TubeMogul Reports Many Video Viewers Cant Stand Pre Roll pre roll ad 200x109 Ever wonder how many people wait through pre-roll advertisements vs. abandoning the video altogether?  TubeMogul took it upon themselves to see just how many people are watching those coveted and lucrative spots and you might be surprised by their findings.

Many ad networks probably track this exact statistic but don't want anyone to know exactly what the numbers are as they could impact business revenues. Meanwhile, TubeMogul spent 48 hours collecting data and then compiled it for us. For 1,797,560 video streams they tracked how many viewers clicked away before a 10-30 second pre-roll ad finish. Their findings?

Almost a full 16% of viewers split before the pre-roll rolls through. They'd rather go hunt down somewhere else it seems than sit through that pre-roll. Or they feel their time is too valuable and the actual content is not so waiting another 10-30 seconds just isn't worth it. When the content was coming from magazines and newspapers the pre-roll-pre-clickers spiked up to almost 25%!

It seems that they certainly aren't expecting anything in the videos there that they can't get elsewhere or just aren't putting enough stock in the content itself. TubeMogul did their research only on short-form video, longer than three but shorter than 10 minutes and did not do full-length TV episodes. They say that the ads were served by a range of top ad networks, including AdTech (US), BBE, Google and Tremor Media.

TubeMogul's Results Summarized

Some key data points:

  • Overall, 15.89% of viewers click away from a video rather than sit through a pre-roll ad.
  • The trend is far more pronounced with top magazines and newspapers, where 24.85% of viewers click away.
  • For large broadcasters, only 10.9% of viewers click away during an ad.
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This could certainly show that a banner ad on a video page could have better visibility and it also shows that runing pre-roll ads might cut down on the number of people actually watching both them and your content. A potential blow to the online ad industry to say the least considering the number of positive reports that have come out lately touting the power of pre-roll.

  • MainSpring Video

    This makes total sense. Why would a viewer want to sit through a 30-second ad to watch a short 3 minute video? I don't. It makes one angry. About 10 seconds in you decide it's just not worth it. Also hate those pop-up banner ads you have to click closed. If the banner ad is on the page itself, as a viewer, I'm much more tolerant of it (e.g. How Pandora does it).

  • Doc

    Take an adult picture, Chris. You look like a dik.

    • Christophor Rick

      awesome...because I don't care what people think :)

  • Doug Garnett

    These statistics sound quite optimistic to me. That only 16% are moving away? Seems low from what I hear in talking with consumers.

    Think you should emphasize your thought that it depends on how valuable they think the content will be. The comments left in reply clearly show that when a Hulu customer is holding to watch the latest episode of a show they've seen before, they'll wait. Because they KNOW the value of what they're waiting to see. (Hinting once again that Hulu's success purely rides the coat-tails of traditional TV.)

    But, if I'm waiting for video of unknown value from ANY news organization, I have little patience. When I'm waiting for a video from the Onion, I wait - partly because I know they have very short pre-rolls and because I trust the quality is worth waiting for.

    • Mark Robertson

      I totally agree with you. I was suprised at how low this was and actually
      think that it presents a good story for pre-roll advertisers. That being
      said, clearly, and to your point, this is going to depend entirely on the
      type of content, and the community viewing that content. Thanks for your
      insightful comment.

      • Doug Garnett

        There would be an interesting study for advertisers analyzing how the words around the video affect will affect willingness to wait through the pre-roll. If you write a statement about the what's valuable in the video, people will be more patient with pre-roll. Or, at least I'm more patient with long dull YouTube video's if I know the good stuff I want to view it for happens at, for example, :30 seconds into the vid.

    • zpzpzp

      great article, thanks! question:

      banner visability > 80% * (Total engagement for 15/30 secs waiting for a video)

      some clarity here would be awesome, what am I missing? i hard notice a banner ad, those video ads i'm stuck watching....some compounding effect of non-repeats?

  • sunward

    And how many push the mute button? How many go to another open web page and surf while the ad is playing? How many try to fast forward

    • Mark Robertson

      Yup - all good and valid questions....

  • M Meier

    Marketers should be wary of this research, because - although disclosed in the report - it's limited to a study of fewer than 2 million impressions in a 48-hour period on short-form content, across ad networks.

    It's unfortunate that such little research has been published to prove the impact of content on users' ad consumption; however, there are figures out there that show users are drastically less likely to abandon pre-roll ads when watching premium, long-form, and from-TV content.

    We should all take these numbers with a hefty grain of salt, given the extremely limited scope of the dataset.

    • Mark Robertson


      All great points - thanks for commenting. With all tubemogul research, I
      believe that readers should consider the context and source. You are right
      in that for Premium content (which I would argue is factored less in
      Tubemogul research), in-stream ads are much more expected and there is less
      abandonment. Hell, when Im on HULU - Ill wait 30 seconds to watch a full

      All good points and thanks again.