The Impacts of Skip Option and Time Display on Viewer Response to In-Stream Video Ads: The Role of Perceived Control and Reactance

Abstract: The primary purpose of the current study is to examine how the presence of two digital ad features—an ad skip option and ad time display, representing behavioral and cognitive control respectively, impact viewer response to in-stream video ads in terms of perception of control, reactance and advertising outcomes. A 2 (Skip option: skippable vs. non-skippable) × 2 (Time display: presence vs. absence) between-subjects experiment was conducted online with a total of 217 participants recruited via Qualtrics panel. The results of the online experiment show that the presence of ad skip option and ad time display led to an increased level of perceived control, which predicted reduced ad intrusiveness and ad irritation, and more positive user attitude toward the ad, in sequence. The findings confirm that digital ad features such as a skip option and a time display could be effective tools to minimize negative responses to in-stream video ads by increasing the perceived control and reducing reactance of viewers. The study provides empirical evidences demonstrating that multiple dimensions of control feature (i.e., behavioral and cognitive) can contribute to users’ perception of being in control and its potential impact on advertising outcomes.