What’s the Future of Video Ads Beyond Pre-Roll?

Inplace #2

ADOTAS – When you use your computer or mobile device, what activities do you gravitate towards? Besides just checking email and surfing the web, are you more likely to watch video content on your mobile phone over your desktop computer? How about the length of time you will watch a video before getting bored and exiting the video before completion?

The IAB’s Digital Video Ad Effectiveness Study examined how consumers interact with pre-roll. The study showed that 15 seconds tends to be the optimal length for digital video, whereas 5-second spots didn’t allow enough time to convey a message and 30-second videos caused users to lose interest. According to study findings, the 15-second length yielded the highest brand association and was the easiest for consumers to understand.

With video advertising surging into the mainstream, companies are exploring beyond the pre-roll for ways to deliver more effective video ads to people online. The solution called LivePods offered by Rhythm NewMedia has more to do with context and delivering video ads throughout the streaming of live events.

“With the explosion of authenticated apps, live streamed events are going to create a huge monetization opportunity in the mobile space,” said Eugene Youn, VP of business development at Rhythm. “Just imagine watching your favorite sports team playing a game or your favorite musician singing a live concert on your smartphone or tablet. It opens doors for new advertising opportunities.”

LivePods aims to combine several features into ads around live-streamed events like automation, dynamic insertion and interactivity, qualities that were previously lacking in the mobile live streaming ecosystem. It allows publishers to serve streaming ads during content as commercial breaks, much like television.

While a lot of other solutions provide the ability to insert ads into live streams, those solutions require a manual launch of the ad unit. According to Youn, “LivePods automates this process by working with cue tones to trigger ad pods automatically. Rhythm has always provided dynamic ad insertion for its in-stream units, a key component of effective ad targeting. The ability to serve the right ad to the right user at the right time at scale is a major differentiator from competitors who cache ads or simply broadcast the same ad to all users, regardless of audience attributes. Through dynamic overlays and clickable hotspots, interactive in-stream mobile ads in premium content have high completion and engagement rates.”

In order for publishers to get up and running, they need to use the LivePod SDK and the ad units themselves are very similar to in-stream video. In-stream and pre-roll is normally for on-demand content where live speaks to a different type of commitment from the consumer, looking for more contextual relevance.

eMarketer predicts that U.S. mobile video ad spend will surge to over $1.6 billion by 2015, highlighting the need for additional video inventory in the marketplace. As video formats work their way to the mobile platform, one issue that Zumobi is aiming to address is elegance and scale. The company announced this week a new ad format called the ZBi Expandable – Video Paso Doble, a way for publishers to inject video like movie clips and commercials into MRAID-compatible IAB ad units on mobile.

Consumers are shown an auto-expandable 320×180 Paso Doble ad unit with video that automatically plays (without audio). Once expanded a user can tap on the video to activate the full-screen video and audio experience, or else be directed to an external destination.The  ZBi Expandable – Paso Doble runs on any MRAID compliant app and the 1,000+ publishers on the Zumobi extended network.

“Our Paso Doble format was designed based on advertiser feedback to create an immersive video unit that could scale across our network and beyond,” said Ken WIllner, CEO of Zumobi. “We haven’t seen anything else like it on the market today, and brands understand the value of delivering high-quality video content into MRAID standard ad units. This provides a highly scalable and elegant alternative to pre-roll video or full-screen interstitials.”