Video content is more popular than ever, and that's created a huge market for video advertising. Companies that five years earlier would have laughed at the idea are now quickly investing in video ad creation, along with other original video content. Video ad sales are also on the rise — according to eMarketer, video ad spending in the U.S. is expected to increase almost 42 percent this year — and consumers are warming up to this advertising channel.
Video advertising remains a young and nebulous venture. Placement has become one of the toughest riddles for businesses to crack — between pre-roll video ads, mid-roll ads and post-roll spots, there doesn't seem to be a conclusive answer on what type of placement gets the best results. Pre-roll advertising has displayed several advantages, though, and in the right circumstances this ad placement strategy can deliver a strong return without turning off consumers en masse.
The Problem of Ad Placement
The challenges of ad placement are tied back to consumer motivations. Video ads are only effective when consumers stick around to watch the entire thing. If they abandon beforehand, it's a wasted opportunity — and it can hurt the success of the video content supporting the ad.
Pre-roll video ads, for example, are a small investment consumers must make in order to watch a piece of video content. But if the consumer's desire to watch the content isn't strong, he may not feel that the ad is worth watching. But pre-roll offers the largest possible audience of viewers, and when the content behind the ad is proven, it can encourage users to stick around.
To a large degree, the success of a pre-roll video ad depends on the intelligent design of the ad and its supporting video content.
Why Pre-roll Is Different
When considering pre-roll and other video ad placements, it's worth remembering that low engagement rates can still be positive. Banner ads, for example, suffer from low engagement rates relative to the number of views they receive. But even this low engagement is a huge revenue driver.
With that in mind, consider Business Insider's report that pre-roll is 2.5 times more effective than banner ads. If that holds up in a campaign, it's going to drive huge returns and validate the campaign as a marketing success. Combine pre-roll with banner advertising, and your success increases exponentially.
Tips to Maximize Your Results
First and foremost, brands should make sure pre-roll ads are short — no more than 15 seconds per ad. Keep in mind that, according to Mobile Marketer, shorter ads are more courteous to mobile consumers with limited bandwidths — but they also let you create higher-quality ads with bit rates above 2 Mbps.
The best pre-roll ads are also clickable, and they display the URL consumers will be redirected to if they choose to click on the ad.
Like any other campaign, remember to complement pre-roll video ads with data tracking so you can analyze the results and build smarter campaigns going forward.