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Mid Roll Ads: What are They & How Can You Use Them Most Effectively?

by Brandon Weaver in Advertising, Lead Generation This image shows what are mid-roll ads.

In today’s digital age, encountering mid-roll ads while watching videos on platforms like YouTube or Facebook is common. You may be watching a video about summer adventures and encounter an advertisement for a nearby water park. Alternatively, while exploring industry-related content, you may see an ad for software promising to streamline your workflow.

Effective placement of ads within videos is an art that, when done right, engages viewers rather than repelling them. This article offers insights into modern mid-roll advertising practices and includes examples from industry leaders.

What are Mid-Roll Ads?

Mid-roll ads are videos inserted within the middle of content rather than preceding or following the main video content. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook have embraced mid-roll ads as part of their advertising ecosystem, offering advertisers a unique way to engage audiences.

This image shows what are mid-roll ads.

Initially met with skepticism and slow adoption, mid-roll ads experienced a popularity surge. This innovative format has even surpassed pre-roll ads in terms of completion rates, with an impressive 90% of viewers watching these ads through to the end. The allure of mid-roll ads lies in their potential to blend into the viewer experience, enhancing overall engagement seamlessly.

Automated Placements: A Growing Trend

Automatic placements involve the algorithmic positioning of ads at points where viewers are more likely to engage. As machine learning algorithms improve, creators increasingly rely on these automated placements. However, many creators still opt for manual placements, allowing them to integrate ads into content breaks they’ve planned strategically.

This image shows Grammarly mid-roll ads example.

For advertisers, meticulous consideration of ad placement throughout the creation process is paramount. If selectivity is your approach, identify channels that offer mid-roll placements and their specifics. Like any ad, maintaining engagement and conciseness is crucial, especially considering that mid-roll ads play in the middle of other content.

Ad Specifications

Mid-roll YouTube ads are optimized for mobile and desktop, negating the need for specific device considerations. Complying with video best practices is essential, including using appropriate audio and video quality and adhering to platform guidelines. Contextual relevance is also critical for mid-roll ads, and choices such as skippable or unskippable formats depend on factors like video placements, target audience, and objectives.

For instance, on YouTube:

  • Minimum video length: 12 seconds (15 to 20 seconds for non-skippable mid-roll ads, depending on region).
  • Maximum video length: 3 minutes for skippable ads.
  • Format: MP4 recommended or any YouTube-compliant format.
  • Resolution: 640×360 or 480×360.
  • Video length: Must be over 10 minutes, hosted on YouTube.
  • Must have manually placed or automatically generated ad breaks.

On Facebook (In-Stream Ads):

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 to 9:16; 16:9 recommended.
  • Resolution: Highest possible.
  • Video file size: Up to 4GB.
  • Video length: 5 to 15 seconds.
  • Video captions: Optional.
  • Video sound: Recommended.
  • Format: Most accepted.

Crafting Effective Mid-Roll Ads

A successful mid-roll ad retains its audience’s attention. Poorly executed ads can alienate viewers with untimely interruptions. However, understanding the difference between successful and unsuccessful ads is crucial. Offensive or disruptive advertising practices have always been detrimental, especially in the mid-roll format.

Mid-Roll Ad Best Practices:

1. Place your content appropriately: Google’s algorithm is becoming adept at automatic mid-roll placements. Creators can trust Google to insert relevant or inoffensive ads in viewer-friendly spots. Manual ad breaks can provide even more control over placement.

In some cases, when the author of the content elects to use automatic ad breaks, YouTube will elect to show a mid-roll video ad or another ad during this time, depending on user engagement. So if you want more control over your mid-roll ad placement, use manual ad breaks.

2. Make the ad match the content, the audience, or both: Advanced targeting tools ensure ads align with viewers’ preferences. However, carefully consider the context of the content where your ads are displayed. Match your ad with the audience’s interests or content themes by answering the following questions:

  • What channels are more likely to find a larger portion of my target audience?
  • Does this channel have a user base I’m NOT trying to target?
  • Would a user watching this video be interested in seeing my ad during the video?
  • How should I cater to an audience that is already viewing other content?

3. Consider your goals: While non-skippable ads can maximize exposure, advertisers should be aware of the context their ads are shown to ensure that brand awareness is introduced positively. Think about how you want someone to be introduced to your brand. Would you want them to be interrupted, mid-engagement with other content, and unable to skip the message? That would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Above all, you don’t want to turn away prospects who may convert for you later. Non-skippable ads have their place, just give them careful thought before implementing.

Getting Ready for Mid-Roll Advertising

Prioritizing non-intrusiveness and utility in digital ads is crucial. Consider the placement, timing, and content when crafting messages that resonate with your target audience. By aligning these elements effectively, your ad campaign has the best chance of success. Remember, a well-executed mid-roll ad can seamlessly enrich the viewer’s experience while delivering your brand message.

For that experience to be persistent throughout the user’s journey, your mid-roll ads must employ ad-to-page relevance. In other words, the content that engaged your user should be carried forward from the ad to the landing page. If you’re in need of the best landing page solution the world has to offer, look no further than Instapage! Start your 14-day free trial today and create world-class landing pages that do your mid-roll ads justice.

Brandon Weaver

by Brandon Weaver

Brandon Weaver is one of the worlds leading experts on digital advertising, CRO, & personalization, with more than a decade in the industry.

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