Survey Finds 90% Of People Skip Pre-Roll Video Ads

It’s no secret that traditional advertising is increasingly ineffective, as online ad blocking and ad-skipping are becoming pervasive. Add another data point to the growing pile on ad blocking: In a survey of 1,015 adults by ORC International, in conjunction with ad-tech firm Mirriad, 76% reported blocking ads online and skipping traditional TV ads.

The study found the outlook for video advertising to be even worse: Ninety percent of people skip pre-roll ads appearing ahead of online video content and TV shows. While experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, the messages are not sticking. The survey found that 68% of people recall less than five ads they’ve seen in the past week.

Juniper Research estimated in a recent study that digital publishers stand to lose more than $27 billion by 2020 as online publishers struggle to find effective strategies to counter ad blocking. 

Among the other findings from the ORC-Mirriad study:

  • Eighty-four percent of millennials admit to blocking or skipping ads all or some of the time, while 73% and 72% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively, claim the same.
  • Millennials, more than any other generation, prefer less disruptive forms of advertising in lieu of traditional commercials (27% vs. 15% of Gen X and 9% of Baby Boomers).
  • Fifty-three percent of Baby Boomers don’t want to see any ads at all, compared to 30% of millennials who felt the same way.
  • Personalized ads are resonating with more than 80% of Millennials, compared to less than 50% of their generational counterparts.

"These results reflect what most of us already know as individuals.  We skip ads. If we have a DVR, we skip ads. If we have mobiles, we skip ads. If we watch online, we skip ads -- and given access to the right apps, we block them altogether. Why? Because they all too often get in the way of the experience we are looking for when we seek out the content we love. Most of us don’t like being sold to, especially by someone we don’t know. It’s just a natural human trait," Mark Popkiewicz, Mirriad's CEO, told Real-Time Daily via email.

"There must be a better way, because ads are an important part of the way content is funded," he added. "In the future, ads must become more respectful of viewers and delivered in such a way so as to add value, be truly helpful at whatever life stage the consumer is at, and not manifest like a stick-up on a street corner at night: 'Watch me or I'll take your purse.'" 

The online omnibus survey was live on April 25-27. Mirriad is a provider of native in-video advertising in which brands are integrated into content and travel with the content across screens.

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7 comments about "Survey Finds 90% Of People Skip Pre-Roll Video Ads".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 8, 2016 at 11:05 a.m.

    Tobi, it might be interesting to compare how the respondents' claims about what they "usually" or "often" do regarding digital ads with electronic indicators which may provide a less scary picture. Not that I doubt that pre-roll ads are frequently skipped---I do it myself. But 90% of the time---maybe not.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, June 8, 2016 at 12:30 p.m.

    I respect Ed's restraint. I skip pre-roll ads 99% of the time. 

    Mark Popkiewicz it a little too optimistic about viewers who could be treated with more respect. Since when is an interruption a sign of respect?

  3. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, June 8, 2016 at 7:02 p.m.

    I agree that recall of skipping behavior is bound to be quite exaggerated because of how much consumers despise pre-roll. But also I think many have created behaviors to avoid them. For me, my avoidance behaviors become a learned habit. If it's a 5 second preview I'll hold and skip. If it's something that has to play, I'll go to another window immediately. If it requires that I have that window on top, I intentionally ignore (though I suppose I might indirectly pick up a tad). But most often, if there's required pre-roll I skip the video entirely - unless it's exceptionally important.

    if the number is right, I suspect a firm habitual behavior created over time that's not even entirely conscious. So whether it's 80% skip or 95% skip, it's habitual and that seems to be the very big problem with pre-roll.

  4. Jim Nico from The Social Network Station®, June 9, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.

    How refreshing, someone tells the truth about advertising--and how people are fed up with the pushiness of it all. Thank you.

  5. Steve Baldwin from Didit, June 9, 2016 at 4:23 p.m.

    "Skip this ad" has been the most popular CTA on the web for many, many years.

  6. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, June 9, 2016 at 6:34 p.m.

    Forgot to note... I think the need to skip is far more serious online. While 30 seconds on a TV set isn't so bad, 30 seconds of pre-roll video online seems like a full hour. Same with the ads that streaming forces us to watch - a 2 minute pod of ads is of interminable length.

    It's a bad feature of the small screen - that which would be compelling on a traditional screen becomes dull on the tiny screen (unless I'm very interested).

    In other words, I think this problem is more critical online than on TV.

    And isn't that funny. We were told by the digerati some kind of "everything is better online" and what we've found is...some is and some clearly isn't. 

  7. Frank Ramirez from NA, June 13, 2016 at 1:32 p.m.

    The truth is that ads demand your time and attention and your time and attention have value. In addtion,  many of these platforms use your data which also has value within the information economy. If you look at revenue from companies like Google they report revenues of $47/month per person, if yu look at US market Ad spend and  diviede it by active consumers you get $180/person/month. Regardless of the exact number there is alot of value in peoples consumer power. We have the technology today to allow people to monetize that power for them selves. Traditioanl advertising is on the way out and if companies want cosnumers attention in the future they are going to need to pay them for it. Not pay some middle man that ads little to no value.