APN embraces auto-play with new video ad unit

For some consumers, auto-play video is an annoyance that has them searching for the x or mute buttons. For many publishers, it’s a good way to tap into the rise of online video, which, according to the IAB’s numbers for the last quarter, has increased its share in New Zealand from 12 percent to 17 percent YoY (with a total of $120 million last quarter, that equates to around $20 million). And APN is aiming to get a bigger slice of that pie with the launch of In-Read video, a new advertising unit that shows video within its editorial environments. 

  • Check out an example here

In Australia, there’s been a fair bit of discussion about auto-play ads, with Fairfax coming under fire a few years back. At the time, Pippa Leary, manager director of media for Fairfax Digital defended the use of autoplay videos, telling Mumbrella “the majority of users prefer them to start automatically and have the option to stop them, rather than the other way round”. Media agency UM disagreed and banned running clients’ ads across Fairfax Media’s video network because they were “annoying users and making them hostile to advertisers” (the disdain for auto-play among some consumers can be seen in the creation of ad blockers dedicated to stopping them and comments from Facebook users about recent changes to its mobile newsfeed).

But APN says this ad unit is different and more reactive as the video begins playing once the reader scrolls down to 50 percent of the ad unit and the sound switches on once a user scrolls over the video. It only counts as an impression once the video starts playing so APN says “advertisers can be confident their creative is being seen by a human”. The video also pauses when readers scroll past it and disappears after completion. 

APN says its existing video ad inventory, largely pre-roll, is all booked, so this new option means they can play TVCs, movie trailers, product demonstrations or other long-form video content without being connected to its existing video content (either provided to APN or created by it). 

“Video is a major part of our future. 80 percent of internet users can recall watching a video ad in the last 30 days and coupling that with the Herald’s 1.2 million visitors every week this is a major development for advertisers,” says Spencer Bailey, general manager of digital at APN and recently appointed chair of the IAB. 

Overseas, many other publishers like Forbes and The Economist offer similar ad options. 

Fairfax uses a mouse-over auto play with a five second delay. 

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