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Auto-Play Heyday: Over 60% of Publishers Auto-Play Most Video Ads

Publishers know the audience hates it, but they also know it means guaranteed views so they do it anyway The topic is auto-play video. According to fresh data from advertising intelligence company MediaRadar [1], over 60 percent of digital publishers auto-play at least half of their video ads.

That figure comes from MediaRadar’s latest trend report, which analyzed 63,000 video ads that played in the first half of this year. The company found that 31 percent of publishers auto-play 75 percent or more of their on-site ad inventory; 30 percent auto-play between 50 and 75 percent of their video ads; and 39 percent auto-play half or less of their ads.

Looking for trends, MediaRadar finds auto-play use remarkably consistent—and omnipresent:

“Among these three segments of sites that have embraced auto-play video ads, there is no broad shift happening, where websites are reducing their dependency on auto-start video inventory,” says Todd Krizelman, CEO and co-founder of MediaRadar. “In fact, we see exceptionally low variance month-to-month. Most sites have chosen a model and stayed with it consistently in 2017. Also, it’s important to note that there isn’t one singular type of media company that supports auto-start ads. They’re everywhere, almost.”

This could all change in the near future, however. As mentioned, auto-play isn’t popular with the browsing public, and Google and Apple have both recently announced features that will limit auto-play. In April, Google showed a Chrome feature that lets users block auto-play video on desktop and mobile, while Apple showed a similar Safari feature in June.

MediaRadar finds auto-play use most common on sites that rely on programmatic advertising, as well as on business-to-business sites or those targeted to a particular niche.

While Google’s upcoming moves around auto-play or other intrusive ads could disrupt the industry, MediaRadar notes that most publishers are so far taking a wait-and-see approach.