Video ads work best with banner back-up

Video campaigns that combine pre-roll and banner ads deliver the highest recall rates, according to research from Sky, the IAB and media research agency Decipher.

The study, conducted over 12 months, examined the branding effectiveness of five online video ad formats against short-form content.

Of the 6,000 respondents interviewed, nearly half (47%) recalled ads which used a combination of pre-roll and banners, although 44% said they remembered the ad when pre-roll alone was used.

Matt Simpson, chair of the IPA Digital Media Group and head of digital at OMD, said this questions whether it’s worth a brand investing the extra cost in a display ad to accompany the pre-roll, when the latter alone could suffice.

“Companion ads cost money and brands will want every pound spent to be as valuable as possible, so it raises the question of whether the cost of a companion ad is justified,” he said.

However, Hamish McPharlin, Decipher’s director of research, said companion ads are effective if only slightly boosting ad recall. “Banners may not be as immersive as pre-rolls but they help prolong dwell time and provide that critical click-through,” he said.

Just under half of the respondents (43%) recalled branded video player ads, such as in-skin wraparounds, compared to 37% for post-rolls and 36% for in-stream overlays.

The research tracked 24 campaigns from 11 brands in FMCG, finance, motoring, technology and travel sectors across Sky Sports and News, Sky 1, Sky Showbiz and non-branded sites Golf 365 and Planet Rugby.

Five video ad formats were examined. Of the 2,400 people who recalled a video ad, 6% claimed they then clicked through to make an immediate purchase, while over half (54%) said they either delayed purchase or wanted to investigate the brand further in their own time.

Dwell time is highest on branded video players, according to the research, which in turn deliver better direct response, with an average 1.23% click-though rate across all campaigns. Pre-rolls combined with companion banners generated a 0.89% click-through rate, followed by post-roll at 0.83% and pre-roll on its own at 0.77%. Overlays were the least effective, averaging a 0.16% click-through rate.

Jack Wallington, IAB’s head of industry programmes, said the industry has been calling out for research of this nature to help determine which format will suit a brand’s campaign objectives.

“Pre-, mid- and post-roll ads are all about branding and are a fantastic way to get a message across, whereas branded video players have a high dwell time and encourage better click-through and interaction,” he said.

Quality content remains a key driver of ad performance, according to the study, with 10% of respondents more likely to remember the ad if they enjoyed it.

Viewers are least tolerant of ads around user-generated content, with 83% of those who recalled ads saying they found them inappropriate around content posted by others.

Almost half of those who recalled ads (47%) said they were appropriate around entertainment clips, and 46% around TV programmes.

Over two-fifth of respondents (44%) said they recalled ads at work, compared to 39% who recalled them at home. However, click-through rates were higher at home, with respondents saying they’re more willing to alter their online journey when at home relaxing.

Users’ journey to content was also found to affect brand recall, with over half (53%) recalling an ad when directed there from a specific link, while just under half (48%) remembered ads when looking specifically for certain content. Nearly a third of users (39%) recalled an ad when they were just browsing content.

This story first appeared on

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