I was just perusing a report from FreeWheel that pertains to online video monetization for Q1 2012 and there were some surprising things in it. For example, mid-roll video ad placements are on the rise, but mostly due to more long form video content being available, not because they're more effective, etc.
Right now, I'm in the planning stages of my own original web series and length of each episode was a topic of discussion with the team (really, there's just two of us at present). I'm leaning more toward a longer episode while the other person was thinking shorter. The fact that there's more long form video moving online and people are consuming it now gives me some data to push back for my longer episode format.
The Rise of The Mid-Roll Video Ad & Long-Form Content
Combined with the longer content is the fact that there's more mid-roll inventory available, it's a logical assumption to me. The mid-roll inventory outpaced pre-roll inventory growth by a wide margin, like 115% to just 45% year-over-year Q1 2011 to Q1 2012.
Personally, I'm willing to put up with a mid-roll ad break, provided it's 60 seconds or less, when the content is 20 minutes or more in length. That's also assuming there was a pre-roll which I'm far less fond of because if it's on something I haven't seen before I feel like I'm being forced into it and I might only watch two minutes of content because I don't like it. Giving me a mid-roll instead of a pre-roll makes me less likely skip out of the video. Perhaps we'll see a new ad option this year that asks the viewer if they prefer a pre-roll versus a mid-roll ad. That would certainly be something new.
There has been much research on pre-rolls in the past year or so, it's nice to see a shift toward mid-rolls. It means the online video industry is maturing in that viewers are more willing to watch long form content online. With that comes more advertising opportunities as well which means there are placements enough to draw more advertising money into it. Mid-rolls are around 23% of all video ad views and that's great news because it shows a definite growth in long form viewing online. It's even up 4% from Q4 2011.
Video Ad Completion Rates Steady, Mid-Roll Completion >85%
On top of all that, video ad completion rates are stable meaning that viewers aren't feeling like the ad loads are so heavy as to be off-putting. To me that also means that the video content itself is long enough to support the ads though Hulu is certainly pushing the limits of acceptability with their ad loads.
To me this is great news and combined with some recent announcements about Internet Gross Rating Points (iGRP) metrics coming, TV advertisers should clearly see that online video advertising is a viable option to get their brand message out.