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The Next Frontier for Pre-Roll

The Next Frontier for Pre-Roll

hey say “attention is the currency.”

Day-trade on attention and you’ll build yourself an empire.

And if you’re a business-owner, brand-builder, or legacy-leaver, you should know: all eyes are on video right now.


There’s a confluence of factors that make this the prime (and inevitable) moment for video to shine:

  • Mobile has finally reached a tipping point: Mobile views and impressions outweighed that of desktops and PCs as early as 2017, growing only stronger from 2018 onwards
  • Innovations in video ad creative are making for more interactive, high-performing, and customized content
  • Rather than stitching together multiple strategies that may or may not work, a greater number of companies and entrepreneurs who want to be “thought leaders” in their space and niches understand that growth matters more than metrics and authenticity is the key to attention — and this is best conveyed through video
  • Viewing habits are changing and so are viewing platforms: the advent of CTV — connected TV — is giving users a new way to consume personalized content

With these shifts in the maturing digital landscape, let’s take a look at the role (no pun intended) of pre-roll video ads in performance marketing.

What are “Pre-Roll” Video Ads?

If you have ever clicked on a YouTube video and been targeted with a highly-customized advertisement before the video begins, you’ve witnessed a pre-roll video ad in action. Not only is it a format that is non-disruptive, but it’s also:

  • Highly measurable, ensuring future campaign targeting accuracy
  • Highly customizable, ensuring that ad dollars are more effectively spent, sending ads to only the right audiences online

There’s one more reason why pre-roll ads are so effective — more users online than ever before are completing videos because videos (and the platforms videos are showcased on) are getting so much more precise with their audience targeting. These videos are delivering personalized content that is more likely to be watched since it caters to the specific individual’s tracked tastes and preferences.

Do you see how one feeds into the other?

Source: Extreme Reach Video Benchmarks report

As you can see, completion rates were up to 81% in 2018. Attention to video is higher than ever.In terms of ad length, 30-second spots are winning the day, showing a greater YoY increase than 15- or six-second ads. And, in 2018, connected TV showed that users can be committed to the content they view, rather than being distracted.

Source: Extreme Reach Video Benchmarks report

This means that they’ll sit through ads, gladly, and not flip through to the next thing. They’re willing to do so because:

  • Pre-roll video ads can be highly contextual and personal
  • The content on the other side is something they’re actually interested in watching (they’re not simply “browsing” while in line at a grocery store, for example)

Interactive Videos and ROI, Oh My! CTVS

So how do you take advantage of these “trends” (which are more here-to-stay than flash-in-the-pans)?

Pre-roll video ads appeal to performance and growth marketers because they’re highly measurable. The metrics around click-throughs, completions, engagements, time earned, and more can get very granular.

This makes experimentation way more profitable because even the most creative and “out-there” experiments in video ad storytelling are data-driven and data-backed. In fact, 58% of advertisers ran specifically data-driven video campaigns in 2017.

In other words, ROI is at an all-time high and visibly so, especially when it comes to interactive videos and connected TVs. The combination of the two pack a powerful punch on the viewer, who feels compelled to watch all the way through.

It’s not just because custom interactive video campaigns are still a novelty — it’s also because interactivity is fast-becoming the new norm (thanks VR/AR!). There’s also a deeper and more intelligent and thoughtful level of creativity involved in crafting these pre-roll ad spots.

In fact, custom interactive video campaigns earn 561% more in total user activity when compared to standard pre-roll campaigns.

See, performance and growth marketers are not religious or particularly vested in any one format — they’re equally as interested and uninterested in any and all. The only requirement is that the strategy leads to certain, solid, and justifiablegrowth.

If the user delights in watching it — and so, watches the ad all the way through — that’s the cherry on the cake, so to speak. Custom Interactive video on connected TV gave marketers the highest completion rates when compared to any other device or format — including mobile, where it dominated by 73%.

Are Pre-Roll Video Ads Right For You?

To truly take advantage of the major and undeniable boost pre-roll video ads are giving performance-focused marketers, you’ve got to be entirely platform- and tactic-agnostic.

It shouldn’t matter to you how something happens — it should only matter that it’s working. And then you should be committed to doing “more of that”. In this case, doing more of that means committing to the format of pre-roll video ads, the tech that supports it, and KPIs that measure it.

Are you in?