The Case Against Advertising in Net Video

enric wrote this 11:10 pm:

From Very Good with Computers' photos.

Recently methods of advertising in video have become active in development and implementation. Originally when I heard the rational for Ads in net videos from Revver, I thought it worthwhile. Provide a method for people making video on the net to gain revenue from their work. This would support net videomakers continuing their work. There had been entries on the yahoo videoblogging group and on blogs for Ads targeted to the audience and content of the video. Similar to Google showing Ads that try to relate to keyword searches; an Ad for Harley motorcycles could appear on a videoblog entry about a weekend motorcycle hog excursion with friends.

Unfortunately, specifying include an Ad in my video on Revver, and others means you can have a powerful, emotive video on the relationship to one's father followed by a upbeat commercial for Juicy Fruit gum. Or a irreverent video of doing a prank on someone followed by a commercial for the Heart Association. Now this problem probably just relates to the technicality of specifying categories for the Ad's relationships to video content and the amount of different Ads available. With time the correlation of Ads to video content and the viewership should have stronger matching.

The question is why have Ads in videos on distributed networks. Traditionally, on a television set broadcast a advertisement had to exist within the video stream. No other location was provided for placement. However on the internet an Ad does not need to be in the video. It can be anywhere around the video on the web page. Either top, left, right, bottom or lower down the page. Now video on the net does not mean just a web page. It can be an iPod, mobile phone, Tivo, or even projected in a theatre film festival. All of these non-website screens can and probably will develop methods of displaying more than just a video stream. A future iPod, mobile phone, digital TV and theatre projector will be able to show more than just the video. Like the Opera super- and sub-titles projected separately from the performance, these screens will probably eventually have dynamic separate information areas where Ads can appear. Further with the usage of different screen ratios than 4x3 (16x9, etc.), space can be made available around the video to place Ads. This puts advertising in the video stream, but does not directly break up the video continuity.

Google proved the failure of putting ads directly in searches. Flash Ads that pop-up and dance up over the content of web-pages send people away from sites. And Ads that interrupt the video, even at the end, will be found to be ineffective. They will either drive people away from watching the videos if at the start or middle or tend to not be watched if at the end. Ads placed around the video will work since people can choose to pay attention to the periphery of a video if the ad relates to their interest or ignore that area.

10 Responses to “The Case Against Advertising in Net Video”

  1. Allie Says:


    Interesting essay. The problem definitely exists — of mis-matched ads appearing in videos. I don’t think that problem is solved by having ads run alongside the video, in a sidebar of some sort. You are still stuck with the same problem of possible mismatches. (Just a picture-video mismatch, instead of video-video mismatch.)

    Until all these advertising issues are solved, video over the web will definitely be held back. (Since, of course, advertising is what pays for most video content.) There’s also the fragmentation issue, which was mentioned in Shelly Palmer’s essay on TV/Video Web Inversion. Basically — advertisers want to reach large groups of people at once. Now, how can they reach the same amount of people via the web as they could on traditional TV? There is currently no real system in place, and one will have to come about.

    - Allie

  2. Chris Brogan... Says:

    I have a different opinion, personally, because I think you’re saying two things in your post. Now, this is if you’re seeking to make money directly from your video. I’m not arguing that you should or shouldn’t want to make money. Im’ assuming you’re trying to make money. Given that, here’s what I think you said in your post:

    1.) In-video Ads are bad [because]
    2.) Ads not in context are bad.

    I think 2 is true. An upbeat gum ad following your videoblog of a funeral would chew.

    I think #1 is the trick of it all. If you do out-of-video ads, it requires people to come back to your destination site to find the ads you laid out there. It means that distribution to multiple platforms and viewing experiences is discouraged. It means looking for fewer eyeballs all over the wired and wireless world, instead of seeking more views for more cash.

    Imagine that you could ONLY watch Jay Leno in his studio. (I wouldn’t watch him even there, but just use this as an example). Would people pay as much to see him? Would he be as relevant?

    So, if you want to simultaneously have your video drive revenue *and* add more and more viewers, I think you have to shoot for in-line ads.

    But THEN, it’s a matter of wanting them to be relevant. For my blog, I like how FeedBurner gives me the chance to approve or reject every single ad campaign. It allows me full control of what goes onto the site. I’d like that freedom in a video ad platform.

