Everything You Need To Know About Pre-Roll Ads

Everything You Need To Know About Pre-Roll Ads

What Do Engaging Pre-roll Ads Take?

For advertising ninjas, pre-roll ads are nothing new if you're an active user on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

You most likely discover the ads when you click on certain content. The short promotional videos that come from a brand will appear before your selected video. And just like that, you're introduced to a new product or service.

Although pre-roll ads can be beneficial for brands, they can also be extremely annoying for users. We've all been there before; you're trying to watch a cute cat video and suddenly an ad for car insurance pops up. However, if done correctly, pre-roll ads can be both informative and entertaining.

In this BBN Times guide, we dive into how to make pre-roll ads more engaging.

The Basics of Pre-roll Ads


But, let's brush up on the basics.

Pre-roll ads are short videos, usually between six and 15 seconds long, that play before the content a user has selected. 

The ad can be skippable after a few seconds, or it may run the entire length. These types of ads are beneficial because they can generate leads, create brand awareness, and increase conversions.

The basic premise of pre-roll ads is to get viewers to watch the video and click through to learn more about a specific product.


Skippable vs Non-skippable vs Bumper Ads

Besides the duration, marketers should know about the types of pre-roll advertisements that fit the needs and objectives. If you want a short non-skippable ad, a bumper is an ideal option. It's only 6 seconds long, but it's powerful enough to raise brand awareness and recognition. 

Do you need a longer time to present your brand? Use presentation videos. But if the purpose is for ads, non-skippable pre-roll ads are the best answer. It can be 15 to 20 seconds. 

The last option of pre-roll ads is the skippable one. It's the most common type of pre-roll advertisement which allows the audience to skip the video after five seconds. 


What Should be Included in Pre-roll Ads? 

Making non-interruptive ads is the biggest challenge for marketers. You have to ensure that the ads offer valuable information and encourage people to learn more about your business

And, the question is: how to do that?

We collected the crucial ingredients that should be included in your pre-roll ads.

#1. Highlight the Audience's Pain Points

You only get 5 to 30 seconds to capture viewers' attention. Use the short duration effectively by addressing the audience's pain point since the early second. 

You might also start with a question that perk’s audience’s ears and intent you build, encouraging them to listen to you and watch the ads all the way through rather than skipping them. If you're lucky, they may click the ad and find more about your products. 

Although you use the skippable or non-skippable pre-roll ads that allow you to make longer videos, make sure you pack the crucial message in the first 10 seconds because that is the average human attention span. 


#2. Seek Creativity

Technically all ads need creativity, including pre-roll ads. 

Your audience sees tons of ads every single day while browsing online whether eCommerce ads or social media ads. That means it’s only getting harder to get their attention and engage them.

That’s why you need to make your pre-roll content stand out. Take your time to come up with an out-of-the-box idea that will make them listen and stop their thumb from skipping it. One proven way to make creative ads is by adding humour that matches your audience's demographic, values, and preferences.


Also, as you might already see on some digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and more that many ads use a casual, friendly tone to communicate with their audience. 

You can consider doing the same. Talking to your audience like you talk to your old friends can make them feel an in-depth, more meaningful connections and be comfortable around your brand. 

This, in turn, will make it much easier for you to engage them.

#3. Offer Value

When it comes to promotional videos, people don't care about what you offer. They only care about how you can help them solve their problems and make their lives easier. 

  • Instead of bragging too much about your awesome features, try to break down how those features will benefit them.
  • Remember that the key to your pre-roll ads should be informing your audiences why they need your products or services. 
  • Show your true brand colours. 
  • Make it feel user-generated, meaning that you provide them with customer-centric content. Not only does it increase your brand recall, but also help you to generate more trust from your audiences as they feel that you understand their pain points. By doing so, you give them reasons to invest in your business.

#4. Tell a Relevant Story

The first rule of pre-roll advertising on any platform: It shouldn’t feel like a commercial. After all, no one wants to be a target audience. Nobody wants to visit a platform just to hear a brand talking about their product or service, right? 

That’s the reason why you should make your pre-roll ads stand out by telling a story. 

People love stories. Done right, story-driven ads will make your messages less hard-selling and more engaging, especially when the plot is relevant to their daily life or problem. They can also evoke audiences’ emotions.

