Pre-Rolls vs Video Banners in Retargeting: What’s the Deal?

The limited attention span of online users has pretty much created an entire industry: video advertising. The hunger for video has forced advertisers to migrate from static ads to video and this of course has spilled over into retargeting.

Pre-Rolls vs Video Banners in Retargeting: What’s the Deal?

Pre-Rolls vs Video Banners in Retargeting: What’s the Deal?

Both stats and viewer feedback have shown that video retargeting is hugely successful in the way it impacts users on how they respond to video both in emotion and in action. According to a recent study which appears in a blog by Sinema Films, 81% of people who watched retargeted video ads said that video played a major role in their purchasing decisions. Since video is the best option for successful retargeting, it is important to understand what types and features are available in video retargeting.


Pre-Rolls or Video Banners?

Pre-Rolls and video banners are both effective, and in fact can complement ad campaigns when both are used, rather than compete, but it’s important to understand their differences, capabilities and best practices.


Since pre-rolls have become so competitive in video advertising, companies always strive to meet or exceed industry standards — standards that are constantly evolving.
Pre-Rolls are great for advertisers and annoying for consumers— or are they? The secret is to create them strategically in order to increase sales and decrease the disruption factor.


Producing great videos for pre-rolls is not just about the video quality. Content must be convincing and relevant enough that viewers will not be eager to skip your ad. Retargeting already implies some relevancy, but it’s all in how the content is written, incorporated and presented. The less generic, more personalized message will determine how users receive the message and choose to respond.


Storytelling is part of the content but deserves its own category. While content in general will determine the message you would like to convey, storytelling is what gives life to your content. Everyone likes to hear a good story and if you present an ad as an interesting story, viewers will become engrossed in the story, forgetting about the advertisement aspect.

Annotations/Info Cards

Annotations provide a layer of interaction that engages users and increases conversions. This strategic aspect of YouTube pre rolls is not new, but info cards, which launched last year, are considerably newer. As mobile phones became bigger and bigger (both in size and in popularity) the demand for video annotations, which are not compatible with mobile, became crucial. Google launched info cards as the mobile version of annotations.

Music / VO

Music is nice to include in videos, but a voice over must also be included in order to provide a more personal feel for the viewer, since it increases engagement, and engagement leads to more sales.


TrueView in-Stream is the TrueView measurement that advertisers are concerned with for pre-rolls. Google has provided advertisers with a great deal: the ad is free if a user watches less than 30 seconds, as long as the entire video is longer than 30 seconds. Since the goal is to include all relevant information within the first five seconds of the video for increased conversions, this is a generous ad plan laid out by Google.


Video Banner Ads

Banners in the traditional sense are losing steam, yet ad blocking increased by 41%. This has paved the way for video banners to reinvent banner ads. Video banners are much more effective than static or animated banners because of their high engagement level and ability to attract attention from the standard banners that have become all too common.

Storytelling Advantage

Storytelling in banner ads has not even been on the radar until video banners came along. Static or animated banner ads are limited. All you need is a two-second powerful video to tell a good story. It has been proven that engagement leads to sales and that storytelling coupled with video is the strongest combination for success.


Static Banner ads, or even animated ones, are proven to be ignored or blocked, so much so that banner blindness has become a thing prompting the need for numerous articles to be written on how to combat this phenomenon.

Tracking Video Ads

Video banner ads can be placed on any website. The option of placing video banner ads (both personalized and retargeted) in a variety of sites, increases exposure, brand recognition and sales. Viewers can see the video in just a couple of seconds and can choose to click on the ad to start the purchasing process, or visit the site without clicking (view-through). Video ads have a 4-7x higher CTR than standard banner ads and both clicks and view-through rates can be measured.

Music and V/O

Music and voiceovers are not required in just a two-second advertisement. Video banners tell a story in such a visual, powerful manner that the viewer will be engaged, entertained and convinced in those two short seconds. It is the movement of the video that really jumps off the page and attracts the user, and that is most powerful part on a web page.

Pre-Rolls and video banners can be used simultaneously in retargeting to expand the effects of campaigns, and to analyze which strategy works best for each client.

The key elements in both are video and that’s what works, because that’s what users expect.

Author: Janis Raisen