In the world of the Internet, there aren’t many places you can go without having something pop up on your screen; a little interactive game or a video that randomly starts playing. Sites such as Wikipedia and Tumblr have always prided themselves on not wanting to show ads and deface their websites, but everything has to come to an end one day.
As I logged onto Tumblr today I saw an advert at the top of my dashboard. Newcomers to the site are unlikely to find this surprising, but to those of us who were around in the Tumblr days of “We will never have ads on our site,” it is. Whilst I am not surprised about their change of heart, I did think it may have come sooner. I predicted that Tumblr would start using ads when it was purchased by Yahoo back in early 2013. Tumblr boasts more active users online than Facebook in the 13-25 age bracket. Yahoo aren’t stupid, the potential ad revenue to be made from this audience is huge so they would be fools to let Tumblr standby its previous promise.
The Tumblr situation got me thinking about how people feel about advertising on the internet. How do people really feel about having video ads on their computer screen?
I decided to take a look at video ads, exploring why companies use them, what benefits they have and how consumers feel about them.
A recent conference held by Facebook told us that we can expect video ads on our News feed as of 2014. This didn’t come as a shock to anyone as Facebook has been advertising since more or less its inception; however a more surprising statement was made my Morgan Stanley. They stated that Facebook will make more than $1 billion in 2014 alone from video advertising, which is quite the revenue seeing as they haven’t even started yet and have no idea how it will go down.
More and more companies are starting to use video advertising on sites such as YouTube. YouTube has more than 100 hours of footage uploaded every minute, so you can only imagine how much is actually streamed by the public. With such a huge audience it would be a missed opportunity to have not jumped on the advertising bandwagon and matched their choice of advertising medium with that of the platform.
There are two types of ads on YouTube, ads that can be skipped after 5 seconds (these account for 75% of video ads) and others that you have to wait out. These can be up to 3 minutes long. Viewers may find ads irritating if they are in a rush or trying to show somebody something, but in reality they are no more disruptive than TV adverts.
Companies who sell physical products benefit a lot more from video ads as the viewer can see their products in use rather than just a picture or description. Whilst buying a blender might not be on your mind whilst looking for a clip from Celebrity Masterchef, seeing one in action might make you reconsider.
I asked a friend what she thought about video ads;
“They can be annoying if you are listening to a playlist of music on YouTube and you get really into it and then a random movie trailer starts. But I can definitely see the benefit though, I have bought items purely based on the fact I saw them in an ad. It’s no different to television really”
The jury is still out on the impact of video advertising; consumers are equally irritated and intrigued. The question now is, how are they going to feel about ads showing up on the most popular social network?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.