View Vs. Do And The New YouTube Ad Format

13 08 2008

It’s no secret that banner ads have distressingly low click-through rates.

The question is, why?

Allow me to share a pet theory of mine that I call “View Vs. Do”.

TV is a “view” medium: “I’ve got some time to kill, let’s see what’s on”.

The Internet is a “do” medium: “I’ll check the scores on ESPN, return some emails, and post to my blog.”

At my company, we’ve often seen higher click-throughs and actions taken from random banner ads on CNN than from banner ads on places where we instintively know our consumers want to do something. I believe it’s because when people are task-focused, even an interesting ad gets ignored because “it’s not what I’m doing right now”.

If that’s true, the ideal web audience may be one that’s sitting on its keester not really doing anything but clicking around looking for interesting stuff. And that may be the YouTube audience.

That’s why I’m excited about the new YouTube ad format. If it works the way I think it will, I’d expect to see greater engagement and higher click-throughs from video ads here than almost anywhere else. This may be one of the web’s first significant “view” destinations, with TV-like receptivity to good ads.

Let’s hope so. We need sight, sound and motion to sell.


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2 responses

13 08 2008
Mike Chapman

This makes total sense. I have a laboratory I use to watch these things. Actual people…especially the teenagers living in my house…and me. View v. Do, I like it.

13 08 2008
tjcnyc

Thanks, Mike. And I totally agree about using your house as the lab. I can learn more — and feel that more viscerally — from watching real people surf the web for awhile than from digging into web analytics. I love data, but there’s nothing quite as revealing as real-life observation.

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