In a none-too-enlightening piece examining the pre-roll conundrum in video advertising, The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) makes a statement today that sums up just how much ignorance there is out there regarding online advertising.
“What makes pre-rolls attractive to advertisers — but off-putting to viewers — is that they don’t allow fast-forwarding,” says the Journal.
Excuse me, but if pre-rolls are off-putting to their intended audience, what the heck is the benefit to advertisers, the very people trying to reach that audience?
At least our own Dorian Sweet gets it (but then, he always does). “They don’t have a channel flipper or a mute button, but they do have the ability to just completely ignore it and go to someplace else,” Dorian told the WSJ.
It’s not just the length of the pre-roll (often longer than the video segment a user is trying to get at). Frequency caps on all those pre-rolls would help, too, an angle the Journal story completely (and bafflingly) overlooks.
They're arguably the most annoying video ad formats in existence, but soon they'll be a thing of the past, at least on YouTube.
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