What are pre-roll ads?

AdTech Industry Definitions
Last updated: February 9, 2021 | by Kean Graham
pre-roll video ads

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Video advertising isn’t going away anytime soon. According to eMarketer, advertisers will spend around $16 billion on mobile video advertising for 2019 alone. That would result in more than a 22% increase YOY. Mobile Video advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. Within this advertising category lives a range of multiple ad types, ad units and more. Let’s take a closer look at what pre-roll ads are.

What are pre-roll ads?

Pre-roll ads are video ads shown in a video player before the video content is played. Pre-roll is part of in-stream and linear video ads are in that subcategory. Linear ads are used to describe video ads that play during a video. Widely used time frames include before(pre), during(mid) and after(post) the video.

It’s also important to understand that in-stream video ads are shown within the video player where the video content is displayed.

The simplest way to describe a pre-roll video ad is an ad that is shown within the video player before the main video content starts to play. These advertisements are very popular on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, and many other platforms.

Often an interactive element is included with pre-roll ads. Using YouTube as an example, users get the option to skip an ad after a few seconds by clicking on the “Skip Ad” button within the video player.

Users can also find more information about the product or service being advertised by clicking on the “Learn More” button within the video player screen.


Pre-roll ads contain many benefits for both publishers and advertisers. Although the benefits listed here are more focused on advertisers, they are inherently connected to publishers as well. If an ad unit provides advertisers with value, they will continue to use it and increase demand for video ads.

Pre-roll ads are one of the most commonly used video ad types. It serves as a creative and visual way to promote a product or service and generate brand awareness.

Depending on the platform used, flexible targeting allows advertisers to target users based on video topics, interests, and other variables.

In most cases, a pre-roll ad must be played for at least a few seconds before the user is allowed to skip the ad. Even if the user ends up skipping the ad, it will at least increase brand awareness for the few seconds the ad was played.

Some studies have also shown that pre-roll ads are the least intrusive video ad type compared to mid-roll and out-stream ad formats. The image from eMarketer below shows just that.

What are pre-roll ads? MonitizeMore


Now that you have a better understanding of pre-roll ads, you might be thinking, how can I as a publisher start running video ads on my site? You should start by signing up to a good video ad network listed here.

However, even though the video advertising market is growing at a phenomenal rate, video ads might or might not be a good fit for your website. The fact is that there isn’t a one size fits all solution for each publisher that monetizes with ads.

Save yourself the hassle of signing up to dozens of ad networks, testing and figuring out what setups work best. Bring in a trusted video ad management partner and we’ll help you scale up your video monetization strategy. Sign up for MonetizeMore today!

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