New Technology Lets Web Video Viewers Skip Pre-Roll Ads

Let me say for the record that I love the idea of ads. I love hearing about success in advertising, about ad dollars rising, about brands driving revenue and sales because of ads. Since advertising is, well, what I write about.

But I have to confess that as a consumer, they sometimes irk me. (I know, I know — throw the rotten tomatoes at me now). But ad irritation is a reality and it’s obviously one that advertisers and online video ad vendors are well aware of. Enter Solve Media with an innovative way to get on a consumer’s good side, all without biting the hand that feeds it.

The ad technology firm rolled out “Pre-Roll Insurance” ads yesterday with Toyota that let consumers skip the pre-roll after they’ve typed in the brand message. This technology builds off of Solve’s text ads, which also let consumers type in brand names in captcha security boxes on Web sites. Solve’s approach has caught the attention of a number of media agency innovation experts, who have said they’re intrigued with the company, so we should definitely keep an eye on how this new ad format fares.

Solve has said as much as $33 per second is wasted on skipped ads, so the technology may help brands use their money more efficiently. In research Solve conducted with comScore, about 53% of consumers said they zoned out during pre-rolls and about 47% opened a new browser to do something else while the ad ran. The new Solve technology may help marketers win back some of that audience by giving them a choice.

I checked out the Toyota demo ads. And the funny thing is it took almost the same amount of time to type in the phrase as it did to watch the ad. So maybe there is something to the psychology of giving consumers a choice. They’re still exposed to some of the ad but they get to feel as if they can skip the spot. Then again, sometimes inertia is more powerful and we won’t want to type anything while watching a show online. 

Toyota said it likes the technology because it ensures that consumers are interacting with ads and remembering the message. Solve said it tests multiple type-in messages to determine which branded message performs the best with the given creative. Campaigns are then optimized to only include the best performing type-ins.

Launch partners for this format include AOL, Expedia, General Motors, InternetBrands, InterContinental Hotels Group, Meredith and VerticalScope.

1 comment about "New Technology Lets Web Video Viewers Skip Pre-Roll Ads".
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  1. Ruth Barrett from, March 6, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.

    Interacting, remembering, but buying? If branding is to move towards measurable advertising, then creative needs to start addressing offer, offer, offer and to optimize for best performing offer. This isn't about to happen anytime soon.

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