Let’s start with the basics.
What are skippable ads (via Google): A 30-second ad plays to completion, or until skipped by the viewer. The skip rate is an unbiased measure of engagement, and can be used as an optimization metric. You can create re-marketing campaigns based on whether or not viewers skip the ad. Cost-per-impression (CPM) is the same, whether or not the user skips it.
What are non-skippable ads (via Google): Non-skippable in-stream ads are video ads that may appear pre-, mid-, or post-roll while viewing partner content. … It’s up to you to determine the best balance between views/watch time…
For a long time, skippable was the way to go. It gave consumers the option, and didn’t make the experience to get the content they wanted as daunting. However, as time rolls on, the websites and networks have to think about not just the consumer, but also how they’re going to balance the priorities of the brands who are advertising with them. The brands need a real opportunity to be seen to grow their awareness of a campaign/product, and/or create engagement with the content they are putting out (ex. video completion rates – VCRs).
Many media vendors these days are going towards unskippable advertising, providing more value and investment for ROI by the brands who put their media budget towards pre-roll advertising with networks and websites.
It allows 3 great opportunities for brands:
(1) the opportunity to ensure the brand message is out in its entirety and not cut off;
(2) determine if the KPIs for the video are being met (outside of video completion rates, as that can’t be the a valid KPI for unkippable video ads);
(3) determine which networks are really working for driving further engagement with the consumer, and which ones only provided views (in the past).
Despite this, YouTube, has said they are taking away the 30 second unskippable ad in 2018. Why? According to Google (via Verge) – “We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” This is interesting, as it appears that longer form video pre-roll (30 seconds or more) actually do quite well in the unskippable format anyway. Consumers actually do watch the whole ad and are likely not to skip even if it’s more than 15 seconds. What does that mean? Consumers are on YouTube to watch a certain type of content, and if your video content is related and relevant to them, they’re more likely to tune in and finish watching before they watch the video they intended.
Note: they will still allow non-skippable shorter forms of video.
As for other networks, this doesn’t appear to be as much of the case. They are providing more opportunities for advertisers to continue to do non-skippable.
In the end, it’s not about which ad unit you have, but about where you’re placing your ads and within what context for the end consumer. Next time we can discuss more about this.