How To Make Unskippable Pre-Roll Ads?

“Our ads don’t need to be shorter, quicker, and more snackable; they can be longer, richer, and perhaps even a bit stranger.”

State of advertising in 2015:
Traditional agencies do 30s tv ads.
Digital agencies do 30s skippable pre-roll ads.

In many ways the fun age of experimentation is over and it is back to the status quo and advertising business as usual.

That does not mean there are not opportunities in pre-rolls. They are one form of storytelling. Some of the rules for good story apply to every media, but if you apply TVC storytelling method to skippable pre-rolls in mobile it does not work.

I recommend reading this Google study of Mountain Dew ad and its skip rates. Maybe surprisingly to conventional wisdom in mobile the best performing ad (viewed at 26% higher rate than others) was the longest one:

Some important lessons when you are running your next pre-roll campaign:

1. Just redistributing your TVC is a waste of money and just plain stupid.
When viewer has the power to skip your advertising bullshit, she will most likely do it. Spending a little bit money to different edits or even additional content pays itself back with more effective video advertising and better results.

2. Shorter is not necessarily better.
People have time to watch cat videos, music videos and naked ninja warrior. The problem for brands is that generally people don´t want invest any of their time to it. However, if they start watching your content, they can go longer than the standard 30 seconds…

3. It is all about the beginning
Pre-roll videos should not follow conventional story logic. It is better to start with your outrageous part or the most mysterious part. The main goal is to lure your audience to watch by any means necessary.

4. Do not be obsessed by the branding.
The longest clip has quite moderate branding throughout. Ad recall was worse, but eventually the brand lift was the same as with the other pieces.

5. When in doubt, have animals or cute babies.
Some things in storytelling never change.

Making more unskippable content is not even that difficult. It just requires a new way to approach your content production: more effort, edits, continuous testing and tweaking.

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