When trying to watch a Youtube video, you may become slightly annoyed at the ad that appears on your screen beforehand. But in those obligatory five seconds, the pre-roll ad in front of you has a fascinating and unique opportunity to capture your attention. Most companies fail to do this- their ad is seen as an interruption and is likely ignored. But the invention of this new type of advertising also proves that, with the right ideas and originality, pre-roll video can be a new way to draw in potential consumers.

Strategy for Creating Pre-Roll Ads

There are definitely some challenges to overcome when creating pre-roll ads. They have to be somewhat short, because even if a viewer chooses not to skip the ad, they won’t have the patience for more than one to two minutes. A lot of companies make the mistake of simply uploading their usual TV ads, not bothering to change them to more of an online format. In a fast-paced website like youtube, where users are constantly shifting focus to new videos, a three minute commercial with no unique qualities will not succeed. Other ads will be too convoluted or stuffed with information- keep it precise and memorable. Hitting viewers with a few key points that they’ll remember may encourage them to look up any other info they need on that company’s website. Leave people with a succinct and original message, rather than a lot of information that they will become bored with and forget moments later.


Aside from the full commercial needing to be short and interesting, the first five seconds of the ad are under an immense amount of pressure. Those first five seconds will determine whether or not someone will decide to keep watching your video. To grab their interest, many companies have been experimenting with countless original ideas. Some businesses draw attention to the nature of a pre-roll video, and in this way, appeal to a “meta” aspect of advertising. Travel Agency Flight Centre does this with several ads that ask what would happen if the viewer chose not to skip. Other businesses create interactive videos that let the viewer change the content of the ad. A few companies, like Geico, have even created ads that are only five seconds long. They’re over before you can even try to skip them.


These innovative ways to capture a viewer’s attention have shown that pre-roll video is a strong addition to the digital marketing world. The statistics and logic behind the strategy help as well- viewers of a video are much more likely to retain its information than someone reading text on a website. By communicating to viewers through visuals, pre-roll ads leave more of a lasting impression, and can give more of an idea of a company’s message and product. A large portion of consumers become more confident in a business or a purchase when they are given videos and visual examples. All it takes is the right video, made with originality and precise structure, to steer them towards your company.