The point of diminishing returns, the Death of the Pre-roll ads.

Pre-roll ads: They suck. How many times have you been forced to watch a 15 sec commercial to watch a 30 sec commercial? I know I’m an Advertising geek but geez give me a break. These pop ups irk me to the point of diminishing return (statistics anyone?)

In case you didn’t know, in statistics, the point of diminishing return is the input quantity at which an instance (in this case a click through ad) is maximized and beyond which it declines. Simply put, if you impose another ad before the content I’m trying to reach, i won’t pay attention to your message. And you would have successfully ruined my experience. Thank you.
Fear not, hope is not lost. Here are 3 simple ways to use your content to convert hunters, rather than alienating a potential activation.

1 – Centralized information

I know this is not what first comes to mind when it comes to online reach but it needs to be addressed. Centralize, if not done already, all your content. Items such as an informational video on your product/fan page are more welcomed by users than and pre-roll ad. Ultimately, it is less likely to be avoided. Understand that great content will be found.

2 – Content Mood

We as advertisers need to stop providing content for the sake of providing content. In fact, most of the pre-roll ads are repurposed TV ads. The core issue here is simple. Different from TV, online broadcast serves a different demographic.

People gather around their TV to watch a show, it’s programmed to broadcast at a specific time. On the other hand, when serving content to online or mobile demographic, you need to understand that they’re hunters and seekers actively looking for content. Therefore, there’s a content mood associated with it. “I’m looking for A, don’t disrupt with B”. The reason why pre-roll ads are so intrusive and consistently avoided is because they don’t fit the audience’s content mood. Either you make you content relevant to the mood or you get out of the way.

3 – Talk to the publisher

The truth of the matter is, it’s not the advertiser’s fault if the pre-roll is annoying, it’s the publisher’s fault. As an advertiser or brand, you need to make sure that your publisher is going to syndicate your content the right way. Also you need to understand the difference between “lean back” content and “pressed content”. Lean back content is your long format videos while the pressed content is the short content format videos. Knowing the difference would help you better position your content. People who are in long format view won’t mind the pre-roll content, but the people trying to watch that 30 sec funny clip are going to hate the intrusion.

No matter what you do, you do not want to reach the point of diminishing return. Once you do, the audience is going to blacklist your publisher, and second disregard your content (or the other way around). There’s no secret formula yet on how to tailor these pre-roll ads to the right demographic. But one can only hope that YouTube’s option to skip through the Ad is the first step towards an algorithm or a cookie of some sort that will pull and push the right content for the right viewer. Between now and then, use social and emotional intelligence to sponsor online content (very subtly). Partner with the right channels, and invest in overlays and SEO.



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