I was recently asked to provide my thoughts on the topic of autoplay video ads.
1) What are your thoughts on publishers using autoplay video on their websites (home pages as well as individual article pages)?
Autoplay can be beneficial in some use cases and problematic in others. It is highly dependent on the situation and the contextual relevance to the topic.
When done well, autoplay ads can enhance the content experience. In general, I like to give the consumer the opportunity to opt-in to video ads through highly relevant content that they will want to engage with.
2) Does your opinion change if it’s a big-name publisher such as an ESPN or CNN versus a more mid-tier publication?
A number of the big-name publishers have trained their user base to expect autoplay content experiences. If the brand marketer looking to advertise with ESPN has a close association with a league, athlete or simply wants to target the publishers viewers with relevant content then it might make sense depending on the core objective.
Mid-tier publications can be highly relevant and perform well but again it comes back to the audience and their behaviors. The more that you can align behavioral and attitudinal data to support the contextual targeting process the easier it is to align with a publisher be it a big-name or mid-tier.
3) Does your opinion change if the autoplay video in the article is relevant to the article itself?
Yes, the more contextually relevant the autoplay video is to the article itself, the more comfortable I am in making an autoplay recommendation for my brand partners.
4) Are you wary of making buys with publishers that utilize autoplay?
I am not wary of making buys with publishers that utilize autoplay in the right situation. Take a lesson from the platforms as an example. Facebook employs autoplay and what we have done is understand how consumers engage with the ads, in this case the autoplay starts without sound.
How we engage consumers across publishers and platforms can differ so it’s about understanding how to leverage autoplay ads to best align and connect with the consumer, whether that’s adding text calls to action via subtitles to drive a subsequent action, or simply having highly compelling creative to create a thumbstopping experience on an ad.
5) Are there concerns when it comes true measurement of viewership when it’s autoplaying both ads and content?
The key here is understanding that viewership is not apples to apples across publishers and platforms. With Facebook we expect 3 seconds to be a view, with YouTube it’s 30 seconds and Snapchat it’s 1 second, but the latter two are based on user opt-in. As long as we set expectations about what a view is on a given platform, we can better manage client expectations and map campaign goals with the best practices of the publishers.
Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360