Most Users Okay With Ads in Free Online Video

In the latest results from market research company, Ipsos's quarterly study of the U.S. online video market, Ipsos found that most users are willing to accept advertising within free, online video content. The percentage of folks who find the inclusion of advertising in their free streaming or downloaded videos acceptable, however, depends significantly on the type and length of the content.

Of the different video types included in the study, full-length TV shows had the highest acceptance rate of people who felt that it is at least somewhat reasonable to expect advertising, such as commercials, embedded into the free shows. As this online video format most closely matches that of existing, "offline" commercial television, it may not surprise that a full 82 percent of those polled were okay with ads.

As it turns out, for all but one of the six online media types queried about in the study, more than half the people polled felt that the inclusion of advertising was a fair trade-off for access to the free video content. In addition to full-length TV shows, these other online media types include full-length movies, music videos, short news/sports clips, and trailers or previews.

The one online video type that had a lower than 50 percent acceptance rate for included advertising was "amateur or homemade video clips." In this case, only 48 percent of respondents felt that advertising was acceptable. As the study points out, this is the precise video type that has made YouTube so popular:

"This finding is particularly interesting because some video sharing websites, such as YouTube, are beginning to diversify their content offerings to include longer, more professionally produced material that may be supported by advertising. "Ad-subsidized service models will have to be carefully considered by these video sharing websites, since their current audience has grown accustomed to free streams without any advertising," adds [Ipsos MediaCT Director, Adam] Wright. "As advertising starts to appear within their offerings, it has the potential to alter attitudes, perceptions and usage of these sites." Indeed, given its substantial usage levels among today's digital video consumers, YouTube would appear to have a lot at stake as it begins to experiment with ad-subsidized content."

YouTube InVideo Ads

YouTube has been including "InVideo" ads in some of its videos for a while, and the Wall Street Journal reports that Google might start including "preroll" and "postroll" ads in some videos as well:

"Google plans to begin accepting "preroll" and "postroll" ads, which will run before and after some YouTube video clips, according to one person familiar with the matter. The plan under consideration, this person says, would give companies that post video clips the option to sell such ads, and share the revenue with Google. YouTube has long forsworn such ads because consumers don't like them. But advertisers consider them highly effective."

An Advertiser's Guide to YouTube

It will be interesting to see how people react to more invasive ads in the media type that Ipsos found to be the one folks are least likely to accept ads in. However, if the study results are accurate, with almost half of the respondents okay with the ads, the consequences might not be as dire as the study suggests.

We are surprised, actually, at the results of Ipsos's study. We would have thought that far more people would find in-video advertising anathema to online video, regardless of media type or length--with the possible exception of full-length TV shows. We'd like to know how you feel about in-video advertising for free, online video in the comments section below.
Via:  Ipsos
Tags:  video, Users, Online Video, Ads, DS, Free, Online, OS, id, K
shanewu 6 years ago
I think my feelings pretty much mirror the study results...the longer and higher quality the video, the more receptive I am to ads in the video. I do prefer them at the beginning or at least spaced out logically (such as every 10-15 minutes for a 45-minute TV show).
designerfx 6 years ago
This is a 100% straw man article.

The real question should be "what level of intrusive advertising do we consider acceptable".

Nobody outright refuses all ads, but it's different when it's a couple seconds before a video starts than say completely stopping the video halfway for an ad.

Measure to watch: intrusiveness (aka making actual interesting/funny ads that people won't mind watching)
measure not to watch: whether people simply are "okay" with ads.
MikeL_HH 6 years ago
I can stand a short ad before/after a video provided the ad is related to the video content some how (when possible). For instance, I wouldn't mind seeing a short movie trailer before a movie, or a game commercial before a game interview video. On the other hand, don't feed me the exact same BestBuy ad before every single video for a whole year (hear that CNET?).

I personally can't stand intermission ads, whether it is in videos or websites. Forcing me to stop what I am doing after I already started just to look at your ad does not make me very happy. I actually like Google's In-Video approach, since the intermission is elective. However, I really don't like the "pop-up" ads at the bottom of flash videos, where a little bar appears during the video to distract and annoy you. It wouldn't be so bad if it was a static image but more recently I see a lot of really annoying animated banners on some sites. I think my issue is that an ad before and after a video doesn't negatively impact the experience of watching the video, but throwing in an intermission/pop-up at just the wrong moment could ruin the whole thing.

Another thing that would be interesting is a very short 5-10 second video ad right before the video begins that ends with "stay tuned after the video for details" and then the video is followed by a longer 30+ second ad for those who are interested.
Crisis Causer 6 years ago

A few ads are alright in a 42-min TV show.  Like when I watch Lost online, there are 30 second ads every once in a while.  Better than the several minute ads on TV.  But I cannot stand having to watch ads before a short trailer or new thing.  Nothing shorter than 10 min should have ads.

3DtoHD 6 years ago

Ads withing a video are ok with me as long the ads are in the begining or end of a video. I dislike the the fact that most videos now a days have flash ads next to, A big minus if you are runing an older computer as most the processor power gets hogged by the flash animation resulting in slow out of sync video.

ice91785 6 years ago

I think the bottom line here is: if you are not paying for the video it has to be funded someway.....heck, if I am not paying a dime and getting to watch a full length TV show there is no real loss in there.

That is unless my TV show turns into what TRL (total request live) has been subjected to....for those who do not know it used to be a very popular top 10 music video show which was fine. But since, they play literally 10-15 seconds of each song, constantly being interupted by teeny-boppers screaming "omg I want to request xxxx song because xxx is SOO HOT!! aAAAAHHHAAHHHHH!!!!!!" that totally overshadows the actual song.....

If this were to occur with ads playing back every 10 seconds or something I will gladly pay a premium price for video....

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