Thinking of getting your own video? Check out our video ads page for more information and video examples.

First up, what are pre-roll ads?

You’ll be familiar with the following scenario: you select a video to watch on YouTube and before it begins, there’s an advert to watch. You can watch it all, or maybe after 5 seconds you get the option to ‘Skip Ad…’ These are pre-roll ads.

These ads can be a GREAT tool to add to your marketing utility belt if you get them right. A great pre-roll ad can actually be an entertaining, informative break for your viewer — a fun, cool experience that adds value and pushes them towards your product or service.

So, to help you, we’ve put together a few hints and tricks to assist you when you decide to take the plunge and create your first pre-roll ad.

The first 3-5 seconds of the video are the most important!

Viewers usually have the option to watch a pre-roll ad for up to 5 seconds before they can choose to click skip, so it’s important to make sure those few seconds really grab their attention. Otherwise, the first chance they get, they’re going to skip – and you’ve missed your opportunity.

These types of ads are a good top of the funnel tool, to help raise awareness of a brand and they can be used to drive traffic to your website. Therefore, the purpose is not to tell the audience every detail of your product or service, otherwise they will get bored and click ‘skip’, instead you want to intrigue them enough to make them want to find out more about you.

A good example of a pre-roll ad is the one below from Eat24.

It works because it’s simple and straight-forward, and doesn’t try to bombard you with information. It definitely worked for Eat24 because 91% of viewers completed the ad, with a 7.1% click-through rate, and 75% more downloads while the campaign ran. Boom!

There’s also this amazing ad from NAIL Communications. They use a cute puppy and a live electrical current to maximum effect, creating an ad that’s cute, funny and engaging — but meaningful.

Be creative.

The temptation for most pre-roll newbies is to take your TV ad or 2 min explainer video and squeeze it down into a 30 second window. As mentioned previously, you only have a short space of time to impress your audience before they decide to click skip or not. And with scientists now saying we have the average attention spans of 9 seconds, that’s shorter than a goldfish! You really need to try and think of new ways to grab their attention in those first 5 seconds.

Burger King nailed this with their ‘Anti pre-roll’ ad campaign.

This ad pokes fun at the traditionally bad pre-rolls have, demonstrating a deep understanding of their target audience. Even more impressively, they made 64 ads, each of which referred to the actual video that was being searched by the viewer. Genius!

With all of the examples we’ve covered so far, it’s interesting to note that they’re not overtly trying to sell you anything, they’re just making you aware of the brand. They do this in fun and interesting ways that might drive you to find out more

Target your ads carefully.

The great thing about these ads on Youtube is you can pair them with your desired demographic so that it’s at the right people who see your ad, with only a slight margin of error.

In being able to target your pre-roll ads you spend less money, and the money you do spend has an increased chance of getting the required results.

You can target your pre-rolls based on demographic, geography, language, topics and interests. These last two are particularly specific and provide you with the same set of categories, but the difference is, topics are the category of video your audience is watching right now. And, interests means you can have your pre-roll show to a person who tends to watch a video of a particular topic even if they’re currently watching something else! Pretty impressive targeting, I think you’ll agree.

Have a purposeful landing page linked to your pre-roll.

If you made a pre-roll ad that did the job, but then just send them to your homepage when they click at the end, you’ll have wasted your time.

Think about what you want them to do. Do you want then to get in touch? Send them to your contact page. Do you want them to learn more about your products or services? Send them to a landing page that tells them more about these, and so on.

The point being put a purpose behind their click.

The final thing you need to know…

We now make pre-roll ads here at Wyzowl!

So now you know how to make the most of pre-roll ads, and if you think you’d be interested in having a pre-roll created for your business, get in touch!

Final Thoughts

Even though pre-roll ads can be tricky, they’re super beneficial as part of your marketing strategy especially since they can be so targeted, so remember to think about who your audience is and what it is they’re likely to be watching on YouTube. You only have a short time to make the right impression; the key is to think creatively, and, if it fits your brand, have a bit of fun with your content.

At the end of the day you’re looking for people to stop, watch and take notice of who you are.