Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How to (Almost) Guarantee Your Web Video Ad Gets Watched

Hey, advertisers: Want to get a Web video watcher to see your commercial?

Don’t put it at the beginning of a video clip. Wait until they’re already watching something, and then run your ad.

That advice comes from a new study sponsored by Akamai, which argues that viewers are most likely to complete “mid-roll” ads. In fact, Akamai argues, they’re almost always willing to sit through those ads, presumably because they’ve already invested time in watching whatever they’re watching:

akamai pre-roll:mid-roll

But maybe the reason people are more likely to watch mid-roll ads is because they’re generally in longer clips, so the viewer has more reason to stick around. Reasonable assumption, right?

But Ramesh K. Sitaraman, the UMass-Amherst computer-science professor who conducted the study using Akamai’s data, said he’s gone ahead and tried to control for different types of content, different lengths of ads and different kinds of viewers.

Even then, he said, viewers are 18 percent more likely to finish a mid-roll ad than a pre-roll.

One other interesting data point from the Akamai study, which has a lot of them: When it comes to watching ads, it really doesn’t matter what time of day people are watching Web videos, or if they’re watching them on weekdays or on weekends — they’re just as likely to make it through or bail out:

akamai time of day


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik