Pre-roll advertisers are continuing to re-purpose ads from traditional mediums, often failing to keep the attention of their audience past the five-second “skip” mark.
"A lot of companies still directly repurpose ads from a template or from other traditional mediums and this falls short of intriguing audiences," Gwenda Shim, account manager at ThinktankSocial, said.
"It is more likely that people find them disruptive, invasive, uninteresting and feel like they can't escape mass marketing no matter where they are."
According to Shim, the answer lies in “taking the time to create tailored pre-roll ads that are engaging, innovative and rewarding” that could ultimately “work in a brand's favour.”
Many agencies have already found ways to re-invigorate the pre-roll ad.
"The pre-roll environment offers so many opportunities beyond simply re-running a TVC,” Liz Kain, head of creative group at MercerBell, said.
“Last year we created the ‘Be OK’ button in an Allianz pre-roll. It gave viewers the chance to reverse the damage of a car accident, the perfect demonstration of Allianz’s great service. People could have skipped the ad, but this innovation encouraged 46% of viewers to watch long enough to take in our message about Allianz."
Late last year New Zealand advertising agency Colenso BBDO tackled the problem head on by directly acknowledging how frustrating pre-roll ads are.
The campaign consisted of sixty-four customized YouTube ads that acknowledged how annoying they were, effectively turning the worst thing on the internet" into "lolz” according to the ad’s creators.
Adidas took a different approach, and instead uses only five seconds to get their message across.
This removes the skip option completely and although this tactic has its obvious limitations, is thought to be far-less offensive to YouTube users who do not want to be interrupted by a 30 second ad before their 30 second video.
Other innovative advertisers have altered the “skip this ad” button to attract the attention of consumers. The missing persons ad for the Australian Federal Police is a good example of this technique, encouraging users to positively or negatively identify the face of a missing person.
A similar idea by a government environmental care agency in Chile provided a range of environmental messages that challenged the user to either skip the ad or skip the behaviour.