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People Don’t Like Being Interrupted: Why Demand for Ads on Streaming Services Is Falling

The main challenges for marketers and businesses inside a society less and less willing to be interrupted to watch an ad.

ads on streaming

A few weeks ago my family and I got together for a special lunch, and at one point my sister wanted to show us a video she had watched a few days ago on social media. It wasn’t a big deal, but it demanded our attention. 

My father, mother, niece, brother-in-law and I were very focused on her phone, waiting for the end of the video – and then, suddenly, we were surprised by a loud and flashy ad for a delivery app (which, unsurprisingly, was already installed on my sister’s phone).

We were so scared that none of us were curious to finish the video – we got distracted talking about how this type of ad breaks, often suddenly, a good user experience. 

I was not surprised, therefore, by the result of the GroupM study, which asked users of streaming platforms the following: “If this meant a lower monthly bill for your streaming services, how likely are you to accept having to watch commercials?”.

What data shows

The result of the previous survey indicated that about 76% of respondents were more willing to watch the commercials, against 73% of the most recent one.

While it’s only a subtle dip, it can indicate the obvious consumer behavior that I was already feeling back on that day with my family: people hate interruptions.

And that delivery app ad made me think that society is becoming less tolerant of ads, but a poor user experience with an ad can be guilty for bad sales and bad conversion results.

This is something that we’ve known for quite some time, actually: in 2017 The CMO Survey said that nearly 3 out of every 4 social media users (74%) think there are too many ads.

Another poll said that 69% of U.S. adults said they think ads on streaming services are repetitive; 79% are bothered by that experience.

It is possible to say that no one likes to be interrupted, and with several entertainment options that we find in the palm of our hand, it is likely that fewer and fewer people are willing to subject themselves to this.

 And if those responsible for the ads aren’t aware of it, it could be the reason a user doesn’t watch a video until the end, they stop listening to a podcast, or even the reason a user unsubscribes from a subscription to streaming that, even with payment, insists on having commercials before and during its content.

Why marketers should pay attention to that

In addition to the current challenges of content production itself (after all, platforms like TikTok have gained space and challenged advertising for professionals around the world), marketers and businesses must be aware of each stage of advertising production – and not just the script for a commercial or the results it generated.

User behavior should guide the creative process of your ad, much more than the budget you have to invest. 

Talking to my peers responsible for performance in their respective roles and considering a few years of experience with this, I found some things in common when it comes to “Is it possible to advertise while promoting a great experience?. I’ve selected a few ideas about it to share below.

Is it possible to advertise while promoting a great experience?

Well, for me and my colleagues, the answer is of course. And it’s not impossible either! The things we truly believe all advertisers should consider for a good user experience while developing an ad are:

1. Storytelling

Even when investing in short dance videos or image transitions between products for your ad, it is possible to tell a small story or establish a connection with the user. Research the best way to do this and make sure you connect your product or service objectively.

2. Where will it be displayed?

There are several professionals who use the reach and engagement provided by the data of the ad platforms themselves to define the best channels, schedules and targeting. It’s true that we still need to consider this, but try to think about whether your audience would be watching that movie, tutorial, or even if the viewer wasn’t necessarily your audience, but could somehow connect with them.

3. At what time will the video be broadcast?

At the beginning, middle or end: you need to consider the content of the video to know the best time to present it. Be sure to remember that no one likes to be interrupted, but that there are contents that are worth the interruption.

4. Carefully analyze partnerships that serve ads even on paid plans

This generates results, it is quite possible. But do you consider the frustration of a paying user of a platform when faced with an ad? Always check that the potential gains are worth the possible expenses.

5. Reflect: is this the best way to reach my audience?

Listening to a podcast the other day, I was reminded of when I was a kid and I would hear ads in between the morning news. 

But I soon noticed the evolution of the format: while talking about the growth of Brazilians taking on remote jobs in international companies, they suggested an English course for those who still don’t feel confident to invest in a career in these companies. And with a discount, for those who are listeners. 

I believe this is a great way: connecting your product or service in a coherent, contextual and friendly way to your ad.

Therefore, I believe that it is always possible to offer a good user experience – and pay attention to the signs (and surveys!) that point to a good path, according to the events of society and the evolution of your brand or business. 

Products appearing in series, cars used in movies, various services being used in soap operas, brands sponsoring contests on reality shows… they are all examples of advertising, but they are inserted in a context that is unlikely to be the target of user aversion. Don’t you agree?

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