Why Annoying Online Video Ads Actually Work on You

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Video ads are everywhere — on online videos, popping up over articles on your favorite websites, or appearing on your social networks — and if you think they’re annoying, you’re not alone. While online advertising (thankfully) has improved since 2012, an Edelman Berland survey (PDF) found that users found ads “annoying,” “distracting,” “invasive,” “creepy,” and “evil,” and most users would still agree that “advertisements should tell a unique story, not just try to sell,” “beautiful advertising is more effective,” and some even found that “online advertising is creepy and stalks you” or possibly that “most marketing is a bunch of B.S.” (to which 53 percent of the survey’s respondents agreed).

While consumers often don’t enjoy online video ads, their popularity among advertisers and ad networks is climbing, though it’s not likely to replace TV ads just yet. In June, market research firm eMarketer reported that while spending on digital video ads is growing, its momentum isn’t nearly strong enough to see it overtaking the TV ad market in the near future. Spending on TV ads is projected to constitute six times the spending on digital video ads in 2018, in part because digital viewers are harder for advertisers to target given that they’re spread out over a wide variety of platforms.

EMarketer analyst David Hallerman noted that much of the time that users spend with digital video isn’t useful to advertisers, partly because some of that time is spent viewing clips that are too short, or otherwise not conducive to a brand placing an ad that can effectively tell its story. Alternately, users’ time spent with online video goes to streaming video through subscription services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, which don’t support advertising.

But the eMarketer report does find that spending on online video ads for desktop remains well ahead of spending for similar ads targeted to smartphones or tablets, and spending on desktop ads is expected to comprise 75.8 percent of digital video ad spending in 2014.