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May 21, 2019

Insights on Getting the Most out of your Pre-Roll Video

by Tony Treadway

What makes a pre-roll that users usually skip after five seconds go through completion? That is the secret sauce that any marketer would cherish. Let me admit that it’s a passion of mine as well.

We’ve been experimenting and think we have found the answer.

The case was for a frozen pasta client whose quality ingredients far exceed the competition even if their raviolis aren’t the cheapest in the freezer case. Supporting the brand within selected retailers, our approach was focused on relevance to upscale consumers that retailers covet.

Insights on Relevance

The media planning process identified three key retailers whose upscale target consumers and the Parla Pasta brand were aligned. We listened to Parla customer input through social listening that Parla products delivered authentic flavor through superior ingredients to busy lives. Thus, messaging and targeting would play on the brand’s strength—superior quality in minutes.

By leveraging third-party barcode scan data, we identified high-income females who are heavy users of competitor stuffed frozen pasta. Another filter added was to select only those who live within three miles of any of our three targeted retailers, because nearly 80 percent of a supermarket’s customers living within the radius—driving relevance of the content to be delivered through programmatic pre-rolls. A cable TV spot buy within markets heavily saturated by the three retailers selected Food Network, Hallmark and Lifetime channel viewers.

For pre-rolls, the gamble was to deploy a 30 rather than a 15-second pre-roll because insight drove the data-driven instinct that “this will work”. We weren’t disappointed.

Insightful Messaging

The creative messaging began with the visual. Understanding that pre-roll ad users can skip most ads after five seconds, our team reached for a unique visual from the start. A special macro lens helped build a theme park-like ride along a path of ravioli ingredients. Chunks of Parmesan and Romano cheese. Peppercorns and other spices. Fresh spinach. All beautifully-styled for macro level close up amid a romantic pull back. A mystic soundtrack and engaging voice built the story further. Here was the result of the work. What do you think?

The post-buy analysis involved more than 2.6 million impression exclusively through pre-rolls. While the benchmark for video completion rates (VCRs) on pre-rolls is as low as 50 percent according to eMarketer, this campaign delivered a 73 percent completion rate. Delivering a 23 percent over-performance was a significant win for the client and sales of the products made a double-digit increase during the period.

The learnings on relevance and messaging in this case is important for three reasons. This year more than half of all programmatic ads will involve video according to eMarketer. Now at about $28 billion in digital video ad spending, the segment is projected to grow to $58 billion by 2023. About 83 percent of all Internet users are actively engaged in streaming video usage and with more choices for viewing pre-rolls emerging constantly, every lesson learns by an agency and its clients is a gem that can drive more awareness and sales.