The Pause that Refreshes – How Ads During Paused Content Can Refresh in 2024 Street Fight

The Pause that Refreshes – How Ads During Paused Content Can Refresh in 2024

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Imagine this: You’re going through the motions and you take a quick break. You reach for your Coca-Cola and take a sip – it’s exactly what you needed. It was a small pause from your routine that captured and revived you, a pause that refreshes. This was the catchy tagline that encapsulated Coca-Cola as a brand in 1929. Almost 100 years later, brands are still looking to capture audiences the same way: leverage natural paused content in a linear experience, capture attention with riveting creativity, and refresh viewers. But in today’s world, that refreshed moment (if you can find one) looks a lot different than it did in 1929.

Ads During Paused Content: A New Net Positive

Back in the old days of linear TV, writers and producers worked to create programs with scenes that enabled natural breaks or pauses. But this has since changed. Now, with the advent of CTV, TV’s video ads are frequently placed at designated timecodes or at moments “programmatically” determined to be “between scenes”. Often occurring at times far from a natural pause, these ad experiences are far from “refreshing”.

Popular streaming providers like YouTube and Amazon Prime Video are now experimenting with a new, more novel method of finding a pause that refreshes – playing ads during paused content. In theory, this new way of placing advertising in paused content allows that wait to become a positive experience instead of one in limbo. In group settings–with friends, coworkers, or family–when one person pauses the content to re-up on snacks or for a bio break, others in the group now would view interactive ads during the “pause”. This has the potential to turn an interrupted watching experience into a positive (and lucrative) one by engaging and entertaining an audience eager for something to distract them. However, this is just the theory – there are limitations and considerations brands need to take to really offer a refresh.

 Is it Really to the Benefit of the Advertisers?

In these new ad models, advertisers would be paying premium prices for placements during paused content. But will there be anyone left to see the advertising? How consumers engage with those pauses can vary quite a bit in modern times.

Today, we have screens used as personal devices, like mobile phones or computers, and screens for group settings like a family television. If Dad pauses the movie and walks away, his remaining family can certainly engage with ads during that break. However, if someone takes a break from their computer to refill their water, an ad experience might go unnoticed. The details can make all the difference for viewers and advertisers alike.

The Devil’s in the Details to Offer a Pause that Refreshes

Capturing the attention of consumers is a constantly evolving and very crowded landscape. With the introduction of this new way to experience ads, it’s critical for advertisers to consider demographics, time of day, and device(s) if and when they plan to include ads during paused content into their media mixes.

Specifically, airing ads on paused content between 5-8pm on TV devices might secure a higher reach of consumers, as this might be when families are gathered around a screen together. You see high attention rates in other media where advertising plays at opportune breaks or pauses in time – notably in cinema advertising and mobile games. In cinema, the ads run before the main show. In mobile games, the advertising runs not between scenes like TV, but between game levels – a similar construct. These environments have perfectly crafted the ad that refreshes.

Ads are a necessary part of our consumer ecosystem. We need them to drive revenue streams, while also exposing consumers to brands that enhance daily life. Integrating ads into paused content has the potential to be the pause that refreshes for consumers, like taking a sip of their favorite drink, but the right considerations must be made for advertisers and consumers to benefit.

Greg Wester, SVP Marketing, at Digital Turbine, leads Consumer Research, PR, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing functions. Digital Turbine powers superior mobile consumer experiences and results for the world's leading telcos, advertisers, and publishers.