Digital and mobile video advertising budgets are up 53% compared to 2016, according to one recent IAB study. And a lot of that increase is being put into native, outstream video — as much as 68% of the total spend, and that number is rising year-over-year. The increase, it appears is coming at the sacrifice of pre-roll ads.
Consumer dislike for pre-roll ads is nothing new, of course. Back in 2013, Burger King based an entire campaign around the concept. Facebook isn’t a fan of the format, and neither is Snapchat, though the latter recently got around this fact by deploying ads you can’t skip. Google’s followed suit, mixed in with its skippable ads after five seconds.
Unfortunately, this plays right into the anti-advertiser atmosphere that led to more ad-blocking in the first place. By making ads un-skippable, brands and platforms eschew consumer preference for messaging by force. It’s a no-win situation as consumers become adamant that they won’t pay attention, no matter how good the creative may be. They’re responding to intrusive formats in the most damaging way possible for advertisers, too: completely tuning out.
Magna says that 66% of users skip pre-rolls, and 75% don’t even wait to see if the content’s relevant before moving on. These behaviors relegate advertising to white noise. But it’s not the consumers’ fault they want to get away from these tactics. Utilizing formats that disrupt media experiences disrespect the user. And why would you do business with anyone that disrespects you?
The counterpoint to this idea, of course is to just give consumers what they want. They’ll accept ads if they’re respectful, native experiences that feel like a natural fit with their chosen media. It’s just one reason why outstream is growing at such a rapid rate right now. Consumers have control over their interaction with it, and it doesn’t disrupt from their content.
Attention spans are limited today, and ads have a very short window to earn eyeballs and trust. Short–form video is able to satisfy this demand and deliver better results — brands just need the right formula to make this happen in 10 seconds or less.
This is where consumer preference for native video is so critical. Pre-rolls present a forced reason to wait for the intended viewing experience. Outstream video is a polite reason to pause, if one chooses to.
And the case for native is being made stronger every day. One study in 2016 said that 85 percent of Americans found social media, news aggregators and in-app ads to be annoying — and that was well before recent privacy snafus on social networks were exposed. Facebook, in particular, wants to take an active role in showing you fewer ads (their own commercials say as much).
Native advertising made up 54 percent of digital display ad spending in 2017, and it’s set to hit 58.3 percent ($32.9 billion) this year — and 61.4 percent for 2019. Most notably, 90 percent of that native spend is going to be on mobile (rather than social media). With that in mind, the pre-roll market is likely to shrink even quicker for those still hanging onto the format.
The rising tide you’re seeing in digital advertising comes from consumer preference, not obligatory experiences. Moving outside of the confinements of pre-roll ushers in the type of creativity consumers actually respond to. For brands that aren’t listening at this point, when are you going to start?