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InSkin Media has launched a new tool for advertisers that want to make the most of online video, but will viewers like it?
Video advertising normally takes the form of pre-roll ads which are played before the start of the video, or in-stream ads such as the overlays which Google has opted to use on YouTube.
Pre-rolls and other ads which occur before or during the video in question can be very annoying to users. For instance, ITV’s online catch up TV service suffers from this problem, as users are forced to watch 30 seconds ads before and during the site’s video content. Understandable, but not ideal.
YouTube’s overlay ads are less intrusive than the ITV model, as they take up just 20% of the screen, yet they still interrupt the viewing experience.
So, has InSkin found a third, more user-friendly way?
According to CEO Patrick Knight the new format is the best way to keep publishers, advertisers and online video viewers happy:
"It’s the only ad format today that assures advertisers that consumers see their messages without annoying pre-roll or mid-roll interruptions. Marketers remain wary of pre-rolls going the way of banner blindness."
"Their keen awareness of viewer drop-off after 20 seconds already has forced them to significantly shorten their pre-rolls, but the shorter exposure also means less time to interact with the consumer."
InSkin’s ads wrap around videos like banner ads, and remain wrapped around the video when users select a full screen view.
Users can click on elements of the ad, which can then display interactive elements, or video promos.
Once a user clicks on an ad the video they are watching is paused, which they can start viewing again by closing the ad. As such, the system is somewhat interruptive.
The ads themselves can host a variety of features - videos, games, data capture, RSS feeds and links. Advertisers can track any kind of user interaction, to measure effectiveness and ROI.
The new ad format was launched today at adtech New York and UK publishers Emap and Dennis Publishing have signed up, to start offering InSkin's ad platform to advertisers.
It will be interesting to see how users react to the new ad format. Patrick Knight says that initial customer feedback has been positive, and the ads are certainly less annoying than pre-rolls, though some web users may object to being obliged to see the ad all the way through the videos they are watching.
We'll keep an eye on it. In the meantime, what do you think? Is interruption a byword for advertising? Should users be able to ignore ads when watching 'free' content? Is online video advertising going to become the biggest of deals?