In its latest online advertising play, AOL launched video ticker ads, following BrightCove and YouTube with an interactive advertising system that serves as an alternative to preroll ads.
Developed in conjunction with PointRoll, AOL's video ticker is essentially a graphic banner ad that is integrated within a streaming video but does not obstruct viewing. The ads will run across the AOL Network of video content within the newest version of the AOL Video media player platform.
"With these ads, advertisers can target users who are consuming video with a clickable video or an interactive Flash ad, creating a deeper, longer brand dialogue that isn't passive," Curt Viebranz, president of AOL's Platform-A, said in a statement.
Rather than overlaying an ad and obstructing the view of a video, AOL's video ticker ad appears at the bottom of the video player 10 seconds into the video stream.
When consumers click on the ticker, it expands to launch a video ad or an interactive Flash ad within the video player window. Meanwhile, the video pauses. If the user does not interact with the ad, it dissolves after 15 seconds, leaving the branded text link. Clicking on the branded text link will relaunch the ticker.
"The consensus, based in part on research, is that viewers don't like prerolls. So we may see versions of this format become one of the standards used in video advertising," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "This is quite different from prerolls because even though you have a fuller ad that sits behind the ticker, the user has to take action by clicking. So there's a greater burden on the marketer."
Power of Video Ads
Whatever the format, there is little question that video ads are here to stay. According to a recent survey by TNS Research, 78 percent of respondents agreed that online video ads provide at least as good an opportunity to learn about an advertiser as TV does.
And 64 percent said that they have taken some action after seeing an online video ad. In addition, 41 percent of those surveyed stated that after they see a brand featured in an online video ad, they are more likely to think of that brand as having a strong presence on the Internet.
"Advertisers want to be in video content. More and more consumers are using the Internet as a TV alternative. There's a lot of people who spend time watching a lot of video online," Sterling said. "Broadcasters or publishers definitely want ads to reach those consumers. But it's unclear whether this form of advertising is going to be appealing."
In addition to introducing the new advertising system, AOL announced a revamped media player platform that introduces several new social features and a new development framework that is designed to make adding new features easier.