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How Can We Make Pre-Roll Better

How Can We Make Pre-Roll Better

We know pre-roll well. It’s short, sweet, succinct, and effective. 

Standard pre-roll advertising simply shows a video clip that advertisers hope makes an impression. Pre-roll works. We see it everywhere. And there’s no negating that it’s more captivating than display or print.

As the digital world evolves, we still stand by pre-roll – there’s really nothing negative to say about it. But as viewing patterns change, marketers should embrace pre-roll all the same, but ask themselves, “how can we make pre-roll better?”

Since digital platforms, technologies, and devices have advanced and become more captivating, it’s becoming harder to garner the attention of viewers and impress. Bare pre-roll simply isn’t cutting it anymore. So, we’ve given it a make over the best way we know how – emerging formats. 

Emerging video formats look for ways to directly connect the viewer with the message. When done properly, pre-roll (connected with various graphics and engagement options) gets attention, increases view through and click through rates. 

Experience of Best Pre Roll Ad Agency

At Innovate Media, we’ve done an extensive amount of case studies comparing the performance of straight pre-roll vs. pre-roll with our customized emerging format and found that there is really no competition. The emerging format always wins, which is why the following info is so important. If you want your ad to do more than just be seen, then continue reading for a breakdown of our favorite video formats and how they perform in real time. 

Types of Emerging Video Formats

here are a plethora of video formats that will undoubtedly benefit your ads. But, we will spend most of our time discussing the two we’ve seen the greatest outcomes from – overlays and custom skins. Let’s start with those! 

1. Overlay
Overlay is a banner that plays on top of the given pre-roll, typically across the bottom of the frame. It adds a call to action on your ad in a non disruptive way. Overlays are valuable additions to pre-roll because they can give important information throughout the entire ad, such as show times, sales, or updates. Furthermore, all overlays are clickable and will take viewers to the advertised site. 

Essentially, overlay allows viewers to access the message in a more concise fashion, leaving a better impression on the viewer without delaying access to their desired content. 

Your overlay banner can include clickable content such as: 
“Learn More” – directs viewer to advertised site
“Watch Now” – directs viewer to full video
Geo location for brick and mortar stores or businesses
Product branding
Target by language or demo
Television/movie showtimes and dates 

2. Custom Skin
Custom skin is a dynamic background for pre-roll video. It works like this: the pre-roll video plays for five seconds with the overlay, then after 5 seconds the pre-roll shrinks into the screen and moves to the top right corner. After the pre-roll shrinks into the right corner it keeps playing and a full clickable image of the show/brand fills the rest of the screen as background until the pre-roll ends. Viewers can interact with your brand without interrupting the ad. This is a great way to show important information about your brand on a larger, more impactful scale.

You can use custom skin for greater brand recognition or as a way to draw viewers to your site or service with interactive features. 

So, what’s the point?
Well, now that you are informed about overlay and custom skin and how they work, the next step is seeing how they perform in real time. It would be selling these formats short to say that their only purpose to add complexity to the visuals of an ad. Therefore, we would like to show you how the aforementioned formats not only compliment pre-roll, but increase pre-roll’s KPI.

We will do this by showing you case studies of two ads we ran using each format. Let’s get into it!

Overlay Case Study

For our client Banner Health, we utilized overlay to move our audience past viewing into action. The goal of the campaign was to reach a spanish-speaking demographic and bring them to Banner Health’s website that was newly available in spanish. We planned to do this by creating and serving a simple single click overlay in the spanish language to keep it direct & to-the-point. 

To prove the overlay made a significant and valuable difference, we ran A/B testing between bare pre-roll and pre-roll accompanied by our custom made overlay. 

Pulling the data from the 30 second ads, we found that the lone pre-roll obtained a CTR of .45% while the overlay pre-roll obtained a CTR of 1.72%, which amounted to a total of 14,345 clicks! 

It worked like magic. We can definitely say we reached our clients goal. And we continue to do that with our other formats as well. 

Custom Skin Case Study

Using our custom skins, we ran an ad with our client, Wholly Guacamole. Though it may seem self explanatory, the goal of the ad was to bring awareness to their product. Our plan of action was to create a custom skin that highlighted a save now and coupon opportunity, including video and clickable links.

To prove our format was superior in interactive performance, we ran A/B testing to accurately compare data. Our results were incredible, just as we expected. The standard pre-roll without the use of custom skin had a video completion rate of 78.2% on a 15 second ad, and 73.3% on a 30 second ad. Our interactive custom skin pre-roll ad, beat the former by more than 10% on each length, performing at a 88.6% on the 15 second ad, and a 84.6% on the 30 second ad. 

So when it comes down to the effectiveness of custom skin, there’s no debate it’s the route to take when advertising via video. 

And since we’re talking about making pre-roll better, we thought we’d include another tool your campaign can utilize to make your pre-roll better – long form Youtube ads. You’re going to want to read ahead for this bonus tip!

Long Form TrueView

Though long form TrueView ads on Youtube aren’t necessarily an emerging format, they are another amazing way to transform your pre roll into something better. Long form ads are anything longer than 30 seconds and they work well to tell longer stories. We are all familiar with the 30 second ad as we’ve seen them almost every time we are on the video streaming platform, Youtube. But something we see less common, unfortunately, are long form ads and for this, they can often times get a bad rep. 

We’d like to erase that notion and replace it with one that sees the positive value of long form advertising for these reasons: 

Long form video is a better bang for your buck, as it costs only a small amount more than a short form ad. And for a little extra, you can hold your viewer’s attention much longer. Not only this, long form ads on average have a VTR of  %25. And though it may sound low in comparison to short from VTR the point lies in the fact that 25% of all viewers watch your video until the very, meaning they’re spending more time with your brand than the viewers of a short form ad would have. YThese two factors are great if your brand has long-term ambitions like trying to build brand affinity, which requires true viewer attention and audience retention, which is easily built through time spent with the brand. 

So instead of playing a quick 10-30 second clip of pre-roll, we can enhance this tenfold by making the ad ten times longer. It’s definitely something useful to consider.

To sum it up, viewers need more stimulation now than ever before. There are so many new things happening in the digital world that we must, as advertisers, fight for viewers’ attention. But, thankfully, we’ve cracked the case at just how to do it – emerging video formats and long form TrueView. With emerging formats you have the power to enhance pre-roll’s visuals, interaction options, and KPI. And with long form TrueView, you have the opportunity to capture more of viewers’ attention than ever before. We stand by these tools firmly, and hope the industry follows because it works. Look at the proof!