Higher Revenues Without Pre-Roll


You might not recognize it at first, but every day millions of consumers watching videos online go through that same process to skip pre-roll ads.  The screams of anguish you may occasionally hear come from viewers that are forced to watch a 15- or 30-second pre-roll commercial.  We can all thank YouTube for training us to skip the ad after 5 seconds.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know this is a familiar refrain – death to pre-roll!  But while we can only hope for the day that the intrusiveness of pre-roll will be behind us, it’s not happening any time soon.  Not when media companies rake in $100’s of millions of dollars in advertising each year off the back of pre-roll ads.

What to do?

Deliver a better experience for advertisers and viewers while keeping revenues and profits high.  Win.  Win. Win.

Umm, yeah…and a horse is going to win the Triple Crown this year. Wait…really?  Seriously?  Maybe it is possible.

I talk about making it a win-win-win scenario frequently.  Today I’m going to outline how to make it happen.

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re getting up to a $30 CPM on your pre-roll video.  One-thousand viewers are each going to see that pre-roll video one time and you’re going to get $30 for it.

Now let’s assume that your display ads are getting a $12 CPM.  With a Multipop’d video, that same piece of video content now shows three banner ads during playback.  

$30 < $36


Three banner ads at $12 each is $36.  All of them are served within the same video. Not only are you driving 3x on the impressions, but you’re actually making 20% more gross revenue on the sale.

I guess so. But isn’t a 15 or 30-second pre-roll video more memorable than a banner ad? I mean, it’s a video.  People like that, right?

No.  No, they don’t.  Viewers are skipping pre-roll over 90% of the time, employing ad blockers at higher and higher rates, and doing anything they can to avoid pre-roll.  This doesn’t even begin to address the discussion about viewability.

From a sales perspective, Multipop offers two distinct advantages.  First, you can’t turn it off.  All the sales inventory, added content, and cool interactivity is always on.  We call that guaranteed viewability. (More on that later.)

Second, creative sales teams who can think strategically about giving clients more value for their dollar will see that adding value via sponsored votes, for example, offers clients more impressions (impressions that can be engaged with, by the way) not currently available when you’re only serving one pre-roll video at a time.

Let’s look at real numbers.   The average CPM for pre-roll is $25 and the average CPM for display ads is $10.1  For our strategy to fail, one of two things would have to happen:

First, you’re selling pre-roll at a rate that’s 4 or more times greater than display.  Possible. But it still doesn’t address the fact that viewers aren’t giving pre-roll more than 5 seconds of time or that pre-roll is a one-dimensional medium.2

Second, viewers would have to be completing less than 50% of the videos watched.  (This assumes you’ve placed display ads within Multipop at the opening, 25% and 50% marks so three impressions were delivered in the first 50% of the video.)  Also, possible, but less likely considering that the average video completion rate is higher.  

This where Multipop’s 100% viewability statistic is really valuable.  With Multipop, our viewability rate is 100% or 0%.  There’s no in between.  Ads, and other content, are only counted when they are served, and ads are either served or not.  When the video reaches the assigned time, the ad is served.  We don’t waste time with some of these half-assed measures of viewability.  It’s a simple yes or no answer.

This isn’t an either/ or choice:  pre-roll or no pre-roll.  This is one part corporate strategy plus one part evolution of video ad sales with a pinch of positive user experience and a dash of staying ahead of the curve.

Large ad sellers are fighting a war on multiple fronts:  anti-pre-roll sentiment, viewability, ad blockers, audience engagement, agency buyers that only care about impressions, new sales inventory coming online each week.  It’s exhausting.

We want to put our money where our mouths are.  Work with us on a 60-day trial where we can create a true apples-to-apples comparison addressing revenue, interactions, CTRs, and viewability.  We’ll pick a site, a content vertical, and let the audience decide.

Multipop isn’t going to be the death of pre-roll, but we’re going to work hard to find better ways to monetize video.  

When the countdown ends, who is going to be left standing?





1 - This is a blended rate based on some quality estimates from leading industry experts.

2 - Yes, some pre-roll video is interactive, but reports are that they aren’t any more effective than standard pre-roll.  If pre-roll is skipped 90% of the time and only getting a .4% CTR, then what are you really getting for your money?