Advertisers and content-sharing sites need to get their acts together and think about the people consuming their content.
Take for example: CNN.com videos. They want viewers to watch a 30-second advertisement before “ungating” the video you want to watch. In theory, this makes sense—give a little, take a little. It’s a traditional TV advertising paradigm. However, let’s have a closer look at some of the issues here…
Length of commercials isn’t congruent with the content you want to watch. CNN wants you to watch a 30-second commercial just to wait to see the content you’re really interested in, no matter the length of your desired content. For example, you might only want to watch a 15-second snippet, but CNN preempts that with a 30-second commercial. Is it really fair to ask someone to watch a commercial that’s longer than the content we desire to see?
You have to watch commercials every time you switch to see a different video. This is a pretty irritating concept. Once I’m finished watching one video, and desire to watch another, I’m presented with another commercial; often, it’s the same commercial I just watched previously. *YAWN* Retention and repetition in marketing is key, but not like this. At the very least, show me a different commercial (see next point about relevancy); ideally, only show me a commercial for every, for example, five videos I watch, and not every single one.
Commercials aren’t relevant to the content. Don’t show me a commercial about herpes medication when I’m trying to watch a bear fall out of a tree. How’s that relevant? At least show me a commercial featuring Smokey the Bear and U.S. Forestry… or a ‘Save the Bears’ ad. But herpes meds? Really? Not only am I now irritated (pun intended), but I’m also now cerebrally confused because I was prepared to watch a bear fall from a tree… and now I’m accidentally thinking about something entirely different… thereby devaluing the experience I was trying to have. In other words, I might not revisit CNN.com in the future because I was promised one thing, and got something very different. We’re creatures of expectations: you’re better off underpromising and overdelivering.
(By the way, this whole concept goes for non-video advertising, too. And while we’re at it, I hate those special ads that take over a whole webpage, while also making the little ‘X’ box to close the ad as difficult to find as possible. Yeah, I’m definitely going to buy your product now. Thanks for playing. You fail.)
Advertisers and content-distributors—basically everyone—need to wear their ‘customer lens‘ as often as possible to create consistent, valuable, relevant experiences.