Video Essentials

Three Online Video Advertising Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

A bomb went off in the online video advertising world a few weeks back, when Digiday Daily published an article called “The Wild West of Online Video Ads,” by Mike Shields. Advertisers often aren’t getting what they paid for with online video ads, the article, stated, giving several examples of deceptive ad placements.

The article singles out Blinx and Jambo (owned by Undertone Networks) as the worst offenders, showing ads in poor locations and on pages that have nothing to do with the products being marketed.

Here are three ways that advertisers are being tricked by ad networks:

Screensaver Showings
London-based Blinkx is cited as “the most egregious example” of deceptive ad practices by the Digiday Daily article. It shows video ads on screensavers populated with cat videos, often when no one is at the computer. While Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake alleges, “Our ads only run when a person is watching the screensaver,” the article makes clear that they run when the computer is idle and no one is watching.

Video Low on the Page
Ads that play “below the fold,” meaning low on the page, are another deceptive practice. Advertisers want their ads to be visible as soon as a page loads. Videos that require scrolling to view are a wasted impression, especially when combined with the next pitfall:

Video that Starts Playing by Itself
Autoplay videos begin as soon as a page is loaded, and give ad networks an easy way to boost their numbers. The viewer may well not want to see the video and may click to stop it immediately. The rules of online video ads are still being written, the article notes, and many in the industry defend the use of autoplay.

To prevent your company from spending on worthless ads, look for networks that can prevent ads from running below the fold. Also, ask for digital tearsheets so that you can see exactly where your ads are running.

To learn more about the problem, watch this interview with Toby Gabriner, president of (video courtesy of

“It’s an article that we’ve been waiting to have come out for a long time,” says Gabriner, who compares the situation to the early standards-free days of online display advertising. “Buyers need to have better visibility into what they’re buying,” he adds.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Double Click and Adap.t! The great news is: Online Video has finally made it to this point. Great follow up on the original, “Wild West of Online Video Ads.”

    Posted by VideoAFX | July 6, 2011, 6:24 am
  2. Thanks for sharing the interview. Toby is talking about important issues. And he is right, the problems are being solved now and the video ads market will be more structured and developed soon.

    Posted by AdexVi | July 18, 2011, 5:30 am
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