Good-bye PreRoll

Are the days of pre-roll numbered?  YouTube Red is a new $10/month subscription service that offers YouTube videos and Google Music without ads. It’s a move toward a different model, a subscription service.

YouTube as we know dominates pre-roll supply – even for pre-roll sold by video ad networks. If the number of YouTube subscribers grows fast, pre-roll ad supply will decline. However history has shown that not many users pay to avoid ads. So we don’t know yet. Either way we think our InArticle format, which has become so successful on the sites that have deployed it, is a better alternative to pre-roll anyway. Certainly a far better demographic of viewers on these top tier news sites than the YouTube tweens. ZINC InArticle unit makes possible an ad-supported business model without destroying the user experience. Unlike preroll, InArticle does not take you out of the stream of your activity. So you watch the ad with some genuine interest. It’s a format that advertisers like and increasingly refer to outstream.

YouTube is a destination site for only a small percentage of its users. Those users, perhaps the most important ones for YouTube, are the least likely to buy products marketed by brands, as they are tweens and teens who have come to see PewDiePie and play the same music video repeatedly. And then there are some users who go to YouTube when they have a few minutes of down time, and want to see something short while waiting in a line or waiting for the train.

But for most, YouTube is a place to go at the end of a link from something else, and it is an interruption even to click on the link to see the video.No wonder people are angry. Preroll blocks them from what they’ve come to do. How can they possibly feel positive about a brand that stymies them? It’s a wonder marketers even buy preroll at all. It’s the video equivalent of hateful page takeovers.

Yet these people, people with purpose, are the ones brands want to reach. They have come to do something specific, and they’ve already been interrupted once. It’s almost an insult to have preroll interrupt them again, and they know it. These are the people using ad blockers.

This is why we think our in Article format, among other native advertising formats, has become so successful on the sites that have deployed it. It makes possible an ad-supported business model without destroying the user experience. Unlike preroll, inArticle does not take you out of the stream of your activity. It’s a format much like Facebook video ads, which appear in the stream without audio and thus seem more like a part of the user experience.