5 Ways to Make Good Pre-roll Ads (that people might actually watch)

5 Ways to Make Good Pre-roll Ads (that people might actually watch)

Source: Vidyard Between the title and the first line, I’ve shown why you want to read this article, and it only took 5 seconds. If you have no inter

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Between the title and the first line, I’ve shown why you want to read this article, and it only took 5 seconds. If you have no interest in what you’ve seen so far, it’s likely you’re ready to leave.

This is the basic premise of a pre-roll—those annoying ads that play before the video you actually want to watch. You have to endure them for at least 5 seconds until you’re allowed to skip through. Because they are so easy to skip, pre-rolls have the highest standard of quality, custom-tailored to engage and delight us in such a short time, right?

Well, maybe not. Think of the last time you didn’t skip a pre-roll. Every day, I see terrible ads that have no chance at winning my engagement. It’s not because pre-roll is a bad medium. It’s because most ads aren’t engaging.

So, what does a good pre-roll look like? Here’s my favorite example of all-time, especially because of how low-budget it looks.

Not impressed? 91% of viewers watched the ad to the end, 7.1% clicked through, and app downloads increased by 75% during the campaign. Not bad for text and spinning burgers.

These are the results you care about. Anyone can buy impressions to bulk up a monthly report. But what you really want is engagement and, by extension, business results. I chose the Eat 24 video as an example because it proves that you don’t need a massive budget or an elaborate premise to be successful. Instead, success comes from a deep understanding of your audience. As a video production studio, we’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure this out, and here are our top five insights.

Truth #1: Nobody wants pre-roll

We can all agree that, given a choice, we’d rather not watch pre-roll—or any commercials at all. Most ads lack any empathy on this point, enthusiastically getting in our faces and refusing to acknowledge that they’re forcibly invading our day. Pre-rolls are especially disruptive.

What to do about it: Focus on providing value, not copy

I know that sounds terribly cliché. But before you groan/close this article/burn my house down, look at the video above. It barely mentions anything about their actual service. Instead, it focuses on providing value—in this case, piquing our curiosity and entertaining us. It’s an ad that understands that people don’t like ads. The big question is not “How do I talk about myself?” It’s “How can I delight my audience in the short time I have?”

Truth #2: Pre-rolls are essentially 5 second videos

If you have a long, intricate message, pre-roll ads are not the place/time to share them. Years of terrible ads have trained us to immediately hammer that “skip” button.

What to do about it: Make 5-second videos

When creating your video, assume that you only have 5 seconds with your audience. Boil down and present the most basic version of your message, or entice the viewer to continue watching. We always recommend 15 seconds as the…

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