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Do’s and don'ts for maximising your pre-roll stickiness

Damian Bartolomucci
Damian Bartolomucci
 • 
August 19, 2022
 • 
2 minute read
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Pre-roll advertising is a great way to introduce your brand to audiences by catching their attention with a brief video at the beginning of content they’re primed to watch. But there’s a lot to accomplish in a short window to make your ad pop.

We spoke with Calum Davies from production company, Video Taxi, to find out more about the do’s and don’ts of creating the most effective and ‘sticky’ pre-roll ads.

DO: Keep it short

5-7 seconds is the sweet spot to keep audiences engaged without losing their attention. It’s short enough that they’re not looking for the skip button, but enough time to make a connection.

DON’T: Try to tell a story

You’ve only got seconds to work with, and effective storytelling takes time. Instead, lead with an engaging hook, present your solution, and end with brand awareness.

“You’re trying to get audiences to want to watch through and stay engaged so it has to be short and sharp. You don’t want them to look at their phone and go, ‘oh, this’ll be over in 5 seconds so let me just check out socials.’”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Utilise psychological cues

Our ears perk at the sound of laughter. Green is calming and evokes nature. And even the scariest movie feels light-hearted with “Yakety Sax” playing. Psychological cues help you cover more ground in less time by instantly tapping into viewers’ emotions.

DON’T: Evoke complicated emotions

Sadness, regret, hopelessness - powerful emotions, but tough to achieve in a pre-roll ad.

Try excitement, surprise, and amusement instead for quick and inviting connections with audiences.

“Bigger emotions come with time. They don't come within seconds.”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Focus on brand recognition

Logos, colour, and slogans aren’t the only elements of brand recognition - your ad style speaks volumes about who you are, too. A consistent style across pre-roll ads develops familiarity and allows audiences to instantly recognise your brand.

DON’T: Conduct interviews

Unless they’re instantly recognisable, there’s not enough time to establish the credibility needed to make an interview impactful. Well-known public figures are good, but lesser-known faces require too much work to gain an audience's trust in the time allotted.

“Replicable marketing is very good for brand awareness - anything you can duplicate as a template develops a shorthand with audiences”.
Calum Davies, Video Taxi

DO: Aim for simplicity

Less is more with pre-roll advertising. Simple messaging combined with shorthand cues (sound, colour, tone, etc.) make it easier for audiences to remember your brand.

DON’T: Cram too much information

Forcing too much information into one pre-roll ad runs the risk of muddling your message, and worse, losing your audience. A clear call to action (CTA) does the job of connecting your audience with everything else you want to say without complicating your ad.

“The simplest ideas are sometimes the most effective. The more you overcook it, the harder it is to execute, the harder it is to hit that end goal at that end demographic.”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Revisit your pre-roll content

Once your pre-roll ad has had time to run, revisit and revise based on performance. Adjustments to messaging, length, CTAs, etc. should be made based on your clickthrough rates to find the perfect formula that lands best with audiences.

DON’T: Skimp on production quality

Pre-roll ads are your chance to introduce your brand to new audiences, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Shaky cameras, bad lighting, and poor sound quality lead to snap judgements and create negative perceptions of who you are as a brand.

Ready for a simple future?

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Do’s and don'ts for maximising your pre-roll stickiness

Read the tips and tricks for compelling pre-roll advertising that will stick in your audience's minds.

Pre-roll advertising is a great way to introduce your brand to audiences by catching their attention with a brief video at the beginning of content they’re primed to watch. But there’s a lot to accomplish in a short window to make your ad pop.

We spoke with Calum Davies from production company, Video Taxi, to find out more about the do’s and don’ts of creating the most effective and ‘sticky’ pre-roll ads.

DO: Keep it short

5-7 seconds is the sweet spot to keep audiences engaged without losing their attention. It’s short enough that they’re not looking for the skip button, but enough time to make a connection.

DON’T: Try to tell a story

You’ve only got seconds to work with, and effective storytelling takes time. Instead, lead with an engaging hook, present your solution, and end with brand awareness.

“You’re trying to get audiences to want to watch through and stay engaged so it has to be short and sharp. You don’t want them to look at their phone and go, ‘oh, this’ll be over in 5 seconds so let me just check out socials.’”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Utilise psychological cues

Our ears perk at the sound of laughter. Green is calming and evokes nature. And even the scariest movie feels light-hearted with “Yakety Sax” playing. Psychological cues help you cover more ground in less time by instantly tapping into viewers’ emotions.

DON’T: Evoke complicated emotions

Sadness, regret, hopelessness - powerful emotions, but tough to achieve in a pre-roll ad.

Try excitement, surprise, and amusement instead for quick and inviting connections with audiences.

“Bigger emotions come with time. They don't come within seconds.”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Focus on brand recognition

Logos, colour, and slogans aren’t the only elements of brand recognition - your ad style speaks volumes about who you are, too. A consistent style across pre-roll ads develops familiarity and allows audiences to instantly recognise your brand.

DON’T: Conduct interviews

Unless they’re instantly recognisable, there’s not enough time to establish the credibility needed to make an interview impactful. Well-known public figures are good, but lesser-known faces require too much work to gain an audience's trust in the time allotted.

“Replicable marketing is very good for brand awareness - anything you can duplicate as a template develops a shorthand with audiences”.
Calum Davies, Video Taxi

DO: Aim for simplicity

Less is more with pre-roll advertising. Simple messaging combined with shorthand cues (sound, colour, tone, etc.) make it easier for audiences to remember your brand.

DON’T: Cram too much information

Forcing too much information into one pre-roll ad runs the risk of muddling your message, and worse, losing your audience. A clear call to action (CTA) does the job of connecting your audience with everything else you want to say without complicating your ad.

“The simplest ideas are sometimes the most effective. The more you overcook it, the harder it is to execute, the harder it is to hit that end goal at that end demographic.”
Calum Davies, Video Taxi
DO: Revisit your pre-roll content

Once your pre-roll ad has had time to run, revisit and revise based on performance. Adjustments to messaging, length, CTAs, etc. should be made based on your clickthrough rates to find the perfect formula that lands best with audiences.

DON’T: Skimp on production quality

Pre-roll ads are your chance to introduce your brand to new audiences, so make sure you put your best foot forward. Shaky cameras, bad lighting, and poor sound quality lead to snap judgements and create negative perceptions of who you are as a brand.

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