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Study by Akamai Technologies bares effectiveness of online video ads

Ike Suarez | Jan. 3, 2014
Research results to help providers monetise today’s Internet killer app

Online video is today the killer application of the Internet and the cloud services provider Akamai Technologies has released results of a scientific study to help video providers monetise the medium by way of an ad-based model.

A press statement by the Massachusetts-based vendor said the study, published late 2013, is titled, "Understanding the Effectiveness of Video Ads: A Measurement Study," available online at

The study analysed a total of 367 million videos and 257 million ads from over 3000 publishers that were viewed by 65 million unique users worldwide, according to the statement.

Leader of the study was Dr. Ramesh K. Sitaraman, Akami fellow and computer science professor at UMass-Amherst. Co-author was S.S. Krishnan of Akamai Technologies.

Unique, In-depth

"This study is unique in that it goes above and beyond  tracking and comparing completion rates, and rather takes on an in-depth look at when viewers complete watching video ads and when they abandon them," said Dr. Sitaraman.

Some of the study's key findings were the following:

  • The position of an ad has the single largest impact on completion rate, with a mid-roll add 18.1 % more likely to be complete than the same ad as a post-roll.
  • Repeat visitors to a site have higher completion rates for ads on that site than one-time visitors to that site
  • Viewers are more tolerant of video ads, than of slow moving videos. Viewers who must wait 10 seconds for their video to load are three times more likely to abandon than users who spend the same amount watching a pre-roll add.
  • Ads that play within long content such as TV episodes and movies complete at a higher rate (87%) than those that play in short form content such as news clips and sports highlights (675).
  • Time of day and day of week do not substantially affect ad completion

The research paper cited an earlier study by Cisco Systems saying that more than half of consumer Internet traffic  at present is related to videos and such percentage is expected to go beyond 85% in 2016.

The ad-based model, where viewers do not pay a fee, but are shown ads placed in-stream in the videos' contents, is among possible models for monetising online video, according to the research paper.

It defined "mid-roll" ads as those placed in the middle of the video.

"Pre-roll" ads are those placed at the video's beginning and "post-roll" ads, at the video's end.

Akamai Technologies provides cloud services for online content and business applications.


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