The Future of In-Video Advertising on Social


The paid advertising landscape is changing and this time it’s all about video.

Two big announcements have rocked the video world…

  1. Facebook is introducing mid-roll video ads
  2. Youtube is scrapping 30 sec pre-roll video ads in favour of 6 sec – 20 sec.

It’s clear to see that Facebook is ramping up its efforts to take on Youtube. Youtube, in turn, is reacting by reforming its advertising options in line with platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook, which encourage advertisers to create short ads for their sites instead of trying to replicate TV ads.

This is big news for publishers, who are probably now rethinking the way they’ll be monetizing their content in the future. Or at least, they should be.


What’s better for advertisers, and less annoying for our consumers? Pre-roll, mid-roll, or post- roll advertising?

Let’s face it pre-roll ads are annoying – especially if the viewer can’t skip them straight away, and most of the time the advertiser has used a truncated TV ad that doesn’t get their message across before viewers hit the skip button.

Post-roll ads are more viewer-friendly – but mainly because it’s easier to abandon it. Once they’ve got the content they wanted, how many are going to stick around to view your ad? The beginning of the advert would have to be something pretty special to keep the viewer engaged unless they had to watch it too see the next video.

Finally, Facebook’s preference; the mid-roll advert. The mid-roll advert has one major advantage over its counterparts, in that viewers have already invested time viewing the content and will want to see the rest. Of course, this relies on the quality of the content. If the viewer is only half-invested, it’s likely the interruption will simply encourage them to abandon the content altogether, at a detriment to both the publisher and the advertiser.


But what do the lovely people on Twitter think?

Well, the votes are in and you probably won’t be shocked to see that people find mid-roll ads the most annoying, with 80% of the vote.

Which begs the question of who has got their video advertising strategy right, Youtube or Facebook? If mid-roll adverts are the most annoying to the viewer, then they better be more effective than pre-roll and post-roll for them to be worthwhile for advertisers.

To ensure minimal annoyance, make sure you’ve nailed the following…

  • Targeting – Make sure your targeting is relevant to your intended audience. There is nothing more annoying than being targeted with an irrelevant ad, and then having to sit through 30 seconds of an ad about food for your imaginary dog.
  • Creative – People don’t want to watch adverts, so make sure they are engaging and compliment the video they are interrupting. The first few seconds count and could be the difference between someone flicking to something else or staying. The video’s audio should also not be too loud or annoying, or people are just going to hit mute. Give them a reason not to.
  • Duration – Depending on your proximity to the bathroom or kitchen, 30 secs could be the ideal time to relieve yourself or grab a snack (don’t do both). Unless you are Hussein Bolt you probably couldn’t do the above in 6 – 15 secs. The shorter an ad is, the more likely viewers are to stay and watch it, so make sure you get your point across as soon as you can.


Remember that social isn’t TV advertising, so don’t treat it like it is. Invest the time and creativity to make it stand out. Social advertising should be considered in its own right at the beginning of campaigns, and not bolted on the end as an extra. Too many brands just chop their TV adverts up and think they will work on social, forgetting that they are using an interactive platform. You don’t have to give the customer all the answers in the ad – after all, they have all the information in the world at their fingertips. But you must grab their attention, and give them a reason to find out more.


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