Pre-roll offers more value for advertisers than social video: study

While consumers feel that branded social video is more cohesive in terms of content, most found pre-roll ads more engaging and led to better brand recall.

IPG Mediabrands’ creative tech unit IPG Media Lab recently paired with video solutions provider YuMi to commission a study on consumer attitudes toward various video ad units. The resulting study found that unskippable pre-roll was the most effective according to user feedback.

The U.S.-based study looked at four different video ad formats: non-skippable pre-roll, non-skippable mid-roll, social video and “outstream” (video ads that appeared on pages in areas such as mid-text or in the header). More than 6,800 people were surveyed in the mixed-method study.

When asked which ad format they felt interrupted the content, 53% of desktop users and 72% of mobile users found that to be the case with mid-roll, 46% (desktop) and 60% mobile with outstream and only 17% (both desktop and mobile) with pre-roll. Social video was not a choice for this question since social video can contain both the ad and the content.

Pre-roll was also favourable in terms of brand recall. When asked if they recalled a brand being mentioned, 53% of desktop users and 65% of mobile users recalled ads mentioned in pre-roll ads on the first try. The numbers were significantly lower for mid-roll (26% desktop, 39% mobile) and outstream (19% desktop, 28% mobile). Pre-roll also edged out the other two formats on desktop and mobile in terms of users finding the ads engaging, informative, relevant to the user and relevant to the content.

While social video soared beyond the rest in terms of fitting in with the browsing experience (67% of users thought so, while the next-most popular format for this, pre-roll, came in at 53%) and felt integrated with the content (65%, with the next-most popular format being pre-roll at 29%), it still scored lower than pre-roll in some areas.

Only 36% of survey respondents found social videos to be “informative” (beaten by both pre-roll at 45% and mid-roll at 40%) and 40% found them to be “engaging” (pre-roll took in 54% and mid-roll took in 44%).

Social also boasted slightly lower ad recall than pre-roll — 54% of mobile users recalled the brand on the first try (compared to 65% for the pre-roll advertisements).

When looking at which ad formats the users wanted to exit immediately, outstream took the lion’s share (56%), followed by mid-roll (51%). Pre-roll and social video only pulled in 36% and 31% each in this area.

Overall, the study determined that the value exchange for pre-roll ads was higher than that of social video, and that ads perceived as less intrusive resulted in a higher intent to purchase.

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