A study examining 5 leading advertisers who served the same creative message in both pre-roll and native advertising formats has found that the native videos drove higher brand lift in each of the 5 campaigns. The study, by Sharethrough, which utilized Nielsen brand lift metrics, discovered that pre-roll videos drove little to no brand lift. In fact, those exposed to pre-rolls were more likely to have a negative view of the brand than those who had not been exposed to the campaign.
Sharethrough attributes that finding to users preferring the choice offered by native video ads (which are user-initiated and do not have a limit on video length) versus the interruption of pre-rolls (which auto-play before user-selected video content).
In one campaign involving a non-alcoholic beverage brand, native ads generated 82% brand lift among users exposed to them compared to a group not exposed to the campaign (46.2% vs. 25.4%), whereas the pre-roll units could only manage a 2.1% brand lift (25.9% vs. 25.4%). In another campaign involving a CPG brand, purchase intent was 42.2% higher among those exposed to the native ads (45.8% vs. 32.2%), while it was about 14% lower among those exposed to the pre-roll unit.
The findings regarding pre-roll units stand in contrast to a recent study by TubeMogul, which found evidence that pre-rolls contribute to brand lift, particular when the ads are completed. Given the importance of completion rates, it’s a shame that the Sharethrough study didn’t measure native ads against mid-roll ads, given that mid-rolls tend to have higher completion rates than pre-rolls. It’s also worth noting that the “started rate” for auto initiated videos is several times higher than for user initiated videos, per a recent benchmark report from DG MediaMind.