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For a few years now, Pre-Roll has reigned king in the online video space, but there has been a recent burst of creativity and interest in rich media in the video stream. On AdoTube's network alone, interactive ads have grown to account for 48% of all ads served in the last quarter. While the standard pre-roll is an important branding tool, based on research we have been conducting, we are seeing that in-video interactive advertising formats are extremely effective at capturing a highly engaged viewer's attention and click. Our research is based on a sample of AdoTube's network including over 5,000 publishers and 1.9 Billion impressions, and while it is not a perfect sample, we do believe that this can be used as a good indicator of overall trends.
Viewers Like Ads if They Are Engaging
Interactivity has been mostly missing from the in-video experience, and thus the opportunity to capture an audience focused on the video stream has been missed. One of our many findings was that overall engagement rates for interactive in-video advertisements over the past two years average out to around 21.6%. That means about 1 in 5 viewers actively engage with these ads. This is about the same level of engagement as Mobile Rich Media Advertisements and far higher than a generic rich media expandable ads, which have a 6-7% engagement rate on average, according to Mashable. Watching web video can be very different from traditional TV. Web video watchers are generally much more engaged, and thus if an ad is an experience that can be interacted with, the ad is going to be more measurably effective.
Viewers Don't Dislike Pre-Rolls They Dislike Not Having a Choice
Viewers don't dislike Pre-Rolls they just dislike the fact that they have no choice in the matter. This is why the Ad Selector model that Hulu publicly adopted has proven so effective, and why it is already a standard format. One of our innovations that puts choice back into the users hands is the Polite Pre-Roll® a retractable, skippable pre-roll, which we've been running for over a year now.
One of the selling points with Standard Pre-Rolls is that they force a message upon viewers, but based on our studies, when given a choice to close out of the Polite Pre-Roll®, nearly the same amount of viewers will watch it all the way through. In fact, on average, over the last year since our retractable Polite Pre-Roll® was created, only about 5% more viewers watched a Standard Pre-Roll all the way through versus the Polite Pre-Roll®. Additionally, in strict A/B Testing, we found that the Polite Pre-Roll® actually receives a slightly higher View-Thru Rate than its counterpart. This is on top of a 36% lower drop-off rate, which is good for publishers. So, as much as consumers hate ads, if given a choice to opt-out many don't. Google/YouTube with all its data understands the power of this choice, which is why it recently began offering its own version of a skippable pre-roll unit.
Diversified Formats Leads to Higher Click-Throughs
Diversity is extremely important for both advertisers and consumers in the video stream, which is why in-video rich media ads are so important. The Pre-Roll is not going away. One unit will not win out over all others, and that's the wonderful part about web video. The user, the advertiser, and the publisher are not stuck with only one type of ad unit. In practice, when we started our major push to diversify beyond Pre-Roll units, Click-Through Rates shot up tremendously, increasing 237% over 2009 to nearly 2% on average. While Click-Through Rates are not the ultimate measurement of an advertisements success it can be a good indicator that the advertisement is working and driving leads.
Steven Jones is Chief Strategy and Operations Officer of AdoTube (www.AdoTube.com), a complete in-stream/in-video solution that enables each part of the industry (agencies, advertisers and publishers) to have easy and efficient access to in-stream ads.
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