Will people eventually get used to pre-roll ads?

by Nigel Hollis | September 06, 2017

I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day and he suggested that pre-roll ads on YouTube were getting longer. Then he suggested that this was part of a deliberate program to inure people to watching ads on digital devices. I have to admit I found both claims surprising but maybe he is right?

From my industry perspective, my assumption was that pre-roll ads were getting shorter. After all, only earlier this year Google launched the new 6 second bumper ads. However, not all non-skippable ads are short. According to YouTube you can have a non-skippable ad up to 30 seconds in length, and, as Dan Solomon notes in the Fast Company article,

“If you’ve come to Google to watch something else, then an ad that runs 15, 30, or even 60 seconds can feel like an eternity.”


So maybe my friend is just watching content that attracts longer, non-skippable videos. He referenced wanting to play a popular music video for his son and it would make sense that ad length varies with the popularity of the content. People will be more likely to stick around and wait for something they really want to watch. Even so, this has to be a self-defeating strategy. Forcing someone to watch an ad for 30 seconds seems likely to evoke frustration, not the most positive mindset for effective communication.

But what about the other claim that there is a deliberate program to inure people to longer digital advertising formats? I have no idea if there is such a program, but my real question is would people get used to longer ads or is there something about watching stuff on a digital device that means we are more likely to resent the intrusion of advertising?

We know from AdReaction Gen X, Y, Z that people are less receptive to non-skippable ad formats. 61 percent of people claim to skip ads whenever they can. And the younger, mobile-forward generation seem to resent the intrusion even more. Behaviorally they certainly are quicker off the mark to skip videos than the older generations. I believe marketers have to respect that mindset and work with the skip and craft videos which engage people’s attention early, create anticipation and hold their attention long enough to deliver a lasting impression.

I find it difficult to believe that this skip quick mindset is going to change, however, as my friend said, people will get used to anything over time. Sad but true, I guess. I have never liked flying but it does not freak me out the way it used to simply because I have spent so many hours stuck on a plane. But what do you think? Would people get used to longer, non-skippable ad formats? Please share your thoughts. 

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