Quick Guide to YouTube Pre-roll Ad

Quick Guide to YouTube Pre roll Ad 00000

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Youtube pre-roll ads provide an easy way to reach out to your target audience. But how do you make an interruptive marketing element work in your favor?

Despite the interruptible nature of this marketing element, it has found to be effective in engaging the audience.

A combination of factors go into a successful pre-roll ad: relevance of the content, amount of creativity involved and most importantly, timing.

54% of survey participants found pre-roll ads on mobile engaging, compared to 37% and 44% on outstream and mid-roll respectively (source to be quoted). Pre-roll ads tend to perform better than their counterparts: mid-roll and post-roll videos. Here is a glimpse into some statistics that point out to the same fact.

ad recall


Viewers retain 95% of message when they watch a video ad than when they are shown text or image ads which makes video an effective marketing strategy. Pre-roll effectively uses this power of video and goes a step beyond by delivering the message within a short time frame.

Before we take a look at how brands effectively used the pre-roll ads, here is a look at how Youtube challenged filmmakers and ad agencies to retell literary classics.

This is how Rethink re-told the story of Hamlet:

hamlet youtube ad


Geico had a massively successful pre-roll campaign with their Unskippable pre-roll series. In fact, their very first unskippable pre-roll ad titled “Family” earned more than 725k unaided Youtube views in one day. The concept is simple yet fun and engaging. The actual message is delivered within the first few “important” seconds and this frozen message frame is then carried till the end very smartly.

And guess what, this video is actually longer than the recommended 15- 30 seconds.

geico ad



We hope that you too are ready to jump on the pre-roll wagon. If yes, we are right here to help you get started.

Tips for nailing your pre-roll campaign

Timing is not everything but it is important

A pre-roll ad with a good timing understands the value of time of its viewers. It demands a few seconds of the user’s time and delivers the best content in that frame.

The recommended pre-roll video length is between 15-30 seconds. Like we said, since the advertising element is of interruptive nature, it is best to keep it short and crisp. However, it all boils down to how you have utilised those seconds.


Keep it short, simple and unique. There is no point in dragging a pre-roll video beyond a certain time range.

Focus on targeting

Youtube offers you many ways to reach your target audience. Apart from the age and gender filter, you will find an option to target your audience based on their interests.

You will find a list of categories in user interests ranging from cooking enthusiasts to DIYers. So if you know your audience, you can target the right people with this feature.

ad targeting


With your marketing efforts directed towards the right audience, you will be one step closer to an effective campaign.


When targeting your audience, make sure that you choose the categories carefully. Also, remember to pick a combination of categories in a way that you have a wide viewership.

Include a call-to-action and optimise your landing page

So you made an attention grabbing video and your audience is excited to know more about your product. But what will they do if you leave them without CTA? There is a good chance that you will lose a potential customer despite the fact that you were able to successfully engage them.

Use call-to-action in your pre-roll ads to help the audience navigate to the next step. What do you want the user to do? Are you offering him the guidance to reach to the next step?

An effective CTA does just that; it helps you capitalise on the impact of your pre-roll ad.

Make sure that you optimise the landing page in a way that aligns with your marketing goals. Use a good combination of CTA and landing pages to make users subscribe and/or buy your services.


Do not leave your pre-roll ads without a CTA. Whether you want the user to subsribe to your services or buy a certain product, give them clickable CTAs

Make your message clear

Pre-roll ads should strike a clear balance between what the audience wants to watch and what you want to convey as a brand? If you emphasise on just one aspect and ignore the other, your pre-roll strategy may not work in your favor.

Pre-rolls are by nature interruptive. Trying to walk around their very basic nature dissolves their usefulness. Various brands are focusing on making the pre-roll ads engaging (to counteract the annoying effect of being interruptive), giving viewers what they want to watch but failing at advertising the actual product. Result? You may get many views on your pre-roll but you might fail at converting these viewers into customers.


Plan your pre-roll advertisement around the core objective of your marketing strategy. Let your marketing strategy be coherent to the needs of your customer.

Grab the first 5 seconds!

Do not waste these first few seconds in flaunting in your brand logo. The recipe for a successful pre-roll lies in engaging your audience in the initial seconds.


Even if they decide to skip the remaining ad, they go with the takeaway. Showcase your message clearly.


Saving good stuff for the last is not a good idea when it comes to pre-roll. The power of first few seconds plays a major role in dictating how your content will perform. So instead of savoring the euphoric moments for the last few seconds, hold their attention in the first five.

A little humor can help you reap multiple benefits

Your pre-roll ad doesn’t have to focus on being salesy. With humor, you can easily add a human touch to your brand which helps in building better customer relations. In fact, humor is very effective in customer engagement as it resonates with them.

Take some inspiration from the success of Geico.


Whether you are a B2B or a B2C brand, humor can help you establish better customer relations which also helps in building credibility. So do not shy away from using humor. Just keep this in mind: don’t go overboard.


Like most other marketing strategies, pre-roll can work in your favor when you focus on its optimisation. Some pre-roll ads have been massively successful, some others ended up annoying people.

What you need to keep in mind that pre-rolls may not be meant for everyone. So don’t do it just because everyone else is already doing it. In case you do feel that a pre-roll can benefit you, you should distill your video to the smallest length and within this length, deliver your message. The content should be relevant.


There is a step-by-step process for setting up a YouTube pre-roll ad:

  1. Create the ad video and upload it to YouTube.
  2. Create a new ad campaign in Google ads.
  3. Set up targeting to help reach ideal customers.
  4. Select where (YouTube channels or videos) you want to show your pre-roll ad.
  5. Upload and create the ad.

YouTube pre-roll ads are usually 15, 30, or 60 seconds long. Also, they cannot be skipped. The viewer needs to watch the entire video before they can watch the main video they have selected.

Facebook video ads are paid advertisements that feature a video and generally appear in one of various predetermined locations on a visitor’s Facebook feed. If you want to create such a video ad, you can create it from scratch or use an existing post (video) on your Facebook account.

Among all the ad formats available on Facebook, these video ads have the highest click-through rate on average. One of the major reasons for their popularity is that they are able to create an emotional connection with the audience.

Follow the steps below to create a Facebook video ad:

  • Visit Ads Manager on Facebook.
  • Click “+ Create.”
  • Select an objective that goes with the video and click on “Continue.”
  • Enter the details regarding your “Meta Advantage campaign budget,” if applicable, and click “Next.”
  • Select your budget, audience, placements, and optimization, and click “Next.”
  • Select the Format (single image, video, or carousel).
  • Upload the video.
  • Crop or trim the video and customize an image for the thumbnail.
  • Add text, links, and tracking.
  • Click “Publish” to your ad.

The recommended length for a Facebook video ad is 15 seconds or less. This ensures that the viewers watch it till the end. Also, having video ads of that length will allow you to run them for Instagram Stories and Facebook in-stream placements.

The recommended specifications for a Facebook video ad are as follows:

  • File type: MP4, MOV, or GIF
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 (for desktop or mobile) or 4:5 (for mobile)
  • Resolution: At least 1080 by 1080 pixels
  • Size: maximum 4 GD
  • Duration: 1 second to 241 minutes