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Secrets for Pre-Roll Video Success

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The popularity of online pre-roll video ads is undeniable due to its growing acceptance by online video viewers. Despite higher media costs over traditional static banners and annoying pop-up ads, pre-roll has emerged to become the most effective method to advertise on the web. To pay for pre-roll video ads, broadcast media budgets are being tapped for the bill. In 2013, 31% of advertisers – vs. only 19% in 2012 – said funds to pay for online video were taken directly from broadcast television budgets according to a recent marketer survey by Digiday.

Communications budgets notwithstanding, the more important perspective is that marketers need to develop an awareness of the difference between a relaxed and passive television viewer on the couch and a highly energized online viewer at both their desk or mobile device.

So what do the experts see as the best approach to successful pre-roll customer engagement? Although integration with a host of other types of online video placement is key, they also suggest marketers remember key principals and perspectives when trying to create highly effective pre-roll.

Adjust for the viewing environment: Remember that the viewers of your ad do not watch pre-roll spots the same way they tolerate watching television commercials. They are impatient to get to their requested content and some pre-roll media outlets allow viewers to opt-out of seeing the pre-roll after a few seconds, while other resources enforce viewership of the entire pre-roll before content is played. So customizing that message to serve the interest of the online viewer is vital. According to our own Philip Saifer, President of Vertical Marketing Network, “At the agency we have the ‘Pre-Roll Five Second Rule.’ That’s the timeframe you have to grab your viewer’s attention and convey the pre-roll content is appealing to them.”

Add interactivity and customization: Marketers will maximize the ROI on pre-roll by ensuring a ‘click’ connection to a brand’s website or social media. The numbers are convincing as brand awareness is 3.6% higher and purchase intent is 9.9% better on interactive pre-roll according to research from TubeMogul and Innovid.

Use the power of bite-sized video: With the consumer acceptance of short-form six-second videos via Vine, other social sites have jumped on the short bus. Twitter and Instagram now have short video formats and big brands are now Tweeting out their Vine video ads in the social mix.

Work with the publisher: Many clever pre-roll spots use different formats within a YouTube or Vimeo video to let the consumer know their message, story or entertaining interaction is unique and compelling. Having an agency work hand-in-hand with the pre-roll publishers will make a more satisfying user experience. If you do, your pre-roll will serve both your brand’s and the publisher’s interests and will likely improve customer engagement.

Getting into pre-roll video by re-purposing existing television ads is a common step one. Short term, this can work if the spots feature quick visual pacing and communicate “what’s in it for me?” upfront to the online viewer.  The next evolution to creative made specifically for pre-roll campaigns will prove to match the tonality expectations of online viewers and this should be the medium term goal.

For inspiration, we leave you with an innovative pre-roll execution from Burger King that hits the mark when it comes to this highly desirable medium. BK actually created over 60 custom scripts to go with their pre-roll placements, taking this medium to the extreme. Warning: There’s a little harsh language at the beginning, but such is the case of communicating online.


Brought to you by Vertical Marketing Network, a Leading Integrated Marketing Agency.

Screen captures intended as illustrative examples only. Registered trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners.

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2014 by in Uncategorized.

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