New technology allows viewers to skip online video ads

A US-based digital advertising firm has developed a solution for online video viewers who don’t want to watch pre-roll advertisements before their chosen content – and marketers who want to ensure their branding message still gets across.

Solve Media’s concept allows consumers to skip ads and go straight to their video by typing in a slogan or phrase that tells the advertiser they have understood the company’s message.

Ari Jacoby, chief executive and co-founder of Solve Media, said this “offers consumers a reward for participating cognitively with a brand message”. Meanwhile advertisers get “pre-roll insurance” – the ability to gauge an ad’s performance, even if it flops.

The platform supports major internet publishers including AOL, whose venture capital arm AOL Ventures is an investor in Solve Media. Companies trying out the technology for their online ad video production include Toyota, General Motors and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Research conducted by Solve Media and comScore found 53 per cent of respondents “zone out” during pre-roll ads, and 47 per cent open a new browser tab or window in the interim. A different study cited by Solve Media revealed that since YouTube began allowing users to skip pre-roll ads, the online video giant has seen average skip rates of around 70 per cent, and up to 80 per cent. Solve Media estimates the amount wasted on skipped or ignored video ads in the US is $33 (£20.90) per second.

Solve Media is not the first company to search for ways to improve advertising on online videos. Hulu’s Ad Swap allows users to select which companies’ advertisement they would like to watch with their videos, while AdoTube’s Polite Pre-Roll lets viewers minimise the ad and go straight to the video, with a pop-up reminding them to watch it later.