Bernard Gershon wrote an excellent article in Ad Age Digital entitled ‘Are Online Video Ads Wasting Your Time?‘ Well of course the answer is yes, but Gershon’s article is a good read if for no other reason that we hope the powers that be will continue to be nudged towards a new model.
Gershon points out that “Various sources have pre-roll abandonment rates ranging from 15% to 40 %.” It would have been useful if Gershon could have added an equally important data point addressing the abandonment rates of video containing pre-roll. Gershon goes on to say “If one in four viewers bails, why not give consumers a choice by providing the option to skip? It’s not a novel concept.” YouTube does this for many ads and it is an interesting position, but we know what will happen to view-through rates on these ads and the implications for the online media ad revenue model.
But whether or not your like Gershon’s suggestion, when 15%-40% of your target audience is already abandoning the video, then it is logical that viewers are more highly likely to abandon the content portion of the video prior to completion. If the content portion of the video is abandoned then viewership and traffic on your site will suffer.
We take a different view and suggest that pre-rolls, “lacking personal relevance” as Gershon states, be abandoned. In its place, we would create a model where viewers are rewarded for viewing videos to completion. Use a much shorter pre-roll (say 3 seconds) to alert viewers which product or service is going to pitch them at the end of the video and then present them with one or more rewards at the end of the video.