How Do Mid-Rolls Work

Posted in Streaming, Technology on Jun 30, 2022

What are Mid-roll Ad Insertions?

Mid-roll ad insertion is any ad placement in the middle of your content. Mid-roll insertions differ from pre and post-roll insertions for several reasons, including value, listener experience, and technology. Since Mid-roll insertions are by definition interruptions to your content, creating an ideal mid-roll break requires more effort than a pre or post-roll slot but could earn you the biggest bang for your buck.

Why Mid-roll insertions

Depending on your listenership and content type, mid-rolls could be the most lucrative slot in your roster. For standard radio broadcasters, StreamGuys sees mid-roll placements driving as much as four times more revenue than pre-roll placements. Mid-Roll slots are typically more lucrative because there are more of them. A pre-roll slot might only be available once per listen for a standard listener, regardless of listener duration. While this might mean more value to your listeners, when live streaming it also means that your most engaged listeners are costing you the most.

How do I trigger a Mid-roll break?

For most live streaming solutions, your ad-tech provider will require you to send a Metadata trigger. This trigger can be sent in-stream using an encoder and scheduled using your automation system. Ad triggers for mid-roll breaks come in various flavors, but typically there are a few key elements.
An ad trigger should include a trigger name that you and your service provider decide. This name is what queues the ad server to know a break should be taking place. The next step is to set the duration of this mid-roll ad break. Typically, this happens in one of two ways. Option one is to include the duration of the midroll in the trigger. Option 2 is to coordinate the trigger name as the start and stop of the break. This method triggers a break when the trigger name first appears, and the break continues until the trigger name is no longer sent in the stream. The flavor of mid-roll break scheduling you use depends on how your team manages your content and automation system. Ideally, your break scheduling will work with a natural break in your content or as a replacement for your existing ad break. Replacing your existing ad break with a digital break allows your team to maximize revenue potential without creating additional work.

Should I replace my existing over-the-air breaks with digital mid-rolls?

The decision to replace your existing breaks with digital ad breaks will come down to how your sales team sells the position today. With live digital audio CPM’s ranging in value from $10 - $2 per CPM it becomes a question of how much your current advertisers value being heard digitally. Typically, broadcast groups find more value in splitting the digital traffic from over the air to create a new revenue source. If your advertisers aren’t paying a premium for the digital broadcast, then you are likely leaving money on the table.

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