We all think we know what pre-roll video ads look like. We click on a video clip and the 0:15 or 0:30 second ad that plays in a large video player in the top left part of our screen is a pre-roll ad. That’s what most brand marketers think they are getting when they buy pre-roll video ads, but it’s often not the case.
Many video advertising vendors are using “Fake Pre-Rolls” to fulfill campaigns. Fake Pre-Rolls are video ads that auto-play on a web page where the viewer has shown no intent to watch the ad or the content after the ad. They are typically run within banner ad units or in small, syndicated players below the fold.
FakePreRoll.com will showcase instances where vendors have run “fake pre-rolls”. By shining light on the issue, we hope that marketers and agencies will demand more transparency from their vendors to better understand what type of pre-roll they are buying.
TubeMogul has multiple controls in place to ensure that its clients’ pre-roll video ads never run in these auto-play banner units, unless they have specifically chosen this format. Our SiteSafe system includes manual screening to flag sites that use this ad unit and our PlaySafe technology is continually screening for video player size to ensure we do not serve pre-roll ads within these units.
Despite these controls, TubeMogul has suffered the rare instance where we have mistakenly served a client’s pre-roll ad in one of these units. However, we always take immediate steps to address the mistake and provide the advertiser with make-goods on the impressions. The first example on FakePreRoll.com will show an example of one of our own ads within a “fake pre-roll” ad unit (also shown below).
This practice – delivering auto-play pre-roll when an advertiser thought they were buying user-initiated pre-roll – is detrimental to a brand’s video campaign and our industry can do better. We hope FakePreRoll.com can play a role in reducing this deceptive practice.