MTVN: Web-Video Ad Winner Is Lower-Third Overlay

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In a test of 50 million short-form videos, MTV Networks found that an ad unit combining a 5-second preroll with a 10-second lower-third overlay beat out two formats (a 30-second preroll and 5-second preroll plus 10-second animated “sideloader”).

What was the difference? MTVN isn’t saying exactly how much better the lower-third pop-up overlay unit performed than the 30-second preroll, which came in second.

But the programmer did say lower-third ads lifted unaided awareness — recall of an advertiser without prompting — by 10.3%, versus an industry average of 4.4% for all video ad units as measured over the course of three years by MTVN’s research partner, InsightExpress. The lower-third unit also raised online ad awareness by 27% over the control group in MTVN’s testing (which was shown different ads) compared with the industry average lift of 18%.

Still, MTVN noted that 30-second prerolls performed relatively well, “demonstrating ongoing consumer acceptance of prerolls even for short-form content.”

The Project Inform test, launched in January 2009, involved ads from three (unnamed) advertisers with video across,,, and