With a major snow storm about to hit the Northeast, many folks like myself are probably using the web to check out the latest forecast on Weather.com. The site is a treasure trove for anyone who really wants to check out the storm from all angles and there are already dozens of storm related videos available. As a result, I've checked out close to ten videos and each time, the site delivered me the same thirty second pre-roll add from pajamagram.com.
For content owners like Weather.com and others, examples like this highlight one of the many major problems with online video advertising. If a site like Weather.com that produces professional content, has a well known brand and has a large reach can't sell enough ad inventory, how can content owners ever expect to make any money online? Making matters worse, a site like Weather.com has a HUGE advantage over other sites in that they already know my zip code and could be delivering me ads that are tailored to my area. But that's not happening either.
While this is a problem that the online video space has been suffering from for years, why hasn't it gotten any better? Why isn't there more inventory and targeting taking place? What's the hold up? Every time I bring up this issue many who work in the online video ad platform space keep saying that they are already doing targeting or that their platforms support targeting, but clearly it's not taking place with content owners. I always ask for examples of sites that are doing this but don't get any. Makes you wonder if all these ad platforms can really deliver targeted, personalized ads.
While I do think ad platforms can determine what ads you have already seen and deliver you a different one, the fact this is not happening on Weather.com or CNN.com shows that even with the technology, the inventory is not there. For all the talk of how online video advertising is going to help content owners monetize their content, it's not happening on a major scale and won't until the user experience is much, much better.
Simply saying we need more inventory and better targeting to make online video advertising successful is not something people don't already know. I'm not making some profound statement that others have not though of. But in the past three years or so, I can't think of anything regarding on the online video advertising space that has gotten better. What's improved? Maybe the size of the ad window, but the quality of the ads is pretty poor, targeting is not there, the inventory is limited and the industry still has absolutely no video ad standards. I can't think of one aspect of the business that has improved the user experience in the past few years. Can you?