Video Pre-Roll Rivals Targeted TV for your Ad Spend Dollars

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We know that auto dealers have long relied on the emotionally engaging, brand-building capabilities of television to drive consumer interest. According to Kantar, automobile dealers spend more than $13 billion in measured media annually, with 50 to 60 percent of those dollars going to television.

On the other end of the spectrum, auto dealers have embraced the power of online video advertising to drive site traffic and provide greater measurability. Google’s 2011 Automotive Shopper Study ranked video as the number one advertising format, above all traditional and digital formats, to engage prospective car buyers. Comscore’s April 2012 online video rankings found that the average consumer watches over 21 hours of online video each month comprised of 299 different videos, and 20 percent of the videos watched are video ads. Statistically, virtually all online consumers watch videos each month, so it’s logical that online video—which marries the sight, sound, and motion of television with the addressability and accountability of digital media—has hit a sweet spot among auto dealers. For instance, Video Pre-Roll offers local dealers custom targeting via “hot spots” that use Polk data to identify market areas with the highest concentration of a given target (e.g. luxury car owners, or SUV drivers) and serve ads only to consumers within these market areas.

One dealership using Video Pre-Roll to target local car buyers is Gunn Nissan, part of the Gunn Automotive Group (a Ward’s 100 dealer) located in San Antonio Texas. Tony Rhoades, executive director for the group, says “We use Video Pre-Roll to target local buyers while they are on their favourite national websites getting updates or information on news, sports, entertainment…etc. This differs from search engine optimization in that the prospective car buyer is forced to see a short video ad to get to their desired news video, sports video, or lifestyle video. This helps us build brand awareness and purchase intent like TV, but with a clickable video ad that can convert that prospect to a website lead.”

Gunn Nissan used short 15 to 30 second video ads targeting only local San Antonio buyers that were 18+ years old. These, non-skippable video ads targeted local residents visiting both local and national highly-trafficked websites (sports, news, entertainment, lifestyle, finance, technology, and shopping) such as MLB (Major League Baseball) as seen in the screenshot attached to this article. These short video ads play before the viewer sees a news video, sports video, or whatever video the car buyer was intending to see on the website.

Gunn Nissan’s video ads played 313,799 times over a 30 day period with 3,716 clicks on the video ads direct to the Gunn Nissan website. The cost per click was equal to the average of PPC (pay per click) for this target market and demographic, but with some additional benefits. First, the video ad gets played automatically whether the consumer wants to see it or not, unlike traditional static black and white text ads in PPC that don’t get seen unless you actually click the ad. Second (and separate from the direct video clicks) the full video ad got seen 82 percent of the time, which equals 234,058 full video plays, which is 15 times greater than standard PPC where your static black and white text ad only gets seen five percent of the time, when no one clicks your ad. Compared to a television only buy, the video campaign drove a 29 percent increase in site visits and a 36 percent increase in unique visits to the site.

AJ LeBlanc, is the cofounder of and For more information, email or visit and

Cody Larson


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