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One of the key findings of a new survey conducted by Millward Brown is that out of all the types of video ad targeting on the market, consumers are least receptive to ads that target their browsing history.

Forty-one percent of people who responded to the survey said they were most receptive to targeted video ads based on their stated interests. Forty percent were receptive to targeted ads based on brands they had already expressed a liking for. Only 25 percent said they were comfortable with ads that use data gathered (or purchased) from the places they’ve visited on the Web.

Web browsing data is generally gathered after a publisher, or a third party, drops a cookie into the browser of a site’s visitor. The cookie, which is just a bundle of html code, collects data and reports on the sites the user has visited. Advertisers often can use cookies to follow the user around the Web, displaying the same ad to the user wherever they might go. And cookies are sometimes difficult to get rid of, including in mobile platforms.

Connected TV and programmatic video expert Christina Beaumier was not surprised by the survey’s finding.

“Many audience targeting companies only have one tool – retargeting based on web behavior,” Beaumier said in an email to VentureBeat. “As the saying goes, ‘if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’”

Beaumier, who is a VP at the programmatic ad company Xaxis, believes that browser-tracking data isn’t the only way to target relevant ads. Really good ad content may be a more powerful tool.

“For this, one does need many tools – tools to understand context, to understand creative, to understand consumer interests, mindsets, and their journey,” she said. “Getting audience targeting right is becoming more like art than science!”

Beaumier’s comments tally with the high-level findings of the study. “While video is now available on myriad screens, applying TV thinking to digital content and placement is simply not acceptable, and consumers expect more from online advertisers,” said Millward Brown’s Duncan Southgate.

The top line of the Millward Brown findings is that consumers are now watching about the same amount of online video as they are watching traditional broadcast TV. The study found that globally, among multiscreen users ages 16-45, videos are viewed for more than three hours daily (204 minutes on average).

Many advertising people embrace the rise of online video because ad performance there is easier to track than on traditional TV.

Millward Brown said its study analyzes the multiscreen viewing behavior of more than 13,500 consumers in 42 countries.

Additional key findings:

  • Digital’s share of total video minutes is higher (56 percent) among 16-24 year olds and lower (43 percent) among 35-45 year olds.
  • Consumers feel that they have more control over digital ads than TV ads, with the majority believing the laptop gives them the most control (63 percent). This explains their irritation by online ad formats which fail to respect this control.
  • Skippable pre-rolls (34 percent favorability) and skippable mobile pre-rolls (31 percent) are viewed much more favorably than mobile app pop-ups (14 percent) and non-skippable pre-rolls (15 percent). The most popular ad format is mobile app reward videos (49 percent favorable).
  • Consumers are slightly more receptive to viewing video ads while at home (28 percent) vs. while at work (21 percent).

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