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Solve Media Swaps Pre-Roll Ads for Typing a Tag Line

Written on
Mar 5, 2012 
Author
Brian LaRue  |

ADOTAS – Today, Solve Media launched a new service it’s calling “Pre-Roll Insurance,” through which someone viewing a video on the web can skip a pre-roll ad by typing in a brief phrase related to a brand — a slogan or advertising tag line, for example. The idea is that people tend to skip or ignore a pre-roll ad, and by offering a type-in skip option, that creates a brand interaction with the user that the user undertakes willingly, and it’s an interaction that Solve Media claims is more powerful than a pre-roll ad because it the actually demands the user’s concentration, if only for a few seconds.

This is a new twist on Solve Media’s stock in trade — the company has made its name through an alternative to CAPTCHAs, whereby instead of typing out a bit of encrypted CAPTCHA text, a user is prompted to type out a brand-related phrase. The time a person spends typing over a CAPTCHA, according to Solve Media’s thinking, is an unnecessary diversion of the user’s concentration, which could be used to a brand’s advantage instead — especially if typing a tag line is more intuitive than typing a bit of nonsensical CAPTCHA text. In a phone conversation today, Solve Media CEO Ari Jacoby explained pre-roll ads are comparable — they mark a break in user concentration. He cited stats showing 70 percent skip rates for pre-roll ads, and pointed out that users who do keep ads rolling often use the time to do something else. “They check stock quotes and send text messages, they stare at ceiling tiles,” Jacoby said. A release issued by Solve Media today cited research they company had conducted with comScore that showed 52.6 percent of respondents “admitted to zoning out” while a pre-roll ad rolled, and 47.4 percent said they’d opened a new browser or tab. But in offering the option of a type-in to skip the ad, “we could guarantee their attention.”

This is valuable for web publishers, Jacoby explained, because it allows them to meet users’ expectations that they can simply skip an ad — an expectation that comes from YouTube, which has offered the option to skip pre-roll ads for some time. “They have basically taught users that this is a good user experience,” he said. “Consumer choice is a big, big issue. Consumers like to have control.” But, he pointed out, “publishers can’t offer that experience without hurting their wallets. We demonstrated that opportunity for publishers globally.”

Solve Media works with “over 4,000 major publishers,” Jacoby said, and when the company started testing Pre-Roll Insurance, “hundreds of publishers lined up on the inventory side. Many of them are crossovers from the type-in business.” He said that as the company tested out its new service, it found that while “less than 2 percent of consumers engage in pre-roll, on average we do seven to eight times better. In some cases, we see double that.” Toyota launched an ad campaign for the RAV4 today that uses the new technology, and Jacoby said he expects Solve Media will roll out case studies around certain brands’ campaigns in coming months.





Adotas Senior Editor Brian LaRue has been working in journalism in some form or another for slightly longer than his entire adult life, having won his first SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Award while he was still in high school. Prior to joining Adotas, he served as a reporter, editor, columnist, critic and blogger, mostly for a number of daily and weekly newspapers scattered around his native Connecticut. In his off hours, Brian maintains an active parallel life as a musician and music blogger.

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