Telling relevant stories is an effective way of building a personalised connection between customers and brands. As a result, your brand will be on top of their mind.

#5. Include a clear-to-action (CTA)

Creating a pre-roll ad without a clear CTA is just like catching a fish with a bare hand; it’s nearly impossible to encourage your audience to take action. No matter how convincing and brilliant your pre-roll ad content is, when you fail to communicate its purpose to your audience, it will not get you anywhere. 

Plus, you also make the audience confused-- leaving them high and dry.

So, make sure you include a clear CTA in your pre-roll ad video to communicate what action you expect your audience to do after they watch it. Do you want them to visit your website? Buy your product or service? See more videos? Subscribe to your email newsletter?

#6. Test, Test, and Test

You can create the most amazing pre-roll ad video in the world. But if it doesn’t work on your audience, then it means you have to keep testing until you find a formula that works for them.

The best way to test your pre-roll ad is by tracking your work and running A/B tests. This method helps you compare two versions of your ad and see which one performs better. For example, you can test whether adding a CTA at the end of your video increases the number of website visitors or not.

You can also try different tactics on different platforms to see where your target audience is more responsive. Try running ads with the same content but in a different format on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. See which platform gives you the best result, then double down your effort on that platform.

#7. Keep It Short

The most common mistake that businesses make when creating pre-roll ads is making them too long. They think that since people are already watching a video, they might as well include as much information about their product or service as possible.

But the truth is, no one wants to watch a commercial that’s longer than 30 seconds, let alone a minute. In fact, the shorter, the better.

The ideal length of a pre-roll ad should be around 15 to 30 seconds. That’s just enough time for you to deliver your message and CTA without annoying your audience.

If you can make it even shorter, that would be great. But if you can’t, then make sure you include the most important information in the first few seconds of your video. That way, even if people decide to skip your ad, they will still get your message.

#8. Use Eye-Catching Visuals

Most people are visual learners, which means they understand and remember things better when they see them. That’s why using high-end visuals in your pre-roll ad is essential to grab attention and communicate your message effectively.

Whether you go for live-action videos or animated commercial ones, make sure they are high-quality and relevant to your message. Also, the visuals should also be consistent with your brand identity to reinforce your brand awareness and increase brand recall.

#9. Showcase Your Personality

The one thing that makes your brand different from your competitors is your personality, comments ToTheTop Agency. So, when you create a video just like any other brands out there, your audience is not going to remember you.

Nowadays, people are more likely to do business with companies that have a strong personality and values that align with their own. That’s why it’s important to showcase your unique personality in your pre-roll ad. 

This way, you can make a lasting impression on your audience and stand out from the rest. There are many ways you can do this. You can use humour, tell a personal story, or be controversial. But make sure you do it in a way that’s consistent with your brand identity.

#10. Make Everything About Them

Last but not least, make sure your pre-roll ad is relevant to your target audience. It's very tempting to create a pre-roll ad to show why you're better than your competitors, showcase all the awesome features, etc. But, if you want people to care about your ad, make it all about them.

Your pre-roll ad should be focused on solving your audience’s problem. It should be clear from the start how your product or service can benefit them. Only then will they be interested in watching your video until the end.

Remember, people don’t care about you or your company. They only care about themselves and how you can make their life better. So, make sure your pre-roll ad reflects that.



Making effective pre-roll ads is a tough task, yet it's worth trying. 

Furthermore, you have got several key elements and actionable tips to ensure your ads stand out.

After that, you can go with it for your pre-roll campaign. To ensure you didn’t miss a thing, you might also need to check out this video marketing checklist for a successful campaign.

Share this article

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

terms and condition.
  • No comments found

Share this article

Dimitar Karamarinov

Digital Marketing Expert

Dimitar Karamarinov is an award-winning digital multi-instrumentalist coming into practice as early as 2006. Over a decade of audio, graphic, visual design, along with versatile know-how of business, marketing and communication. Dimitar grows experience with Entrepreneur Franchise 500, Inc 5000 and multi-continent brands under his belt. 

Cookies user prefences
We use cookies to ensure you to get the best experience on our website. If you decline the use of cookies, this website may not function as expected.
Accept all
Decline all
Read more
Tools used to analyze the data to measure the effectiveness of a website and to understand how it works.
Google Analytics