The other day I was on YouTube to watch the ‘Dune’ trailer for the 100th time but before I began, I was subjected to a rather tiresome ad for a breakfast cereal. Now don’t get me wrong, I love breakfast cereal as much as the next person but I don’t want to sit through an ad aimed towards kids before I can watch a trailer for a much-awaited sci-fi movie. However, despite my displeasure at having to watch video ads, I have to admit that I can see their appeal.
A video ad is more descriptive than a plain old static image and gives makers more room to express their creativity. Besides, it’s easier to insert more relevant details regarding your product or service in a video ad than it is with an image. After all, in today’s day and age, it’s no secret that most people prefer watching to reading. However, one definitive advantage that static ads have over video ads is that they’re much easier to ignore.
Think about it: how many times have you been annoyed at being forced to scroll past an image when you’re reading an informative article that has nothing to do with the ad? Granted, it may be quite a few times. However, think about how many more times you’ve been annoyed at sitting through video ads on YouTube and other platforms that you just can’t skip. We’d venture a guess and say that the number for the latter is much higher than it is for the former, and for good reason.
Reliable studies in recent years have shown that more than half of all internet users watch online videos every single day. So as you can see, from a brand’s point of view, making video ads may be cumbersome, but they certainly seem to reach a wide audience. Having a wide audience generally leads to a high click-through rate (CTR) and consequently, a high conversion rate. Unless, you know, that thing happens with the CTR number.
Statistics from Facebook and other widely-used platforms have shown that video ads often receive a greater positive engagement than traditional Display Ads that feature images. With platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, it’s easy to see why video ads generate a large amount of revenue for brands both big and small. Influencer Marketing or Social Media Marketing is all the rage now and unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years (if you were, I don’t blame you, it’s been a rough couple of years), you’d probably have seen models and other celebrities (the so called brand ambassadors) promoting products and services via their social media accounts.
Now, since I’ve been on Instagram for a while and have watched it go through various transformations, I can honestly say that I can see why video ads on the platform are popular, but I can’t say I enjoy them. The minute I see my favorite content creator post a video detailing their experience with some skincare product or diet supplement, my first instinct is not to get ‘influenced’ and buy the product, but to skip the ad and maybe unfollow them.
This may seem like an extreme reaction but I wouldn’t be surprised if most other viewers feel the same way. However, my distaste for video ads is not confined to ads on social media alone. I spend a lot of time on Duolingo trying to learn a language (and then forget about it for months, as we all do) and noticed that it recently started featuring ads after every lesson. Not only are these ads distracting, but they also play with the sound on and I’m unable to locate the tiny cross icon before the ad plays for its entire duration.
Truth be told, I don’t mind video ads on platforms like Duolingo that much simply because I value the service and ads are a small price to pay for what I’ve learned on it. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the ads I encounter on YouTube and other platforms that I access mainly for entertainment purposes. I wouldn’t mind these ads too much either if they didn’t have the sound on as soon as they started playing, though.
Static Ads on the other hand give viewers a basic idea of the product or service they’re promoting and don’t appear to be very intrusive. The main complaint I can think of concerning static ads is the content in these ads, not the ads themselves. For instance, I’d complain about how much space an image takes up on a webpage and how unimaginative the content it features is, but I wouldn’t complain too much about the presence of the ad on the page.
As I said earlier, this is mainly because these ads are easier to scroll past and ignore than video ads. Additionally, video ads contain more elements than static ads and can leave a bigger impression on viewers. Therefore, it logically follows that these ads take up more of your attention than images do. The more attention an ad requires, the less attention you have left in your attention span to give to the content you truly want to watch, which can get more than a little annoying over time.
All said and done, video ads do seem to have their fair share of merits and their resounding success over the years means they’re probably here to stay. However, if viewers are constantly made to feel like they’re forced to watch ads, they may begin to look upon the products or services in the ads unfavorably. Therefore, if brands are to take this into account, you can be sure that we’ll soon see some changes in the way various platforms on the internet float these ads.
If you’re a company looking for the best way to promote your products and are confused about whether to use video ads or static ones, the key here is to test as much as you can and see which of these works best for you based on the results.