The Pre-Roll Fad

We know, old habits die hard. Especially when you can cut the line.

Because they’re used to a world of red-tagged mail and election window pricing for TV, some political folks don’t worry about placing online ads until after Labor Day.

But the Internet changes everything. Online ads can and do sell out as The National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher explains.

Now, he’s talking mostly about one specific kind of ad: Video pre-roll for 2016. And video pre-roll has benefits – it looks like TV so it’s a comfortable transition to online. But it also has limits.

The biggest limit: Many online videos are never seen.

The good folks at Google recently said that 46% of video pre-roll is NOT viewed by a live human. Now, The Google is out to boost ad buys on its YouTube channel so they’ve got a dog in the fight. But they are also the premier ad delivery servicee. Everyone – yup, even us – uses Google’s DoubleClick to serve ads and monitor performance.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this.

Last year, the New York Times ran a story saying that some video pre-roll was never seen.

And we can’t say this often enough: Using voter roll or demographic targeting for your pre-roll distribution doesn’t guarantee it will be seen. Regardless of vendor, of matching partners or technology, those pre-roll ad buys run on the same delivery and buying networks that The Times and Google are monitoring.

Team Spot-On takes a different view of this pre-roll fad. It’s a fad, for starters. Too many people are buying the same stuff for the same reason which triples prices immediate before an election – after Labor Day. So a gang of people are bidding against each other, paying top dollar for ads placements that, well, disappear. Like Beanie Babies, it can’t last.

There are alternatives: Rich media placements that have in-banner video or animation; roadblocks that carry a message for 24 hours, fixed on local news pages, above-the-fold ads bought directly from outlets and monitored daily. All are good, sound alternatives to pre-roll. And many are far less expensive.

More importantly, they’re seen.

What’s all this mean? Well, plan ahead – further ahead than you may have thought necessary in previous elections. Even if you want a lot of pre-roll buy early and save money.

We’re always happy to chat more about buying strategies and way to make your campaign dollar go further. Give us a shout.

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