Pre-Roll the Most Informative & Engaging Video Ad Format

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IPG Media Lab, the creative technology arm of IPG Mediabrands, in partnership with the video advertising specialists at YuMe Inc, recently announced the results of a scientific media trial examining the impact and value of pre-roll, mid-roll, outstream and social video across multiple screens, including mobile and PC. The resulting report, entitled “Navigating The New Digital Video Landscape,” reveals key areas for digital growth, including the user experience across video ad formats and devices, performance against brand KPIs, and strategy optimisation.


As brands continue to identify the most impactful video advertising formats, the report shared detailed insights about which format elicits the strongest consumer reaction. Among the key findings in the study, which included brands such as Ghirardelli’s and H&M, is that pre-roll remains a solid, formidable platform for brands. In fact, compared to mid-roll and outstream, pre-roll is considered the least interruptive video advertising platform across devices, with only 17% of mobile device users feeling the ad interrupts the content, compared with 60% on outstream and 72% on mid-roll.


Michael Hudes, Chief Revenue Officer at YuMe, said: “We are big advocates of marketers using a mix of video formats and strategies to effectively reach target audiences, but it also comes as no surprise that pre-roll remains a dominant cornerstone in a multi-format approach. This artful balance of formats meets brand objectives while delivering memorable experiences for consumers. Through this trial, we’ve been able to clearly outline and reveal the power and impact of video formats across devices. This type of data and insights will prove invaluable for brands continuing to innovate in this space.”


Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions Strategy at MAGNA, the centralised IPG Mediabrands resource that develops intelligence, investment and innovation strategies, added: “The results of this media trial offer unique and compelling insights that brands will be able to leverage across platforms. User experience is not only critical to individual brand success, but also to the success of the industry as a whole. Brands can now make even more informed, data-driven decisions in order to better connect with audiences and create better user experiences at the same time.”


Key insights gained from the media trial, which accounted for not only a wide-array of video formats, with five in total, but also 12 ad strategies, such as contextual relevance, ad length and creative type, included:



  • Our old video standard, unskippable pre-roll, is the clear winner on mobile and desktops as an informative, engaging and relevant format.

  • Despite being less intrusive than mid-roll and outstream formats, it achieves the greatest break-through (ad recall).

  • 54% of consumers found pre-roll ads on mobile engaging, compared to 37% and 44% on outstream and mid-roll, respectively.

  • Even with pre-roll being such a strong format, the multi-format exposure of a pre-roll ad followed by an outstream ad performs equally as well as 2 pre-roll exposures.



  • Consumers have mixed attitudes about mid-roll. It feels most intrusive, but consumers were less likely to want to close out the ad immediately compared to the newer outstream.

  • Mid-roll communicates brand messages particularly well on larger, more TV-like screens.

  • Mid-roll ranked higher in message recall for desktop viewers at 27%, compared to 8% for outstream.


Social video

  • Social video offers a unique environment on mobile, allowing ads to feel the most integrated with the content.

  • 67% of viewers agreed that social video did not disturb their browsing experience compared to 53% who agree for pre-roll.



  • Outstream is rated much more positively among those who complete the video, indicating targeting is key.

    • When consumers complete the oustream video, they are about 3x more likely to remember the ad.

  • Outstream appears to miss out on the novelty effect we often see with new ad products. Consumers already feel quite familiar with outstream and user experience scores were lowest compared to other ad formats.

  • *

    Clear best practices for outstream emerged, such as:

    • Ensuring outstream ads run in contextually relevant articles (e.g., video ad for restaurant in article about food)

    • PC provides a better canvas for outstream than mobile

    • Branded content performs particularly well in this format compared to traditional vide ads.


In conducting the media trial, a total of 6,864 users were recruited from a representative online panel. The survey directed participants to a media experience of their choosing, where they were able to view a webpage and watch video content based on their interests. Each participant was randomised into a test cell that determined what type of video they saw. Passive data collection took place during the ad experience, such as completion rates and time in view. Afterwards, participants completed a survey that measured traditional branding metrics and qualitative feedback.



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