By many counts, mid-rolls are among the fastest-growing online video ad format, but consumers might not be so fond of this style of marketing.
Mid-rolls are increasing at a rate more than double a year ago, according to the latest quarterly report from online video technology provider FreeWheel, which analyzed billions of videos from premium programmers. They’re growing because longer-form content is becoming more popular on the Web, and that kind of programming has room for mid-rolls. Publishers are selling spots in the middle of a show to boost ad loads.
But there’s some evidence that viewers might not care for this ad format. YuMe’s just-released report on connected TVs found that 6 of 10 connected TV users are most aware of pre-roll ads, but the awareness dips a bit for mid-rolls to 50%. To be sure, that's not a huge differential, but I started wondering about mid-rolls when I also saw this video report in VideoNuze citing research from TVGuide.com that two-thirds of online users hate mid-roll ads, compared to about one-third who hate pre-rolls.
Does this mean publishers should cut back on the number of mid-rolls? No. Clearly, mid-rolls are a golden opportunity to make money on the increased viewing of longer programs online. Mid-rolls will only keep growing for the foreseeable future. The key -- as always -- is to make the ads better and to improve the creative, especially in those hated mid-rolls.
The YuMe-Magid study delved into the actions users take after watching connected TVs ads and found the most common form of engagement was to like a brand on Facebook (32% of users had done so), followed by pressing a button to get more information (26%). What does that say about mid-rolls? That marketers should find smart ways to tie social media into all online video ads -- but especially mid-rolls, as those are the ads viewers may tune out of. Layer in interactivity and other options to keep viewers engaged during the time when they’re most inclined to not like your ads.