Pre-Roll YouTube Adverts: What You Need To Know

When it comes to online video, there is no doubt that YouTube is the king of the castle. YouTube has over a billion users – which equates to almost a third of all Internet users. Every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views.

So with all this attention, can you think of a better place to put in a short, 20 second advert for your company?

What is a Pre Roll Ad?


Similarly to other types of advertisement; a pre-roll is interruptive which means that it can be used in a way that will only annoy people and potentially damage your brand. But if you pull it off, you’ll be providing an entertaining and interesting break to a potentially new customer.

What Makes a Good Pre-Roll Advert?

So it’s clear that the best way to reach your YouTube audience is through pre-roll ads. But there is an art to making an effective pre-roll. You may have noticed before that with a lot of pre-rolls, you have the option to skip the video after 5 seconds. This can have a serious impact on the effectiveness of your pre-roll. Research has shown that 94% of people skip pre-rolls after 5 seconds. That means that you’ve got such a tiny amount of time to grab your users attention and also interest them enough to stop them from skipping your pre-roll. Below are some of our tips for making an effective pre-roll.


  • YouTube Pre-RollsKeep It Short & Sweet – Long pre-rolls are ok, but people are far less likely to sit through them. Viewers are more likely to skip your pre-roll if they see that its 3-5 minutes long. Similarly, they’re more likely to watch the whole advert if its below a minute long. Remember, the aim is to encourage a click. We would recommend you keep it below 30 seconds with 15 seconds being the optimal length. It’s also worth bearing in mind that pre-rolls cannot be skipped if they are less than 20 seconds long.
  • Engage the Viewer – This is the golden rule with most ads, but even more so with pre-rolls as you don’t have long to engage the viewer. Unfortunately, years of poor and annoying pre-rolls have automatically trained people to hit the skip button, so you need to be grabbing their attention even faster than usual. The difference between someone watching your video on your website compared to a pre-roll is that, chances are, they don’t want to watch your video. So give them something to make them stick around.
  • Focus on your Call to Action – Keep in mind that pre-rolls are not just about making an impression; they’re about generating a click. One thing that makes them great is that the audience can interact with them. This means that you don’t need to include loads of copy; the viewer’s next stop is only a click away. It’s not about cramming in tons of detail; it’s about doing your best to force a call to action.


If you’ve got an idea for a pre-roll advert (or even if you haven’t and you would like one) get in touch with Holler today. Our team of producers and talented creatives can work with you to produce a great pre-roll YouTube advert.

Here’s one we made earlier: