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Pre-Roll Is Changing With Emerging Video Formats

Pre-Roll Is Changing With Emerging Video Formats

Online marketing with video has shoved traditional formats aside. As print slowly fades, and advertisers work around broadcast media formats, pre-roll advertising has grown into an important way that advertisers can still directly engage millions of potential consumers. 
Just as in everything else digital, however, technology drives change. What was standard yesterday becomes ineffectual tomorrow. Pre-roll advertising provides no exception to this fundamental rule.  Pre-roll is changing.


Everyone Now Knows Pre-Roll

Pre-roll advertising takes advantage of the market’s obsession with watching short videos posted online. The consumer has now been trained, to access the content, a viewer must experience a short commercial message. Longer commercials may allow a viewer to cut away after a few seconds, but others require one to watch the whole message.
Studies using a combination of techniques recording both physiological and survey results indicated that pre-roll advertising that fosters emotional engagement boosts brand perception.  And now that Agencies can easily either re-purpose their television commercials or create specific video content, pre-roll is now standard.

Differences Between Standard Pre-roll and Emerging Video Formats

What’s the difference? Standard pre-roll advertising simply shows a video clip that advertisers hope makes an impression. Emerging video formats, however, 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. 
A recent campaign for a local cancer hospital used emerging formats and pre-roll to boost viewer interaction. They used geotargeting to find the nearest hospital based on the location of the viewer. On top of pre-roll they use custom skins to show images of real doctors at their locations. The custom skin and end slates give the viewer the option to make an appointment directly from the advertisement as well as directing you to the website to learn more
Emerging video in ads  also benefit from incorporating pre-roll with graphics as overlays. Advertisers that can link clickable video content to a graphic on the ad can broaden the impact of their campaign. It both enhances message delivery while also providing key demographic and use data.


Emerging Video Formats

Video has become the go-to medium for messaging online but we are still amazed that the assets usually start from television spots.  70% of pre-roll that is ran is re-purposed television spots which is amazing to us. Instead of fighting the battle of trying to get video produced specifically for digital we are adding to the pre-roll experiences with emerging formats. See Example Here.
Some examples of emerging video formats are listed here below:

  • Overlays – Overlay ads usually run on the bottom of a video on a streaming service. Overlays add a CTA to your ad in a non-disruptive way.
  • End SlatesEnd Slates also known as End Cards appear at the end of a pre-roll video. End slates provide engagement opportunities at the end of the ad.
  • Vertical Videos Vertical video ads provide a big, beautiful canvas to deliver your message on mobile and allow engagement with your customers in a way that fits their viewing preferences.
  • Haptic Ads  – Haptic Ads add touch to the user experience. Haptic Ads immerse users with vibration functions of any Android device. Vibrations can vary in intensity, representing pops, explosions, or rumbles.
  • Custom skins – Custom skins appear a couple seconds into pre-roll, shrinking the pre-roll to the top of the page and showing more information about the product.
  • Geo locators– Geo locators drive in-store traffic with user location detection.
  • Video curtains– Video curtains expose an additional ad experience while pausing the ad.


Why Emerging Formats Provide Superior Results

Emerging formats provide superior results because it invites viewers to move beyond passive watching. When engaged, viewers want to experience, rather than simply endure, the message. As a result, interactive pre-rolls provide a larger number of qualified views and CTR. Effective pre-rolls also get the viewer engaged in a call to action. In standard pre-roll, the viewer has often mentally checked out by the time he or she gets to the CTA. Emerging formats also provide a way to get a message across in a more concise fashion, leaving a better impression while not delaying access to the desired content.

Evidence Proves the Case

In recent years, studies show that emerging video formats provide better results.  Some important results to note include:

  • On average, users watched 84.3 percent of an emerging pre-roll ad, 79.4 percent of standard
  • Emerging video generates a whopping 591 percent in total user activity over standard pre-roll 
  • Compared to standard pre-roll videos, VDX units held attention for over twice as long, resulting in better ad recall, purchase consideration, and enhanced brand perception

There has been an increase in engagement with the use of emerging video formats. The advertising world is moving forward with interactive pre-roll with the use of end slates, overlays, custom skins, etc. 
Advertisers are looking for an increase in video completion rate for all video assets. With the help of End Cards, case studies proved:
Video WITHOUT end card

  • :15 second 72% VCR
  • :30 second 68% VCR

Video WITH end card :30 second 

  • :15 second 87% VCR
  • :30 second 79% VCR

Another aspect advertisers are striving for is an increase in click through rates. Pre-roll with the use of overlay will help.
Video WITHOUT overlay

  • :15 second .28% CTR
  • :30 second .45% CTR

Video WITH overlay

  • :30 second 1.72% CTR

       Added an additional 14,345 clicks  
Haptic Videos are on the rise with case studies showing:

  • Video with haptic outperformed average CTR of standard pre-roll (0.18%) by 2x  = 0.36% CTR
  • Video with haptic VCR was 80% compared to Standard Pre-roll benchmark 70% VCR


  • Audiences increasingly prefer streaming devices. Connected TV provides the highest completion rates while mobile provides the best engagement numbers.
  • Connected TV’s explosion in use has created a huge demand for ad purchases.
  • Desktop viewing outstrips all other forms, followed by mobile. Within the mobile market, advertisers focus attention on smartphones and tablets.

Expect pre-roll advertising to continue it’s shift from standard passive formats to more interactive approaches. The presidential campaigns will likely pioneer many different strategies that the private sector world might want to follow closely.
In any event, pre-roll advertising with emerging formats will develop as the driver in the video advertising market. Consider the evidence when choosing how best to market your company or organization when using video