Watch: AOL Adopts Video Ad Unit That Enables Consumers To Skip Pre-Roll


ADOTAS — AOL has partnered withMinteye to streamline the videoadvertising experience for consumers. Minteye has created a new ad unit in which once a user interacts with the image, it presents the option to bypass pre-roll ads and skip to the video content.

AOL is the first major publishing partner to add the  feature to  its online video inventory. Once a user is presented with a pre-roll video ad, a scroll tool appears (similar to the fast-forward slider on movies) along with the instructions “slide to fit and skip the ad.” As the user slides the tool to the right, an advertiser image appears allowing him to bypass the ad.

With pre-roll, there are limited targeting options, since the ads shown are pretty content-specific. As Minteye president Dean Margolis noted, this can lead to frustration as users are typically presented with ads they don’t really want to watch;  they then close the video, creating a “lose-lose-lose” situation for consumers, advertisers and publishers.

AOL plans to launch the ad units with advertisers within the next couple of weeks, but according to Shahar Chaslekevitch, director and head of product marketing at AOL Video, they are “still pitching this out to buyers.”

Last year, SpotXchange a different pre-roll bypass service called SkipIt that allowed users to skip pre-roll, but for a nominal fee. Minteye seems to provide a more elegant solution for consumers.

In an interview with AdWeek, Mike Shehan of SpotXchange said that the service gives users a few free skips to start in a virtual piggybank of sorts and provides a gamification mechanism to let them earn more skip credits.

Of course, some advertisers had difficulty buying into the concept.

“We were going to our advertisers and saying, ‘So…we’re going to have a product that allows users to skip your ads. By the way, if they do skip your ad, you won’t pay for the ad,” Shehan said.

Luckily, Shehan’s clients were able to see the benefits of giving users an option to not have to watch an ad they simply did not want to see. With the SkipIt service, publishers are credited for the skipped impression valued at more than they would have paid for the spot to begin with.

For example, if the most a publisher would have been paid for the spot is $10, the publisher would get $15 back for the skip. The goal, obviously, is not to make a huge profit; it’s to provide something even more valuable these days: data on consumerad behavior.

“If you start to offer the ability to skip ads, you can measure the creative burnout on the ads themselves,” Shehan said.


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