The Pre-Roll Ads: The Seven Important Ingredients of the Best Ones

pre roll ad
roll ads are a phenomenal opportunity for brands of all sizes. Follow the tips we cover in this article and you’ll be well on the way to pre-roll success.

You decided to read this article when you clicked on it.

It’s amazing to think about how many choices we make each day, just in the blink of an eye, whether it’s deciding what to eat for breakfast or deciding when to go to bed.

One-third of a second is all it takes for consumers to make a choice, according to a study published in the Society for Judgement and Decision Making magazine. That’s a lot of action in a short period of time.

It’s also terrible news for the advertising industry. While they’re paying attention, how can you get them to buy something?

Here come the pre-roll ads.

Pre-roll commercials are a lifesaver in an age where people’s attention spans are dwindling.

In this post, we’ll examine what precisely a pre-roll ad is, as well as the advantages it provides and the seven essential components that all the finest ones have in common.

An Overview: What is a Pre-roll ad?

Pre-roll ads are short promotional videos that usually appear before the video content you’re actually interested in watching. There is a good chance that you have already seen them on YouTube. In order to promote our rebranding, we created this ad:

Pre-roll ads are essentially the TV ads these days! When terrestrial TV was the dominant form of media, video marketers fought tooth and nail for the right to place commercials during, before, or after popular shows.

The pre-roll commercial is the new TV ad thanks to the rise of on-demand, online, and streaming viewing habits.

In the last four years, individuals have watched an incredible 8.5 hours more online video every week on average, according to our data.

Pre-roll advertising, like TV commercials, is limited to a particular amount of time. There are different types of pre-roll ads; let’s take a look at a few of them:

  1. Bumper – these adverts may be up to 6 seconds long and appear before the main video content.
  1. Non-skippable — these commercials can be shown at any time during or after a video and can last anywhere from 15 to 20 seconds.
non skippable
  1. Skippable- After the first five seconds of the commercial, viewers have the option of ignoring the ad and continuing with the rest of their viewing experience.

Nota bene: While some of these films can occur mid-roll and post-roll (as indicated above), for the sake of this essay, we’ll focus exclusively on pre-rolls — that is, when an advertisement comes before a video.

The Core Benefits of Pre-roll Ads

We’ve already discussed some of the benefits of pre-roll ads — they’re like the new and better television commercial! Additionally, they assist you in reaching audiences with dwindling attention spans.

However, what more do pre-roll advertisements have to offer?

Here are three of the most significant advantages of using pre-roll ads…

Reach your target audience

One of the most advantageous features of pre-roll advertisements is their targeting ability.

You have the ability to target viewers based on their location, language, age, and gender, among other characteristics — ensuring that your advertisement reaches just the people you want it to.

This is quite useful, especially given the pay-per-view nature of pre-rolls.

Of course, no marketing approach achieves a conversion rate of 100%. However, you may boost your chances of success by marketing to highly focused consumers.


The advantage of a pre-roll ad over a mid-roll advertisement is that you are not interfering with the viewer’s content.

Pre-rolls play before the main content video, letting viewers know that after the commercial concludes, they may dive right into what they came to watch.

According to one study, pre-roll advertisements are actually 3.5 times less likely to be perceived interruptive by viewers than mid-roll and post-roll advertisements.

Intensify brand awareness

Pre-roll ads are classified as ‘top of the funnel’ content, which means they assist increase brand recognition and driving visitors to your website.

Additional top-of-the-funnel content examples include blog entries, social media postings, and eBooks.

However, none are as popular as videos. According to a recent poll, 88 percent of Americans want to see businesses produce more video content in 2022. Additionally, consumers are twice as likely as any other sort of material to share video content with their peers.

The Best Pre-Roll Ads: The Seven Important Ingredients


Regardless of how targeted your adverts are, the reality is that they’re waiting to watch something else. You and they both know this – so why attempt to conceal it?

Some of the most popular pre-rolls explicitly state that the visitor is not here to see an advertisement. That’s OK — if they can stand it for a few seconds longer, there is a message that may pique their attention!

Here’s an excellent example from Geico (one of the best pre-roll ads):

The advertisement is almost 60 seconds long and so falls squarely into the ‘skippable’ category. BUT, Geico fits all of their material into the first few seconds (before the ‘skip’ option shows), and they even make a joke about it: “You can’t skip this Geico advertisement since it’s already over!”

The remaining advertisement is devoted entirely to humorous relief, which also encourages viewers to continue watching!


As previously said, pre-rolls provide an amazing chance to connect with your target audience.

The targeting choices are quite precise, particularly on YouTube. Not only can you filter by demographics, but you can also target users based on their hobbies – with all sorts of strange and fantastic categories available (what the heck is a ‘Beauty Maven?’).

