If you've been on YouTube in the past several years, chances are good you know all about pre-roll ads: the brief videos that play before the content you requested. With a few notable exceptions, the vast majority of these ads are 30 seconds or shorter — but allow consumers to click a "skip ad" button after only five seconds. Though the idea of only getting five seconds to convey an incomplete message to consumers might not sound that attractive, the numbers are in, and it looks like even skipped ads are having an effect on consumers. But how is this possible?
The Power of Impressions
There's a vast gulf between clicks and impressions, and while it's tempting to just ignore inflated "impression" numbers, they're not meaningless. A recent Nielsen study commissioned by Facebook shows that you can still impact consumers who never even watch your video ad, because the single-frame impression causes a lift in brand awareness, ad recall, and purchase consideration. And viewing even just three seconds of pre-roll video without clicking or converting can create up to 47 percent of the campaign's value for ad recall, 32 percent of the value for brand awareness, and 44 percent of the value for purchase intent. Though these metrics, of course, rise dramatically for those who view an entire clip, they show that brief impressions can create significant value for marketers.