Video Advertising Experiences Got More Annoying and More Frequent in 2021

Another year down, another year of many poor video advertising experiences for consumers. As an example, CBS Sports (and many others) auto-play two videos, on the same page, AT THE SAME TIME! How is a viewer supposed to watch and listen to two videos concurrently? Common sense says that’s a bad idea.

We’ve also seen way more pop-up ads in 2021 when it comes to overlays. And many times, the overlay ad on the website covers up part of the pre-roll ad in the video window. Dueling advertisements?! And yet for the most part, the streaming media industry doesn’t discuss these ad problems. Instead, many simply gush about all the growth in AVOD, without really addressing what matters most – personalization, measurement, formats, lack of CPM growth.

In 2007 I wrote a post entitled “The Five Biggest Technical Issues Hurting The Growth Of Online Video Advertising” and sadly, 13 years later, the industry is still struggling with these issues. In 2009, I wrote a post entitled “Is There A Shortage Of Online Video Advertising Inventory?“, highlighting the fact that viewers were getting the same ad delivered to them over and over again. And yet 11 years later, for many of the games I watched this year on MLB.TV I got the same ad inserted into the stream more than 25x during a single game. And that’s when the ad worked because almost 30% of the time, the ads didn’t trigger properly at all. In 2020, I wrote how I watched 43 videos on YouTube across 3 different channels and got a Microsoft Teams pre-roll commercial 28x, and a State Farm commercial 15x. Video advertising issues from as long as ten years ago are still many of the same issues we are struggling with today.

Ad platforms, ad exchanges, content aggregators, publishers etc. almost never share any actual data around what CPMs are and where they are trending, based on the type of ad, type of content and platform. They also don’t discuss any real details around ad personalization, percentage of ads skipped, best adoption of ad formats on specific platforms, ads that don’t trigger properly, ads formatted wrong based on device/platform or all of the other technical issues we have as an industry. Instead, it seems people just want to talk about the “growth” in AVOD, without even sharing many metrics around how growth is defined.

As an industry, we need real data shared so we can discuss video advertising problems, work towards solutions, set proper expectations and have a way to measure success, based on actual methodology. Without the industry coming together to do that in 2022, the new year is going to continue to bring a lot of poor video advertising experiences for us all.