Mid-roll video ads bring revenue gains for content publishers, but the jury is still out on their overall effectiveness.
B2B Marketers seeking to invest more in video advertising will be on target in 2018. Current trends in video ad spending in the US is expected to reach $15.42 billion this year and nearly $22.18 billion by 2021.
Yet, will video advertising give content publishers the best return on their investment?
By many measurements, mid-roll advertising offers solid returns, according to a report in eMarketer.
What is a mid-roll ad?
Mid-roll simply means advertisers have the option to run their ads not only at the beginning of a video but also during the middle “mid-roll.”
The theory is that since viewers have already engaged with some of the video content when they reach a mid-roll with a large chunk of video remaining, there is a good chance that they are more likely to view the ad.
Learn three reasons why mid-roll advertising is a cost-effective marketing investment in 2018.
Viewers More Likely to Watch Mid-Roll Ads Completely
Mid-roll ads enjoy a higher completion rate than both pre- and post-roll ads.
In other words, if viewers make it to a mid-roll ad, it means they have remained engaged in roughly half of the video content. Because they are now invested in the content, particularly if the content is fresh and engaging, they are more willing to watch the ad to return to the content.
According to Recode, ongoing mid-roll ad tests in Facebook videos – 90-second video with a 20-second mid-roll ad clip – are quickly approaching the norm.
Let’s look at the following Visa ad as a great example of the length of a mid-roll video on Facebook.
Prior to running this ad, the marketers implemented placement tests to improve ad view duration and message retention.
This ad is only 10 seconds long so it doesn’t take up too much of the user’s time before their attention starts to move elsewhere.
The advertisers targeted millennials, and the ad was created with a sound-off play option with text overlays. Not only are users able to engage with a click to listen but also those who are hard of hearing or deaf know what the video is about.
Timing for Mid-Roll Video Ads Resemble TV Advertisements
Mid-roll ads also fit into the general schedule that viewers are accustomed to on TV. TV viewers are familiar with mid-roll ads that do not bother the viewer in the way other advertisements might.
Additional Reading: How to Fuse TV and Social for Blockbuster
The global media agency MediaCom has been testing mid-roll ad breaks for clients according to an article in Digiday.
They reported that clients have been satisfied with the results, particularly around view-ability, which in some cases has doubled from industry standards of around 30% for social video, as people are waiting for content they are willing to watch.
Additionally, Mediacom was just named Global Media Agency of the Year by AdWeek on Feb. 18 so it will be interesting to watch for their ongoing testing and implementation of mid-roll ad breaks for clients.
Mid-Roll Video Ads Mesh With Video Content on Social Media Platforms
Current research points to the huge potential of video advertising and social media platforms with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (73.9%) by eMarketer using Google's video YouTube – or Vimeo – to watch video content.
While video engagement is something of a moving target, according to market research from video marketers Wyzowl, YouTube and Facebook remain the two most effective video platforms for B2B marketers.
Additional Reading: The 7 Most Influential Advertising Mediums for 2018
Most recently, social media giant Facebook started running tests of mid-roll video ads inside live video broadcasts from top publishing partners, the company confirmed this month.
Despite Benefits of Mid-Roll Video Ads, Downsides Exist
Some publishers who tested mid-roll advertising experienced disadvantages that may outweigh the benefits. Here are three downsides to mid-roll video ads that you should consider before implementing the strategy for your business.
1. May Generate Limited Revenue
One publisher found that using mid-roll ads did not generate nearly enough revenue to cement the format into its long-term publishing strategy, Digiday reports.
The reason? Facebook hopes to glean the revenue that publishers should make through Facebook’s commission structure and through its method of promoting posts.
“Your mid-roll audience opportunity is immediately halved,” said one publisher. “If mid-roll is a way to placate media owners and give them an opportunity to make money off content, then the content you can make money off is so limited because you’ll have to pay the way to get into the feed. It’s classic Facebook — it gives with one hand and takes with the other.”
It's classic Facebook – it gives with one hand and takes with the other.
Revenue sharing decreases the amount of money your business will make using mid-roll video ads on Facebook.
This leaves how content publishers can recoup their investments back from social media platforms unknown.
2. Best Ad Placement Remains Uncertain
Citing the potential of video engagement, content publishers still remain uncertain as to the best practices for deploying ads in video content with ad placement being one of their biggest concerns.
3. Consumer Tolerance for Mid-Roll Video Ads Is Unknown
Further, online marketers continue to test their strategies to see what consumers will tolerate and where ads can deliver strong results.
Success of Mid-Roll Ads Uncertain But Worth A Try
Although it is hard to imagine any approach to producing videos that can both hook the viewer, and then almost immediately break for a commercial, mid-roll ads fit the general schedule that viewers have been engaging in for generations.
Television shows are interrupted midway by advertisements, and this does not prevent viewers from continuing to watch the show.
In fact, statistically, mid-roll ads enjoy a higher completion rate than both pre- and post-roll ads. Viewers have already watched some of the video content; if they make it to a mid-roll ad, it means they have remained engaged in roughly half of the video. Because such a large chunk of video remains, they are more willing to be patient.
While some publishers and advertisers see that mid-roll ads run the risk of interruption mid-stream, the format also motivates publishers to create more fresh and interesting content.