Pre-Roll is the Most Engaging Video Ad Format say YuMe and IPG

18 April, 2017 

Pre-roll is considered the least interruptive video format across devices, at least when compared to mid-roll and outstream ads, according to new research by video ad platform YuMe and IPG Media Lab, the creative arm of IPG Mediabrands. Only 17 percent of mobile device users said they felt the ad interrupts the content, compared with 60 percent on outstream and 72 percent on mid-roll. Whilst the results might seem counterintuitive at first, it seems fair enough when you consider that with short-form video users are typically left to enjoy their content after viewing an ad.

Impact on Ad Recall

Some of the key findings from the study also included:


Good old-fashioned unskippable pre-roll was found to be 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 were found to have attitudes when it comes to mid-roll. They said it feels the 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 was found to be a unique environment on mobile and is  particularly strong when it comes to allowing ads to feel more integrated with the content.

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


Outstream was rated much more positively among those who complete the video, which emphasises the importance of targeting. The study found that when consumers complete the oustream video, they are three times more likely to remember the ad. However, outstream also appears to miss out on the ‘novelty effect’ that advertisers typically see with new ad products.

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)
  • Desktop provides a better canvas for outstream than mobile
  • Branded content performs particularly well in this format compared to traditional video ads

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,” said Michael Hudes, Chief Revenue Officer, YuMe. “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.”


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