Why Pre-Roll Video Ads Are The Next Frontier for Your Brand
Similar to the debate that art imitates life, we must agree that advertising must imitate life as well if we want our ads to succeed. This means that we must move with the times and tides of an increasingly digital world.
It’s no secret that everything has gone digital in our world, especially during Covid 19 — everything is digital — the way we school, the way we meet, the way we engage, the way we make money, etc. This goes from smartphones to laptops to connected tv to tablets and social media platforms. With that being said, how do we secure the attention of a digital audience when advertising?
The answer to that question is pre-roll advertising. Pre-roll video is king and should be treated as the first and almost only choice when it comes to promoting your brand/product. Why? Because it performs better in every regard. Furthermore, you are able to say more with your ad, allowing viewers to remember more and even, interact more, which means you’ll sell more.
There’s a confluence of factors that make this the prime (and inevitable) moment for video to shine. For instance, 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. In the same vein, a HUGE percentage of time spent on social media is done on a mobile device; a 2016 comScore study discovered that nearly 80% of social media use is done on a mobile device, 61% on smartphones specifically. With these numbers, vertical pre-roll is essential for your ad campaign as it would be one of the most seen forms of advertising yet.
Again, it is important to mention how viewing habits have severely changed in recent times. In fact, viewing habits have changed just as much as viewing platforms have — the growth in prominence of the CTV (Connected tv) opens a vast door for pre-roll video advertising. And again, with more people spending time at home during the pandemic, this is a huge chunk of viewers that are easily reachable in one place with your video advertisement.
As for the ads themselves, serving aside, video ads leave room for more brand authenticity than ever before. 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.
Furthermore, ad agencies and creatives are becoming more innovative with their pre-roll, adding impressive interactive, high-performing, and customized features in order to create a lasting impression as well as increase overall ad ROI.
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? HAVE I SEEN THEM?
To be brief, yes. You have seen them and you have seen them EVERYWHERE because they are indeed, everywhere. It can almost seem like you can’t watch anything on a digital device without a pre-roll ad, whether that be on Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, or Hulu.
Essentially, 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, and 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 and 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).
CTVS, INTERACTIVE VIDEOS AND ROI, OH MY!
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 justifiable growth.
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%.
With that being said, it’s hard to turn a blind eye to the world of pre-roll advertising. It’s not just a marketing fad that will fade, it’s the new frontier and it will only get better. However, if you want to pursue advertising with pre-roll, you’ll need to be entirely platform- and tactic-agnostic.
Essentially, it can’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 the KPIs that measure it.
And on a final note, if you want your ad to stand out. This is really the most impactful way to do so. You remember all your favorite brands’ slogans don’t you? With pre-roll video, you can have that same lasting effect for your brand. And on top of that, you have all the power to make it as interactive or informative as you’d like. Think of it as a jar of play-doh, you get to shape what your viewers see and who your viewers are, there’s really no downsides to capitalizing on this rising format.