ScanScout Rolls Out ‘Super Pre-Roll’ Ad Unit

Online video ad network ScanScout has introduced a new ad unit–the Super Pre-Roll–which the company is presenting to advertisers as a more interactive alternative to typical online video ads.

Super Pre-Roll ads take a company’s existing TV spot and places multiple interactive ‘overlay’ placements on top of it. But unlike most overlay ads, which appear at the bottom of a video player at the start of a particular clip, the Super Pre-Roll’s various overlay placements appear at various positions on the screen–are designed  to correspond with an ad’s content.

For example, ScanScout has quietly rolled out a Super Pre-Roll’s campaign for Unilever’s Vaseline Sheer Infusion which asks the viewer the question, ‘what do you look for in a body lotion?’ and provides several answers within overlay placements that users can click on. Advertisers could use this format to conduct polls, provide coupons, and collect user data, said Bill Day, ScanScout’s CEO.

The hope is to marry what works in online video while helping the format better leverage the unique strengths of the medium. “People view pre-roll in divergent ways,” said Day. “It’s great for branding, and it offers rich messaging. But it has the same disadvantages as TV ads. It’s more of a sit back experience, and you wonder, ‘is the user really paying attention?’

Day added: “The idea is ‘how do you keep the positive aspects of and really leverage what the Internet can do?”

Besides adding more interactivity, Day said that the Super Pre-Roll ad should also provide advertisers with more useful data on video campaigns, which typically consists of just views and click-through statistics. Plus, the fact that brands can use their existing creative should appeal to budget conscious companies which are unlikely to produce original Web-only video ads in the current economic climate, he argued.

“This allows them to think more broadly than simply slapping their TV ads on the Web,” said Day.