As Video Ads Increase, Consumers Begin to Adapt

Completion Rates for Pre-Roll Aren't Great, but They're Improving

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Last month Tubemogul shared some dismal stats on the state of the video ad market with us. Namely, that visitors to websites appear to take significant pains to avoid pre-roll advertising, the medium's dominant form.

Now, more numbers from Freewheel, and much more encouraging to the online ad industry. Freewheel serves video ads for publishers -- think DoubleClick for video. They work with Turner, Discovery, YouTube, CBS and Vevo, and serve about 25% of video ads in the U.S. as measured by ComScore.

Pre-roll ads are still overwhelmingly dominant -- 91% of all video ads excluding overlays -- and while consumers still avoid them, Freewheel says completion rates actually went up from 45% in Q1 to 54% in Q3 2010. This could indicate a number of things, including shorter pre-rolls as marketers start cutting their spots to 15 or even eight seconds, better content, or just that viewers are getting more accustomed to the value exchange: watch our ad for the content you want to see.

"People are getting accustomed to watching shows in a digital environment, and at the same time they are seeing more and more ads that resemble television," said Doug Knopper, CEO.

Understandably, the best completion rates for online video are mid-roll spots (90%), the ones that most resemble what people are shown on TV. Those already watching a video, one could presume, are committed to it, and therefore more willing to watch an ad. As content on the web gradually gets longer, FreeWheel is seeing a lot more mid-roll ads in its system -- 693% growth since the first quarter.

Here are the rest of FreeWheel's stats culled from 3 billion ads served in the third quarter, showing the mix of pre-, mid- and post-rolls, and completion rates for each.

Ad Views Composition Q3: Pre-, Mid-, Post-roll, Overlay

Ad Views Composition Q3: Pre-, Mid-, Post-roll, Overlay

Video Ad Views Volume by Ad Format

Video Ad Views Volume by Ad Format

Completion Rates by Ad Format over Time

Completion Rates by Ad Format over Time

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