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In a Study of 'Interruptiveness,' Pre-Roll Comes Out on Top

Pre-roll less of an interruption than other video formats

May 19, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing | Video

What video ad format do internet users find the least interruptive? The answer is pre-roll.

A recent report by IPG Media Lab and YuMe directed participants to watch video content based on their interests and then rate their ad experience, regardless of device. Whether viewing on a computer or a smartphone, users said pre-roll ad formats felt less interruptive compared with mid-roll and out-stream formats.

Less than one-fifth (17%) of viewers thought skipabble pre-roll ads were interruptive after viewing 15-second ads on both smartphones and desktop/laptop computers.

US Internet Users Who Think that Digital Video Ads Interrupt the Content, by Device and Format, Winter 2016 (% of respondents)

It might seem axiomatic that pre-roll ads—which by definition precede content rather than interrupt it in the middle—are less interruptive, but the survey also found that more users rated pre-roll ads as more informative and more engaging than other formats.

But the study highlighted the value of other types of video ads. For instance, it found that mid-roll ads communicate brand messages particularly well on larger, more TV-like screens—which makes sense, given that TV watchers are accustomed to ads amidst programming.

Mid-roll ads also can have higher completion rates than pre-roll, though they were deemed most interruptive by 72% of smartphone users and 53% of desktop/laptop users.

Out-stream video ads, which play outside of video content—between paragraphs of text, for example—were considered interruptive by a little less than half (46%) of smartphone respondents. These types of ads were more successful when run in contextually relevant articles (e.g., a video ad for a restaurant in an article about food).

According to a separate study by IPG Media Lab, this one in partnership with Magna Global, the completion rate for digital video ads is low. Only 35% are completed, it found, while 65% are skipped.

—Monica Melton

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