Understanding Pre Roll Ads

Understanding Pre Roll Ads

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by Alan Jackson — 7 months ago in Development 3 min. read
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Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world consuming content via connected TV (CTV) has exploded, and in response to this, so has advertising spending on in-stream ads.

To maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your advertising budget, learning the different types of ads, particularly about pre roll ad benefits, is essential.

What are Pre Roll Ads?

Pre roll ads are a form of in-stream advertising, which simply means the ad is played directly within the video playing software at some point during the content the consumer has selected to watch.



A pre roll video ad is played before the content itself starts, as opposed to mid roll ads, which interrupt the content like traditional TV advertising or post roll ads that play after the primary content has finished.

It is common on platforms like Youtube to use a mix of pre roll ads that the user must watch in their entirety and ads that can be skipped after several seconds.

The latter method allows users to see a snippet of the ad, giving the advertiser a chance to hook them but allowing those not interested in the ad to continue to their content more promptly.

Companies pay higher advertising costs for a non-skippable ad, as they are guaranteed the full message will be shown if the user is watching the screen.

Do all Platforms use Pre Roll Ads?

Some platforms allow these ads to be disabled, allowing their users to customize their ad interactions. This improves the user’s experience whilst allowing the platform to even monetize in other ways. A couple of examples of how platforms handle the removal of pre roll ads are:
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  • Twitch –

The game streaming behemoth allows streamers the option to run ad breaks to turn off pre roll ads for new joiners.

The length of time the pre roll ads are turned off depends on the length of the ad break: a 30-second ad break turns them off for 10 minutes, a 60-second break turns them off for 20 minutes, or 90 seconds or longer turns them off for 30 minutes.

A streamer can accumulate larger pre roll free intervals by running additional ad breaks before the earned time has elapsed. This approach allows the streamer to make their content more accessible to late joiners by using more structured breaks that will be familiar to viewers from TV.

These breaks can work in the streamer’s favor, allowing them the chance to catch their breath or get a drink during the show without leaving dead air, which allows the streamer to provide higher quality content, in turn making it more appealing ad space.
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  • Youtube –

A new household staple that provides content covering a vast range of categories. The video hosting site is a large part of why pre roll ads are now normal when it comes to consuming free to access content.

YouTube offers a paid membership that removes all ads from the user’s experience, along with a handful of other benefits.

This improves their experiences whilst allowing Youtube to generate more revenue from each individual account than advertising would otherwise.
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The Benefits of Pre Roll Advertising

When choosing a form of advertising, understanding the upsides of each type is the best way to make an informed decision. The benefits of pre roll advertising are:

  • They are less intrusive than mid roll ads and banner ads, not disrupting the consumers viewing experience once it has begun.
  • Video advertising, pre roll especially, has become a part of daily life for many through services like Youtube. This means that although a consumer may not like an ad being shown before their content, they are less likely to experience ad fatigue due to it because they accept it as the norm.
  • As the ad plays immediately when the consumer opens the video they want to watch, advertisers can be assured at least some portion of their ad will be seen. This is in contrast to other ads where the viewer may close the video first or even leave the room.
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The Takeaway

Of all forms of advertising present in the CTV ecosystem, pre roll ads are easily one of the most common and widely accepted.


This powerful ad format delivers high viewer attention with a smaller than normal chance of causing ad fatigue, allowing advertisers a strong voice whilst allowing those selling advertising space very lucrative digital real estate.

Alan Jackson

Alan is content editor manager of The Next Tech. He loves to share his technology knowledge with write blog and article. Besides this, He is fond of reading books, writing short stories, EDM music and football lover.

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