YouTube Pre-roll Ads – Are they Worth It?

In a digital world where video content continues to grow in popularity and importance, marketers need to find more and more ways to utilise video as part of their overall marketing strategy. YouTube ads have revealed themselves as an interesting way to get in on the act.

What are YouTube pre-roll ads?

Pre-roll ads, (or in-stream ads as they’re also known), play before a video on YouTube. Of most of these videos, you’re forced to watch five seconds of the pre-roll video, before you can then choose to “skip ad”. An example of interruptive advertising, pre-roll ads are effective because they impose themselves into your everyday experience.

The problem with pre-roll ads

However, this interruptive format is what has led to pre-roll ads being somewhat misused – meaning they can easily become irritating and also create an obstacle between a viewer and the video they’ve actually trying to watch. This is obviously not the impression of your brand you want to communicate – and it can actually work to undermine your brand image (that you’ve laboured so hard to create)!

So, how can I make sure I use pre-roll ads well?

The best pre-roll ads are ones which are interesting, entertaining or which provide real value to a viewer. In this way, they can provide an unexpected break or a brief and different form of entertainment. There are a few benefits involved for you, too:

  • Create brand awareness
  • Drive traffic
  • Lead generation

When creating a pre-roll ad, it’s important to understand where it sits in the buying funnel: which is right at the top. It’s likely to be your customer’s first point of contact with you or the first time they seriously consider your product or service. The main goal should be to create awareness; rather than to achieve a hard sell. Avoid overly promotional content and concentrate instead of the impression of your brand you want the viewer to come away with.

Is it worth it?

Before you sink your advertising budget into YouTube pre-roll ads, you need to evaluate the real worth it offers to your business. Here’s a little bit more about how the ads actually work.

Firstly, consider the rising popularity of video content. According to Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a brand message when they see it in a video, compared with 10% when simply reading copy. 52% of consumers also shared that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchasing decisions.

However, as with many other forms of online advertising, the success of YouTube pre-roll ads depends largely on how well they’re targeted. Pre-roll ads can be segmented by:

  • Geography
  • Language
  • Demographic
  • Interest

Knowing your viewers’ interests means you can serve your ads on appropriate and relevant videos – even if they’re not watching a video of the kind they usually watch.  As we discussed previously, when not done correctly, pre-roll ads can quickly become irritating and relevance is one way to help avoid this. YouTube has many categories and subcategories of video to help you label and target your video effectively. It also helps you save money, as you won’t be wasting time and budget advertising to people who are unlikely to be interested.

Similarly, you don’t actually have to pay when someone chooses to watch your ad (in other words, doesn’t choose to skip it).

How do I get started?

One of the biggest obstacles or challenges, when it comes to YouTube pre-roll ads is simple: creating a good video in the first place. Video is a notoriously expensive medium, as to produce something which does your brand justice it needs to be produced to the highest quality.

However, there are now a number of options available to help you create a video your business can be proud of – without the hefty price tag. Here are just a couple:

  • PowToon – PowToon allows you to create a short animated video for free (it does feature PowToon branding though, which will take away from the slick nature of your video somewhat).
  • Go Animateyou’ll pay a yearly fee for Go Animate, but it’s not extortionate and you’ve got a bit more control over the video you produce.

Do you use YouTube pre-roll advertising? How do you find it compares to other forms of online advertising? Let us know in the comments below!

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.