Ice, Ice, Maybe: Are Pre-Roll Ads a Good Idea? (Part 1)

Pre-Roll Ads

Ice, Ice, Maybe: Are Pre-Roll Ads a Good Idea? (Part 1)

Not all video marketing is a surefire hit; pre-roll ads can be deceptively slippery. In this three-part series, learn why it’s important to do pre-roll well, how to deliver a great pre-roll ad—and how to avoid getting the cold shoulder from your customers.


Here in Iowa, there’s a tip that gets regurgitated annually during the first snowfall of the season: Stay off the roads.

It’s not because winter driving is hard for experienced Midwesterners—we’ve had a lifetime to learn how not to skid through stop signs.

However, every 12 months, a selective amnesia blankets the state, and everyone forgets their years of hard-won winter wisdom.

In other words… We drive like fools. Watching the Flyover State SUV Ice Capades is a lot like watching Idina Menzel’s character stumble her way through Frozen—so much power, so little control.

But at least Elsa has the decency to be anxious about the power she wields. Not so with Midwesterners, and even less so with marketers. When marketers find themselves navigating powerful tools over precarious terrain, they tend to forget everything they’ve ever learned and spin out in all directions.

Take pre-roll video ads: online promotional videos that run in front of a viewer’s selected content.

People who want to sell you pre-roll ads will cite all kinds of statistics about the wonders of video marketing:

  • Better message retention!
  • Increased consumer confidence!
  • Higher conversion rates!

But they are forgetting one glaring difference:

People go out looking for videos—they want to see them. Nobody goes out looking for pre-roll ads.

Why does that matter?

First, pre-roll videos have an astronomical skip rate. Every skip is marketing dollars wasted.

But more importantly, from a branding perspective, pre-roll ads interrupt the user experience. In other words, every time you stick a pre-roll ad (boo!) in front of Grumpy Cat (yay!), you’re honking your customers off.

But there is hope! Good pre-roll does exist, but it takes solid execution. We’re here to give you the Dos and Don’ts.

Next week—What to avoid when creating a pre-roll ad.