This provides you with an enormous amount of flexibility in terms of creating unique pre-rolls for different segments of your audience.

Masterclass excels in this area! As an online education platform covering a wide variety of subjects, they cater to a diverse clientele. As a result, they’ve designed distinct advertisements for distinct customers. For instance, this Gordon Ramsey pre-roll is intended to be played before cookery videos:

And here’s a Margaret Atwood advertisement to play before writing and reading videos:

We live in an age of personalization, in which ‘one-size-fits-all’ no longer applies! The most effective campaigns are those that are tailored to a specific target audience and contain content that is cleverly tailored to maintain their interest.

This guide will provide you with all of the necessary guidelines for setting up your video campaign.

Hook your audience

It makes no difference what form of pre-roll you create; the maximum guaranteed viewing time is 5-6 seconds. Following then, your advertisement may be skipped or even terminated (if it is a bumper advertisement).

When you have only a few seconds to capture someone’s attention, you need a hook.

Something to pique their interest.

Bring them to a halt and listen.

Replay the Margaret Atwood Masterclass video, but skip the first five seconds:

Atwood takes a well-known premise and flips it on its head. Combine this with the dramatic sound effect, and you’ve got a recipe for capturing viewers’ attention.

Hooks are critical for more than just the dreaded skip button. Remember That people make snap judgments, and attention spans are at an all-time low, so if you want viewers to pay attention, you must capture their interest immediately!

Pack a punch

Consider for a moment that you are in an elevator and the person you most desire to meet has just entered.

You just have a few seconds with them – what would you say and, maybe more importantly, how would you say it to create an impression?

We are aware. The elevator pitch analogy has been overused — yet it is effective. It’s an excellent exercise for brainstorming creative ways to present your product, service, or brand in a succinct, memorable manner.

Consider the following Apple ad:

Apple is a master of video marketing – if there is anybody to emulate, it is them.

Their advertisements are dynamic, with fast-paced editing, in-depth product tours, and compelling music that compels viewers to act – in other words, to purchase their stuff!

Concise and simple

With only a few seconds to work with, you’re never going to be able to convey all you want to potential buyers.

Rather than that, you’ll need to focus on one or two unique selling points that you can weave into a snappy, compelling story – easier said than done!

A unique approach to achieve this is to focus on a single essential line, as Oscar Health Insurance did in their pre-roll advertisement:

Their key message is: ‘You never know when you’re going to require health insurance.’ Then the pictures demonstrate a variety of amusing scenarios in which health insurance might be required.

Not only does this advertisement put a positive face on what may be a really drab sector, but it also entertains viewers while conveying the message clearly and succinctly.


To be clear, this does not apply just to pre-roll advertisements. ALL advertisements should be imaginative – if they are to be recognized among the millions of advertisements that consumers are exposed to on a daily basis.

You may believe that ‘being creative’ entails developing an elaborate video that consumes all of your marketing cash – but this is not the case.

Here is a pre-roll advertisement from Reed, a recruiting firm:

That is correct! They created a humorous and compelling advertisement by utilizing stock footage!

When it comes to originality, it’s all about thinking outside the box and surprising your customers with an advertisement that sticks in their minds – and one they like viewing!

Includes a call-to-action

With all the excitement around the creation of a pre-roll commercial and its global distribution, it’s easy to forget that merely getting people to view the video is not the final aim. What you want viewers to do next is your final aim.

That is why the best pre-roll advertisements have a strong and direct call-to-action that directs viewers to the next stage of the buyer journey.

McDonald’s provides an example:

The final two seconds of this ten-second advertisement are devoted to a clear call to action: Install the application.

Together with the App Store and Google Play logos, as well as the McDonald’s logo and distinctive whistle, this instruction delivers a very obvious message to potential consumers.

Need Help with Your Video Ads? – Get in Touch with us

Now that you know the significance of pre-roll ads, it’s essential to start incorporating them into your video marketing strategy.

This brings down to the fact that now having a marketing team, especially a video production team, is a necessity. However, if you don’t have the budget or space for one, you can always outsource your video project to a video animation agency.

In case you’re in search of one, contact us. BuzzFlick has been offering video animation and production services for decades now. We stand among the top animation outsourcing companies. We have a competent video production team.

From scriptwriters to video marketing strategists, we have all on board. If you want us to make video ads for your business, feel free to get in touch with us.

Closing Remarks

When you combine compelling video content with sophisticated ad targeting capabilities, you significantly increase your chances of promoting your product, service, or brand to the right people at the right time.

Eich Eyf

An animation enthusiast who enjoys explaining complex animation techniques, mediums, and videos. Her love for animated films drives her. In her spare time, she enjoys watching animated films from Pixar, Disney, and Illumination productions.

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