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Pre-roll Advertising

Published Date: 12 May 2023

What is Pre-roll Advertising?

Pre-roll advertising refers to the practice of displaying video advertisements before the desired video content plays on various digital platforms. It is a common form of online video advertising used by content publishers and advertisers to monetize content and reach targeted audiences.

How Pre-roll Advertising Works?

Here's how pre-roll advertising works:

  • Placement: Pre-roll ads are typically placed at the beginning of video content on platforms such as streaming services, video-sharing websites, or social media platforms. When users click to watch a video, an advertisement plays before the desired content starts.
  • Ad Format: Pre-roll ads are video advertisements, usually ranging from a few seconds to a minute in length. They can be skippable or non-skippable, depending on the platform and ad settings. Skippable ads allow viewers to skip the ad after a specified duration, while non-skippable ads require viewers to watch the entire ad before accessing the desired content.
  • Targeting: Advertisers use various methods to ensure their pre-roll ads reach the intended audience. Targeting can be based on demographics, interests, browsing behavior, or other relevant criteria. This enables advertisers to reach users who are more likely to be interested in their products or services.
  • Ad Delivery: When a user initiates a video, the pre-roll ad is fetched from an ad server and delivered to the user's device. The ad is then played before the requested video content, allowing advertisers to convey their message and capture viewers' attention.
  • Measurement and Analytics: Advertisers track key performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of pre-roll campaigns. These metrics include views, click-through rates (CTRs), completion rates, and engagement levels. By analyzing these data, advertisers can optimize their campaigns and make data-driven decisions for future ad placements.

Examples of Pre-Roll Advertising

  • YouTube Pre-roll Ads: A short video ad plays before the selected content when watching a video on YouTube. Users are often allowed to skip the ad after a few seconds. Advertisers can target their ads based on user preferences, interests, or search history.
  • Streaming Services Pre-roll Ads: Many streaming platforms, such as Netflix or Hulu, incorporate pre-roll ads before TV shows or movies start. These ads can be skippable or non-skippable and are often personalized based on user viewing habits and preferences.
  • Social Media Pre-roll Ads: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter offer pre-roll ad placements within their video content. Advertisers can target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, or engagement with similar content.

Pre-roll advertising allows advertisers to deliver targeted video messages to a captive audience. While it may be seen as an interruption to the desired content, effective pre-roll ads can engage viewers and generate brand awareness, leading to increased ad effectiveness and potential conversions.

Related Terms

Pixel Ratio

Pixel Ratio (Pixel Aspect Ratio or PAR) describes the relationship between the width and height of a pixel in a digital image.


P-Frame, or Predicted Frame, refers to the type of frame in video compression that only contains the changes that occur between it and the previous I-Frame (Infra-Coded Frame) or the previous P-Frame.

Pre-Recorded Video

The videos already recorded and stored in computers before being broadcast to viewers are called pre-recorded videos.

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