1. Be aware of the options

There are various different types of interactive ad options, particularly for ads served before the main video (pre-rolls), that serve different purposes based on your goals and objectives.

Here are some examples of the most successful:

  • Polite Pre-Rolls: gives the viewer the option to dismiss the ad after a number of seconds. If the ad is dismissed, the viewer is provided with a way to re-engage with the ad later.
  • Ad Selector: The viewer chooses which version of multiple video ads to watch (e.g. can be a laptop ad with a theme of office, home or education; or can be multiple different products to choose from).
  • In-Stream Takeover: A rich media non-video format that takes over the full video stream allowing viewers to engage with a brands product in various ways. You don’t need to have video to advertise within the video stream. 

The simple element of introducing control or choice has had profound implications on the way consumers experience and perceive advertising.

The psychology behind the fact that offering a dismiss option actually results in higher retention rates (e.g. page abandonment rates can be reduced by much as 8%) is probably due to the more people feel they can control the experience, the more likely they are to watch it.

This is contrary to how most advertisers think. They are afraid to give people the power to opt out of their ad. Be brave!

The Ad Selector option is also a good way to build audience insights, as well as offering viewers greater control. Providing different options of an ad allows you to feature several different products or brands, or different versions for the same product/brand and see which viewer is attracted to which ad the most.

After many ads are served, you build up an insightful picture into the “who, what, where, why, and how” of your consumer base – which audiences were most drawn to which product, specific product preferences, and when and where the message was delivered to capture attention.

Advertisers have used such insights on user engagement and view through data on how one video and/or brand message compares to another to help drive strategy across all mediums, not just their online ads.

Interactive ads generally boast higher engagement rates than standard pre-rolls.

For example, in a Just for Men campaign that included both types, the interactive pre-roll delivered 10% higher engagement rates, was twice as effective at lifting brand awareness and achieved 42% higher brand favourability than the standard pre-roll.

Example of Just for Men video campaign

This makes sense, since the viewer can view, read and hear the message throughout the ad spot using an interactive unit. In contrast, a standard pre-roll leads to the viewer only being engaged when the brand message is explicitly delivered which is usually in the last two to five seconds of a spot.

This provides an immediate value to the in-stream video ad compared to the way a brand message is delivered in a standard pre-roll.

Furthermore, with interactive pre-roll, the user is self-electing to consume the brand messaging, resulting in a greater probability that they will engage with the call-to-actions – which, in interactive pre-roll, are more aesthetically and seamlessly presented than a standard pre-roll unit.

Overall, these features foster positive viewer experiences, generating a ‘stickiness’ that increases brand recall. 

2. Leave the door open

Instead of the ad just disappearing if a viewer chooses to dismiss it, provide them with an opportunity to re-engage with the ad or visit your website at their own convenience.

For example, make the ad resolve into a small unobtrusive ‘Ad reminder’ unit in the bottom left hand corner of the video. Within a larger format (such as a sniper unit), typically in the bottom right hand corner, you can also include a logo, brand message, and/or a call to action driving the viewer to your site.  

This method is relatively non-intrusive and doesn’t create an animosity towards the brand.

It’s very effective, as it leaves the viewer in control of the video viewing experience yet still provides value to the advertiser, particularly if the viewer is in an interested or purchase mind-set.

3. Be observant and responsive

In programmatic marketing, advertisers combine data with real-time systems to essentially automate the delivery of targeted ads. Not only does this mean you can target consumers with precision, but you can do so quickly and in a way that allows the campaign to be adjusted if it isn’t delivering.  

Interactive pre-rolls allow advertisers to quickly change their messages or call-to-actions to meet campaign targets whereas standard pre-rolls don’t allow this.

However, to take advantage you need to be aware of how a campaign is performing in real-time. This is extremely important in a progressively multi-screened world if you’re trying to maximize advertising across TV, computers, mobile and tablets. 

4. Go wide…

It almost goes without saying that the greater range of sites your ad appears on, the more likely you are to keep dismiss rates lower.

If you keep showing the same ads on the same site, to the same person without any frequency capping, it’s logical you are more likely to be serving it to the same people again and again, consequently, dismiss rates will be higher.  

5…then go international!

Interactive pre-rolls allow for the same ads to be adjusted for different regions and are easy to tailor for each audience without the associated costs.

This provides advertisers with a flexible, resourceful and global-centric campaign that maintains a consistent message despite differing geographies, particularly important as brands become more global in the digital age. 

Global adoption of interactive pre-roll has proven effective in numerous markets.

An AdoTube study, for example, revealed Russia had the highest interaction rates (8.6%), followed by 8.0% in Southeast Asia, 6.5% in the Middle East and 5.6% in India. Even the more mature English-speaking markets such as Australia, Canada, UK & the US also saw strong performance.

Engagement with interactive pre-rolls by country

6. Define your goals

Sounds ridiculously obvious but it’s important to define what your goals are for online video as different ad format, feature, and/or functionality offers a different strength for achieving campaign goals.

For example, if it’s people watching the entire video then 15-second spots have a higher completion rate than 30-second spots.

However, if you’re looking to drive traffic or engagement, then the 30-second spot, with interactive features, is typically more effective. However, what’s most critical is to realise certain goals can contradict each other.

For example, clickthrough rates and engagement rates are contradictory to achieving high viewthrough rates. So, you must think about the priorities of each goal, and weigh up the balance of different success metrics for achieving each goal. 

7. Be device-aware

Finally, it’s crucial to tailor the video ad message to complement the devices people are watching them on. The web and mobile devices are ‘lean forward’ experiences versus TV’s ‘lean back’ mode.

Combining the advantages of each leads to stronger brand awareness, engagement, purchase intent, and even conversion success. However, make sure you are managing performance in real-time to improve its effectiveness along the way.

In summary, there are plenty of techniques and options you can employ to maximise viewing of your video ads. It’s a case of being aware of them, there are probably more than you think.

Don’t be afraid to give people greater control over the viewing experience, and make sure you spread the distribution so you’re not serving to the same people repeatedly.