Online video’s star is rising

The widespread acceptance of online advertising means that marketers should explore ways of using video clips to break through the clutter and positively influence perceptions of their brand

It is no surprise that most people prefer less advertising to more. But what may come as a surprise are the varying perceptions about the different types of advertising from people across the UK, Europe and the US. Dynamic Logic’s latest AdReaction survey gauges consumers’ general perceptions about various media and how they perceive specific online advertising formats.

The research, based on 2,308 people surveyed online across the US, UK, Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Germany, shows that relevancy is an important driver in how people feel about advertising channels. In every market, consumers felt that newspaper (58percent very or somewhat relevant), magazine (56percent), billboard/out-door (53percent) and TV (52percent) ads are the most relevant.

In all markets, survey respondents said that TV ads were their favourite.

Online advertising and search both fell in the middle of the other media listed with only one in four people (26percent) rating online advertising as very or somewhat positive. This opinion about online ad formats may be partly due to people’s annoyance with pop-up ads and their perceived clutter about the medium.

The majority of respondents also said they felt that the amount of online advertising had increased over the past six months, with high percentages for all countries – UK 71percent, Italy 75percent, Spain 66percent, Germany 78percent, France 69percent and the Netherlands 72percent. Specifically in the US, where this study had been conducted in previous years, the number of people who felt there was an increase in internet ads grew to 66percent from 57percent in 2005.

While the perception of online clutter is one that advertisers should be aware of, consumers appear to understand that there is a benefit to them.

Advertising allows much of the content accessible via the internet to be free. Most respondents agreed that a certain number of “intrusive” ads is acceptable in return for free content, with two ads per hour being the magic number when asked how many “over-content” ads would be appropriate.

Online ad formats provoke a wide range of opinions. Less intrusive and some of the newer online ad formats were among those most favoured by consumers. One clear trend that emerged was the impact of online video ads across all markets.

While banners were still among the most popular online ad format, online video ads ranked near the top of the list in every market. Respondents in Italy (38percent), Spain (33percent) and Germany (29percent) had the highest opinions of online video ads, being “very” or “somewhat” positive. None of the Dutch respondents were “very” positive at all, with only 15percent feeling “somewhat” positive about the online video ad formats. In fact, 54percent of those surveyed in the Netherlands were “somewhat” or “very” negative.

Marketers have a tremendous opportunity to reach their target audience through online video. As a result of the many similarities between online video and TV ads, online video could be used to get further leverage from the TV investment.

Previous research has shown that online video ads can break through the clutter and positively influence brand perceptions for marketers. Continuing to learn how video formats work best, including the optimal length, placement and frequency, will be important to maintaining positive perceptions and effectiveness around video.

Online video viewing figures are growing, and 70percent of internet users have watched video clips in every major European market, as well as in the US (83percent) and UK (76percent). Most people are watching video content online daily, with the Italians and Spanish leading the way at 90percent and 87percent respectively. This contrasts with the Dutch, who seem to be the least likely to watch online video content regularly, with 30percent having never watched a video clip on the internet.

Preferred online video advertising length varies. Respondents were asked that if they are watching a five-minute news clip or video online, what the appropriate length of a video ad they would be willing to watch if it were shown prior to the content they had selected to view. All users prefer short ads, but attitudes vary by country. Germans seemed to be more tolerant of longer video ads with 15percent willing to watch 30 seconds and 5percent 45 seconds or more while the French prefer much shorter ads with 67percent tolerating five seconds or less.

The opinion of advertising on social networking sites such as Facebook differs across Europe. The Dutch, Germans and French least like advertising on these sites, with 34percent, 29percent and 27percent respectively saying they dislike seeing the ads. The Italians are most open, with 23percent saying they like them and just 7percent saying they dislike them. The British and Americans have very similar views, 19percent for both disliking the ads, and 11percent and 10percent respectively liking them.

Christina Goodman, head of global marketing and business development, Dynamic Logic contributed this week’s Trends Insight

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