Media Buying and Inbound Marketing Blog

Is Pre-Roll Video Part of Your Digital Marketing?

By Jane Peters on August 30, 2013 |


Have you ever been waiting to watch a video on YouTube but another video must play beforedigital marketing agency OH yours does? Well that means you’ve been exposed to the newest weapon in the advertising arsenal.

Called “pre-roll videos” these short clips are an efficient tool companies are using to advertise their latest product or service.

Pre-roll videos play before your intended video, YouTube is now using it all the time. Hulu is using it as the commercial break on its site.  Broadcast websites such as and also have pre-roll advertising on their sites, as do many newspaper websites.

This type of online advertising ensures that people will pay attention to the message that is coming across instead of ignoring it and continuing to scroll. Many online videos go unwatched because people overlook them.

TrueView is a new video format that allows users to skip the ad after five seconds. But according to VideoNuze, a video analysis and news website, nearly half of all viewers watch pre-roll ads to the end, even when given the option to skip them. 

We recently completed a project for The Weather Channel that used pre-roll ads in their mix with traditional and digital media with great success.

Pre-roll offer benefits for advertisers such as:

Consistency.  You can provide consistency in your messaging using pre-roll with your TV, mobile and web advertising.  As many of my clients are already using 15 second commercials on TV, they can be easily adapted for digital marketing without the added cost of producing a new ad.

Effectiveness.  According to a Milward Brown C-TV study, the effectiveness of pre-roll ads has proven to be greater than that of a TV commercial in live and on-demand viewing for brand awareness. You can even feature clicks right within the pre-roll ad.

Many giants of the streaming video world are using pre-roll with great success. YouTube and Hulu are the front runners and companies have gotten great response from their online advertising on these sites via pre-roll.

People’s attention spans are short.  These brief advertisements are long enough to get the point across, but short enough to not turn people off or bore them. You can even embed pre-roll into a larger advertisement within a web page.

If you are considering pre-roll, it is important to create ads that actually engage the audience and not annoy them.  This is an important factor for any business to consider when creating content for advertising campaigns.

According to VidAdNet, another online video advertising site:

“Pre-roll video advertising has arguably replaced even television commercials in importance. Research shows that the number of people who report spending as much as several hours each day online watching videos is growing each year. As more people replace their television viewing habits with watching online media, creating pre-roll video advertisements will grow increasingly popular among major companies.”

Pre-roll may not be right for your business.  There are a couple of negatives that still make it unsuitable for many businesses:

Cost. Pre-roll inventory can be expensive, with CPMs as much as 5 times higher than a rich-media-capable banner placement on the same publisher. A good part of this is due to the heavily increased media technology that is required to run video ads, over standard display and search ads.

Difficult to target behavior.  Currently there aren't many publishers using ad platforms that can provide pre-rolls based on a visitor's past online activity.  But this will change as the technology expands. For now, the pre-roll ad that appears may not have any initial interest from most of the audiences who view them.

As people change their viewing habits, marketers will need to consider adding pre-roll to their mix. It will enhance other video platforms and increase their brand awareness.

At Media Management Services, Inc., we continually pursue the latest developments and trends in the marketplace to implement your marketing goals. We provide a full range of services across tradtional and digital platforms. Whether buying TV and radio time or designing an inbound marketing campaign, we help you create a consistent message across multiple platforms.

If you’re considering pre-roll as part of your digital mix, we’d love to help you.  Give us a call or contact us by clicking on the button below.

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