MTV Finds Most Effective Video Ad Unit is 5 Second Pre-roll + Overlay

MTV Finds Most Effective Video Ad Unit is 5 Second Pre-roll + Overlay

MTV Networks is currently selling ad inventory for the format it officially declared the best for online video, and the media company expects other Web publishers to follow suit,

said Jason Witt, SVP and GM of MTV’s digital advertising unit in an interview with Beet.TV on the streets of Manhattan.

Based on a study it commissioned, MTV said a five-second pre-roll ad combined with a lower-third ad is the most effective and consumer-friendly ad unit for short-form video on sites like and

In the study, MTV measured ads and consumer reaction to them across a range of audiences, videos and ads. The network’s efforts occur against a backdrop of increased industry research into the best ad formats for online video. The agency Starcom is testing online ad formats; so is ESPN.

In his interview with Beet.TV, Witt explained MTV’s goals with the study. “We wanted to take a fresh look at whether or not there was a better video ad than pre-roll that could be more effective,” he said.

In the research, MTV tested three types of online video ads and benchmarked their performance against a 30-second pre-roll. The 5-second pre-roll with the lower third came up the winner, even beating out more novel and unusual ad formats, Witt said.

“If the ad is too disruptive, users will tune out,” he said. “You don’t have to be in their face to make an impression.”

Daisy Whitney