This post originally appeared in our January issue of “Live Report from the Future of Marketing,” our monthly Post-Advertising newsletter. Subscribe for free here.
According to the results of a recent Break Media study on digital video advertising trends, a frightening percentage of marketers still consider the pre-roll ideal placement because the audience is “held hostage to watch.” In spite of plentiful research indicating that new formats and techniques are more effective, marketers still want interruptive advertising. Have they learned nothing?
After the mainstream embrace of the world wide web in the mid 90′s, advertising was quick to ride the wave into the digital age. But the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. The interruptive model traditionally defined by billboards, television spots, and print ads was replaced with more of the same in the digital realm — irrelevant and intrusive banner ads, email spam, and captive online video advertising.
The recent Digital Video Advertising Trends 2011 study from Break Media is further proof that confirms all our worst fears. According to the research, around 40% of advertisers [who] favor pre-roll [over any other video ad format do so] because they believe the audience is “held hostage to watch” and thus the format “garners the most attention from the viewer.”
We’ve preached that there are better ways to market — strategies that prioritize engagement, relevancy, value, and storytelling — in which audiences opt-in to expose themselves to branded (as well as non-branded) content. It’s a fantastic ideal, and we’ll never stop striving towards this model, but to imagine that the entire advertising world will see the light and adopt this approach is, well, unrealistic, and it’s important to recognize that.
As long as there is an easy way to kidnap eyeballs, a large faction of lazy marketers will resort to the lowest common denominator, even if this approach does, according to Break Media, run contrary to “research indicating consumers are weary of [pre-roll] and newer formats hav[ing] greater impact on purchase intent.” It’s simply too easy for brands to purchase attention instead of truly earning it. Why try when you can just buy?
The big agencies are even trying to put TV ads on the web. I was trapped recently by a Prilosec 30-second TV spot running on Yahoo! It was placed there as an unavoidable penance that had to be endured before the site would let me see a news video. Folks: Just in case anyone was wondering, this is not an endearing or effective move. It gave me heartburn, for which I now have nowhere to turn. Thanks a lot, Prilosec.
I could understand a Prilosec ad being served to me if I was searching for “acid indigestion” or anything that made it likely that I need Prilosec. But to play it to me because I clicked on a news item about Iraq is just silly. (Unless, of course, one of AstraZeneca’s agencies has undisclosed research that news from Iraq exacerbates esophogeal reflux disease.)
I suppose we could look at it two ways. On the one hand, it’s sad to see marketers still clinging to traditional, self-serving methods like barnacles to the bottom of the Titanic. On the other hand, we could be happy knowing that all those advertisers are going down with the ship, leaving the post-advertisers to set sail.