How Madison Avenue Is Turning the Web Into TV

The web has become a lot like TV in one respect: The vast majority of video ads on the internet are simply repurposed from TV.

A study by video-ad platform Vindico found that all but 2% of videos ads that flowed through its platform in 2011 consisted of repurposed creative from TV commercials as marketers look to extend their TV campaigns to online.

pre, post, mid roll

“I often say it’s like taking a banner ad and putting it on a billboard,” said Matt Timothy, Vindico’s president.

Site type

Obviously, original video ads are much more expensive to produce than display ads. For advertisers, it’s tough to invest in original video creative for the web when the plumbing is just getting laid to make large-scale buys anything less than a challenging exercise. However, Mr. Timothy sees promise in the fact that half of Vindico’s impressions delivered in 2011 were ad-served (vs. site-served), compared with 9% in 2010.

“Last year, the pipe was screwed in between publishers and advertisers,” Mr. Timothy said. “Innovation hasn’t really begun.”

The study also found that viewers tend to watch video ads to completion more often when they appear within longer-form video programming. Vindico found that the average completion rate for ads that appear within videos that run fewer than 10 minutes came in at 76%, compared with 88% for video clips that typically ran longer than 10 minutes. Not surprisingly, a viewer who has made the commitment to watch a long piece of content is more likely to consume an accompanying ad.

Performance by ad type

Vindico’s findings also touch on the hot topic of skippable ads. The research revealed that a decent percentage of online-video viewers ( 31%) chose to watch an ad to completion when given the option to skip, compared with an average of 77% for nonskippable ads. It remains to be seen if the 31% is enough to convince publishers that they can build a business model on the back of higher CPM rates for skippable ads that are watched to completion.

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