What you need to know about Pre-Roll

The power of online video is undeniable. The amount of time spent watching auto videos online grew 220% in 2016 over the previous year.

If you look specifically at video pre-roll, it’s the number #1 ad format for increasing brand consideration.

What are pre-roll videos?

A Pre-roll ad is a promotional video message that plays before the content the user has selected. Skippable ads appear before videos on sites like CNN, ESPN, and other respected online content providers.

Pre-roll campaigns identify and target auto intenders based on data gathered from their recent online and offline activity. The content is tailored to their interests, so for example, the audience that we focus on for a Volkswagen Beetle would be different than the audience for an Audi A4 or a Volvo C30.

Not only does pre-roll serve these skippable 30 second ads to people searching for the specific vehicle or brand, but also conquests customers searching for similar vehicles. For example, if you’re running a RAM campaign, you might identify and target people that have browsed content related to a Silverado or the F150.

When it comes to pre-roll, stick to skippable ads. Non-skippable ads are highly irritating to consumers trying to enjoy their content, and the last thing any dealer wants is their brand associated with annoyance.

The most important metric you need to consider is your completed view rate.

A completed view is anyone who watches your skippable ad all the way through without skipping through the ad. These consumers get thirty uninterrupted seconds of your message, making them highly valuable prospects for your dealership.

A Google study found that consumers who watch a whole ad have 45% higher brand consideration than people who didn’t, likely because they spent the most time engaging with the content. The longer your ad is in front of your target consumer, the stronger the brand consideration is.

So in pre-roll campaigns, a low completed view rate means a much lower retention and conversion rate. At UnityWorks, our completed view rate average is just above 38%, but the industry average ranges from between 9% to 23%. No matter what your completed view rate is, you can use it as a metric to assess how well your ad is performing.

What do people do after they watch the pre-roll ads?

According to Google, they do the following:

  • 55% use their computer to conduct additional research,
  • 41% visit a dealership to look at the model in person
  • 35% search the VDPs on a dealer’s website.

So you can expect strong engagement when you deploy a pre-roll campaign, especially if your pre-roll campaign has an effective call to action and a customized landing page.

When should you run a pre-roll campaign?

  1. Retail sales events
  2. Inventory sell-downs
  3. New product launches
  4. Combination new model and 10% off accessories
  5. Commercial vehicles
  6. Service promotions like discounted oil changes or free tire rotations

So if you’re looking for an effective way to drive brand consideration in a selected geographical area, pre-roll is definitely a product you should consider adding to your marketing tool belt. The results are targeted, highly engaged prospects on your site and in your dealership!

For more information about pre-roll,

or our other video solutions:

1 800-293-2056

Contact Us


Get in touch with us today and take advantage of the power of video.