Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Pre Roll Reinvented

Probably the first video format available online, the pre-roll has finally found its way of recreating itself and step into the modern age.
Maybe we are not talking about the most innovative ad type here, but what has been seen lately it’s a “new generation” of pre-roll, trying to reinvent itself without losing its main characteristic: appearing BEFORE the content.

Appearing before the content, though, does not necessarily mean that the “skip this ad” button will be always available. What was seen a while ago is that sometimes pre-roll might become a standard ad unit even far, far away from video: trying to be a new type of interstitial, sort of a quid pro quo for using a free web service. As an example, many casual game companies started to make viewers watch a pre-roll a condition for playing a game online. 

In the process of reinventing itself, the pre-roll has been trying to become more “native”, offering choices to the viewer: what is seen now is that by adding choice to a pre-roll, effectiveness is improved. Before viewing a pre-roll, the viewer is given a choice between a handful of ad options: they choose the one they want, watch it, and then get to see the video they really wanted. 

Besides all that, pre-roll has three major advantages over the other ad formats for the Web: 

1 – Integration: Pre-roll is a common thread between television, the web, and mobile. One may take an ad from television and easily repurpose it for the web and mobile. Plus it better leverages the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are spent in the production of a commercial.

2 - Easiest comprehension and synergy to Media Companies: Pre-roll and post-roll ads are similar to TV ads, which are the easiest for traditional advertisers and marketers to comprehend. They view it as being basically "an online commercial," in easy-to-understand 15 second to 30 second online spots.  

3 - Greater impact over television ads: According to many researches, the impact of pre-roll has proven to be greater than that of a commercial in live and on-demand television viewing  for their brand awareness. It is easy to understand: the viewer is waiting to watch a specific content, and if the ad is well placed, obviously it will reach its goal. It is almost mathematical. 

What is seen now is a new movement to recreate the oldest online video format with media companies coming up with great and unique formats that mix up the pre-roll as we know it with other exclusive formats, leveraging its power and making it a new and powerful tool of online video. 

Artimedia recently launched an exclusive format called “Sequence”, that much more than an ad format is a new concept of pre-roll itself. Sequence™ starts with a standard pre-roll followed by two consecutive additional impressions: a branding unit and a call for action. These two impressions are Artimedia’s unique formats, designed to re-enforce the theme of the ad and placed as a whole sequence, as the name suggests. The whole concept is flexible and also allows more units to be added, if needed. 

As much as pre-roll have all the advantages presented previously, it is well known that we are talking about expensive ads to be produced – not only the pre-roll, but video ads in general. In this sense, the format is limited and there are much less creative out there available for campaigns. The Sequence approach enables to “mix-and-match” a standard pre-roll with a far broader variety of banners.

Due to the fewer pre-roll choices, the targeting capabilities are also limited (show the right ad/creative to the right viewer according to their interest, demographics, etc.), and are less effective for direct response.  As one thing leads to another, because of the above mentioned issues, pre-roll is used mainly for branding. Nevertheless, most brands and advertisers would want at least some level of call-for-action to drive viewers to engage. With Sequence™ the advertisers can add a layer of call for action by using targetroll or overlay, which will appear 30-90 seconds after the pre-roll.

To better picture it: shortly after the pre-roll video ad completes and the video content starts to show, the viewer will see an interactive branding unit blended into the content itself.  This is one of Artimedia’s unique formats: TargetRoll™, which slightly reinforces the brand and enhances recall, while not interfering with the viewing experience. Thirty seconds after that, a customized call for action banner is displayed, utilizing another of Artimedia’s unique formats – SmartOverlay™, maintaining the same ad theme. 

This way, within a relatively short period, the viewer is elegantly presented with 3 brand impressions that create a much more compelling brand experience, combining strong branding as well as actionable banners to drive performance. 

The whole system guarantees that the banners will be shown in sequence to the same viewer in order to maximize the brand experience. This enables to supplement pre-roll with diversified and targeted creative to enhance the ad’s impact, engagement and performance. 

Get to know more about Sequence™ and the future of Pre-Roll here:

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