Having video viewers tell you which video ads they want to see, and don't want to see is the new thing. Facebook has been using it for sometime with their own ads and now Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Hulu planning to do the same.

Next month, the group of websites will begin to let viewers choose what they see during video clips online. Some of the sites in the announcement include MSNBC.com, Yahoo.com, and Hulu.com.

A research study of the new Hulu-designed format led by Vivaki, the digital arm of French advertising company Publicis Group, showed that users are twice as likely to click an ad when given a choice, as opposed to when one is selected for them.

The new ad-selecting tool is called ASq and is poised to assist websites in receiving higher rates while letting marketers attract more eyeballs and improve consumer targeting. Then again, there might be some like me who just click no on almost all the ads we see.

Along with the other sites mentioned CBS.com, AOL.com, and Discovery.com plan to start using ASq as well. And it is reported that Google's YouTube is studying it. Asq will give viewers the option to choose from three or more ads instead of foisting a pre-roll on them, which is where a lot of viewers are generally lost.

Considering that you'll have a choice on what video ad to see it might not be such a bad thing. They still might have to push certain ads on you to make sure they generate enough revenue, but at least you'll possibly see less annoying ads or a lower number of them. However, with Hulu's recent announcement that their Plus service will have the same number of ads as the free service does now and that service will double the ad load, I'm not so sure how this will work. They're obviously going to still be pushing ads on you whether you like it or not (and expect you to pay to see the ads as well!). I don't know that simply giving viewers a choice of which ads to watch will be enough. Perhaps if they gave us a choice of which ads and how many or how long they might have a better chance of keeping our attention. But expecting us to pay for content and watch a fair number of ads...well that's going to the well one too many times for my taste.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/christophor-rick/ Christophor Rick

    Wouldn't a click through translate into better brand recall at a later date? They are not only seeing the ad but also moving forward with a click on to another page or process to get further information which then makes them a higher percentage chance of conversion or sale.

    I think effectiveness would need to be measured through the entire experience from when a consumer sees an ad all the way through to the retail outlet they go to and buy the product they saw the ad for (eCommerce or physical). Too bad not all places are capable of tracking all of that. Why does someone choose Samsung over Sony (aside from my father who simply hates all things Sony..for very good reasons mind you)? Was it because they saw an ad or because their friends recommended them? That's the sort of thing we need.

    But that's NOT what the content publishers want, because then they wouldn't be able to charge as high as they do and it would cut into their bottom line when we found out that ads aren't as effective as they had hoped... So many will probably never offer all of that.

    How do you suggest it be done Nate?

  • http://blogs.forrester.com/nate_elliott Nate Elliott

    Ad choice isn't exactly new on Hulu -- they've let users choose between one long pre-roll and normal mid-roll ads on and off for the past couple years, and they've offered a user feedback tool ('Was this ad relevant?' with a 'Yes' and a 'No' button) for at least the last few months.

    What does seem new - and is rather unfortunate - is that Hulu seems to be quantifying the impact of these units based on clickthrough rates. Given that nearly every online video marketer I speak to is focused on branding goals - and that Hulu, with its high-quality content and even higher prices, is an unabashed branding channel - it's disappointing that we're yet again pitching effectiveness as a question of response.