    So, if one wants to make money from their video efforts, I think tying the value to the actual media helps your distribution goals.

    Your mileage may vary. Great thing to consider. Thanks for posting it.

  3. Enric Says:


    The point is not that video Ads are mismatched to the video content — this will eventually be solved — but does a viewer, if given a choice, want to watch an Ad within the video. The proposition is that given the choice most viewers will prefer to choose to watch an Ad provided outside the video rather than automatically be given one at some point in the video. In other words, you watch a fun video about go cart racing that last three minutes, will you continue to watch an Ad for home refinancing at the end or just skip it? And if that Ad is at the beginning or middle will you unsubscribe from that feed? If the ad is off the side of the video and you have the choice to watch it or not, would you prefer that? My answer is that most people prefer the last choice and that’s where video on distributed networks will eventually be.

  4. enric Says:

    Chris Brogan:

    Currently you do not have a seperate play area on devices like iPods, mobile phones and such where supplementary items like Ads can appear. But you can position ads off the main video image area. If you size your video to not fill the screen text and small image and video ads can appear below the video (that would probably be the preferred area.) Such ads would actually be better placed to go along with relevant content in the main video rather than breaking it up at start, middle or end.

  5. Chris Brogan... Says:

    Hi Enric– but kind of tiny like? Especially iPod viewing. What if the ad were completely separate from the media, but rolled down the same pipe as the main product? Kind of like what AOL video or Yahoo video does. You get a little ad (usually for a car or something) and then the primary video. So, what if it were “in feed,” but not in any way touching your video?


  6. Enric Says:

    Chris Brogan:

    Yes, when it comes to advertising most viewers will prefer to select it rather than have it pushed on them. The distributed net allows viewer selection of ad viewing and most viewers will prefer that.

  7. Justin Rasmussen Says:


    This is the same battle from traditional media but now just for new media, ultimately you have to find a level playing ground for both the consumer and the advertiser. It is the advertiser that pays the bill but it is also the consumers who drive traffic and enable you to have advertisers. Consumers hate commercials but as of late consumers are not flocking to pay for content and how hard would it be as a consumer to decide what content to pay for and which ones not to pay for. We are no longer bound by time schedules in order to consume our media it is completely asynchronous which then adds another problem for some potential advertisers. I agree with Chris that ads must be placed in the video itself in order to gain maximum exposure through multiple directories and venues.

  8. enric Says:

    Justin Rasmussen:

    The battle is similar, but the battlefield has changed. Instead of a one to many, top down system, the net is a distributed, many to many, asynchronous area. Some sites like Galacticast are receiving more money in viewer paid sponsorship than ad revenue.

    A personal example is I really like the TV show “Heroes” and missed the last two weeks. So I watched them on the Heroes website the last two episodes. I became annoyed with the hair commercial that repeated on the first episode. At one pont the clickable link that flashed in and out on my lcd monitor continued into the show (an error in how it worked.) And then in the second episode the Direct TV commercial take off on Back to the Future repeating became more annoying to me.

    Now if there were multiple links on the page next to the video to independent and mainstay comic books (DC, Marvel, etc.) I would mostly likely click on one or more of them. I would quite likely spend time on their sites and could very well order a comic book. And I would find that a satisfying experience.

  9. dr3w Says:

    I have been posting videos to the internet since around 2000… first through the indymedia networks and once blogging came around i began using rss to better syndicate. i have somewhat followed the threads around advertising on the videoblogging list, and certainly have been seeing more ads at the end of peoples videos online…. i think the disconnect between ad content and video content is to be expected and not worth belaboring. lets face it advertising sucks! its annoying and insulting… and it feeds the culture of consumerism. I want the internet to be a viable platform for non-commercial communication… a radical departure from what we know. videoblogging is a frontier, in that sense. If I wanted to see ads for shit that i dont need or want, i would go… well… anywhere else. thats why, i have taken a personal stance against it despite the fact that i am an unfunded vlogger, so to speak… ANY ad at the end of a piece is still an ad.
    -against capitalism; for people.

  10. Enric Says:

    Since some on here and the videoblogging group have the view that “advertising is evil.” I want to state I don’t share that philosophy. Advertising is essential in informing on the talent and capability one wants to exchange with someone else’s products of talent. It can be missused and my point is that putting ads in the main video stream is mainly a missuse.