Home Consumers Ready for End of Pre-Roll Ads

Consumers Ready for End of Pre-Roll Ads

“Pre-roll ads are going the way of popups and other intrusive ads,” predicted Fred Wilson a little over a month ago. “They won’t be around in a couple years. And the online video services that use them to monetize their audience won’t be around either.” It seems that consumers agree. Silicon Alley Insider points to a new survey that says that half of Internet users bail at the sight of a pre-roll video ad.

So what type of ads should video sites try if consumers are going to flee at the sight of pre-roll ads? Advertisers worry that post-roll ads won’t be watched (who sticks around to watch an ad after a video has finished playing)? Mid-roll ads might work, but while they’re tolerable when watching a full-length television show or movie (i.e., on Hulu), they become infeasible for shorter clips, and are problematic for user generated content that doesn’t have built-in pause points for advertising.

Last fall YouTube began experimenting with overlay ads, but Jeremy Allaire, CEO of rival Brightcove said that advertisers did not respond well to overlay ads. Then again, he also said users didn’t respond negatively to pre-roll ads.

The one bright spot for video advertisers in the Burst Media survey cited by Alley Insider is that younger viewers are surprisingly most amenable to online pre-roll video ads. 35% of of users in the 18-24 age group stop watching videos if they have pre-roll ads. That number increased to 49.6% of 25 to 34-year-olds and to a whopping 60% of users over 55.

Perhaps that indicates that the future generation of web users will be more receptive to traditional video ad formats. Regardless, don’t expect to see pre-roll ads disappear any time soon — advertisers are still hooked on them.

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