36% say ad repeats are the biggest frustration with ad-supported viewing
Only 15% of ad campaigns deliver three or more ad repeats. Unfortunately, new Penthera data shows that is enough to frustrate many ad-supported streaming viewers and push them to stop using the offending service.
Are ad repeats under control?
My Inside the Stream podcast partner Will Richmond wrote about the dissonance between the viewer experience of ad repeats in video services versus the industry’s position on the problem. Briefly, the industry believes it is addressing the problem with rate capping, but people still see too many ad repeats. A new report by Innovid studying the problem found that the average ad campaign saw a repeat frequency of 4.6 per viewer. 85% saw only light repeats (1-2), 14% saw medium frequency (3-9), and 1% saw high frequency (10 or more.)
The Innovid findings might give the industry solace that the problem is exaggerated. After all, most campaigns only deliver 1 to 2 ad views. However, new data from Penthera suggests there are still far too many campaigns driving viewers crazy with ad repeats.
But perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves. Before we look at viewer tolerance for ad repeats, we should assess how many people it affects.
Ad-supported viewing popular with older, younger adults
According to the 1000 US adults in the Penthera June 2021 survey, 54% said ad-free SVOD services are what they watch most often. The popularity of ad-free viewing is highest among 25 to 44-year-olds and lowest among the over-45s. 30% said they watch ad-supported content most often. Ad-supported viewing is most popular among the 18-24s and over-45s.
The least-watched TV source by all age groups is live TV, with only 16% saying they watched it the most. Just 6% of 18 to 24-year-olds say they watch live TV most often. The percentage increased as the age range increased, with, unsurprisingly, the highest percentage of 55 to 64-year-olds saying they watch it the most.
Ad repeats: biggest frustration, biggest threat to ad-supported viewing
Penthera asked the survey group what frustrated them most about the ad experience. Given the antipathy for ads many people have, we might have expected the ad load to be the biggest issue. However, ad repeats were the most cited frustration, with 36%. 30% said they saw too many ads. In the 18 to 44 age group, there was a 10+% difference between those frustrated by ad repeats and ad load.
More worrying for ad-supported service providers is the potential impact of the repeats. Content may be king, but if there are too many ad repeats, it doesn’t matter. Penthera asked survey participants what would make them stop using an ad-supported video service. Annoying or repetitive ads was the most cited issue with 43%. A poor experience (slow video starts or rebuffering) was the second most cited (40%,) and dissatisfaction with the content was third (39%.)
Ad repeat problem far from fixed
The Penthera data puts Innovid’s conclusions in a different light. Most campaigns may only generate one or two ad views, but the rest are spoiling the experience and damaging the value of ad-supported viewing for everyone involved. If 15% of campaigns deliver three or more ad views and the viewer sees all of the repeats in a single episode of 3rd Rock From the Sun, the viewer has every reason to be frustrated. And the data shows the situation occurs often enough that almost 2 in 5 consider ad repeats the biggest frustration with their ad-supported viewing.
My testing of various FAST services for a forthcoming white paper on the industry seems to confirm how frequently ad repeats occurred. However, I saw the same ad repeated multiple times across channels and services to be very annoying. In some cases, the repeats occurred back-to-back in the same ad break!
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July 21, 2021 at 03:55PM