Viewpoint: 'Pre-Roll' Proves Best For Branding

Online video ads that roll immediately before the video content are better branding vehicles than other types of online video ads--but "transitional" formats, where ads stream between page views, are more likely to drive purchases, according to new research by rich media company Viewpoint and Dynamic Logic, scheduled to be released today.

For the study, dubbed "All Things Video," Viewpoint streamed 40 million 30-second online video impressions for four separate campaigns, across a variety of sites including About.com, CBS News, CBS SportsLine, America Online, ESPN, iVillage, and Weather.com. The ads, streamed over a period of eight weeks, included "pre-roll," in which ads stream before content, "in-page" formats, in which ads stream next to static text, and "transitional" formats, where ads stream between page views. Dynamic Logic then surveyed about 3,800 online viewers who were exposed to the ads.

Overall, pre-roll, which in many ways is the most similar to television ads, was the most effective at increasing brand awareness. "For people who respond to advertising, full-screen is the most effective, because there's no competition on the page," said Allie Savarino, vice president of Viewpoint. But transitional video was found to be 20 percent more successful than both of the other two formats when it came to having an impact on intent to make a purchase. Video ads that ran embedded within banners were the least effective of the three formats.

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"If you stick something in a banner, it's still a banner," said Savarino. "It's a great reminder message, but not something that advertisers should really talk about investing a high portion of their budget in, if it's at a premium."

Viewers also reported relatively less irritation with online ads than television ads. Twenty-six percent of respondents said they found the online ads annoying--far lower than the proportion of consumers who reported annoyance with television ads.

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