Study: Pre-Rolls Suck. (But What's Better?)

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From the Department of Duh:

A recent study by IBM, titled “The End of Advertising as We Know It,” found that 40 percent of the 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising executives it surveyed found ads during an online video segment more annoying than any other format.

Particularly egregious are pre-roll ads, those 10-to-30 second video spots shown before the actual video, as any Web video entrepreneur can tell you. Mid-rolls (spots in the middle of a video like a regular TV commercial) and post-roll are other variations. But there are lots of alternatives—traditional banner ads around the video in the player itself, clickable ad “bugs” that crawl across the screen, pop-up ad-overlays, even video hyperlinks that make people and objects inside the videos linkable.

A lot of this is hit or miss. Take the idea of video hyperlinks, where you can draw a little box around an object in a video or highlight them in some other way to signal that you can click on it for more information or to see an ad. Below is an example of how that looks like from Asterpix (other startups, as well as Microsoft, are working on similar technology):

http://www.asterpix.com/loadConsole

While the idea is cool, I’m not sure it works. The box is too distracting and ruins your enjoyment of the actual video. Links in a separate sidebar would be better.Advertisers like to stick with pre-rolls because they are easy to make and it is a format they understand. But as the more adventurous among them experiment with different formats, though, they will gravitate towards the ones that actually produce the best results. Tell us what type of video ads you think have the best chance to succeed in the poll below:

What Will Be the Killer Ad Unit For Web Video?

Total Votes: 1032
Started: November 9, 2007

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