic media buyers also have the option of using Dynamic Creative Optimization technology (DCO) which enables them to create and test different creative options, automatically and simultaneously, and identify which ad gets the best consumer engagement. Tactics like this, that enable advertisers to match individual consumers specific interests, exemplify why 60% of video ad spend money is going toward programmatic video, with that number only estimated to grow in the coming years.
Online video advertising is rapidly dominating the advertising atmosphere. However, today it’s not enough to create a one size fits all ad creative, if brands want to combat ‘the skip button,’ otherwise their dollars spent on this tactic, will be wasted. Viewers are less likely to skip an ad with a unique and interesting story, even more so, if the story interests them personally. Programmatic video advertising combined with user data and great creative offers a huge opportunity for advertisers to keep audiences less inclined to dislike advertising enough to skip it all together. If you are interested in learning more or talking about how to improve your video strategy, reach out to us here.