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Most People Want to Be Rewarded After Watching an Ad Online

Some would rather pay than watch any ads at all

January 25, 2017

When people want to watch premium content online, most have two choices: either watch the ad or pay for the content. Most choose to watch the ad—but prefer to get something of value in exchange for doing so.

US Internet Users' Preference for Ad-Supported vs. Paid Access to Premium Digital Content, Summer 2016 (% of respondents)

Data from Nielsen Media Labs, commissioned by Jun Group, is based on three waves of research conducted during Summer 2016. An online panel of 1,200 US internet users were shown ad content with either native ad formats, pre-roll formats or a value exchange—such as an opt-in or rewarded video—and were then surveyed to assess engagement and effectiveness.

It's not surprising that a plurality of respondents prefer value-exchange offers—also known as rewards-based ads. In general, an ad is not something that particularly excites people. But if they have to watch ads to access premium digital content, more than half surveyed said they prefer to get something out of it.

What is surprising, though, is that over a quarter of internet users surveyed said they prefer ad supported content, meaning they have no problem watching the mandatory ads that auto-play before content. They likely don't mind because they're able to access premium digital content without having to pay for it. And many are OK with watching ads knowing that's the price they have to pay in order to access the premium content they want.

Fewer, 16% of internet users surveyed, said they would rather pay for content than have to see any ads.

A separate study by Nielsen and Newlio, commissioned by Limbik and LogoBar revealed that US digital video viewers aren't that fond of pre-roll ads. Indeed, when presented with a 15- and 30-second pre-roll ad, one in five respondents said they would simply close the video and stop watching it.

—Rimma Kats

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