How to Boost Landing Page Traffic with Pre-Roll Ads

Digital video content on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter is an internet staple.

Check out the numbers. Statista projects that 248.9 million people will watch online videos in 2022 — in the United States alone.

With so many eyes on digital videos come plenty of advertising opportunities for your brand. And you need channels like advertising to bring visitors to your landing page.

One of the most popular online video ad formats is the pre-roll ad. We’ll show you how pre-roll ads can fit into your marketing strategy and help drive users to your landing page. 

What is a Pre-Roll Ad?

Pre-roll ads are the ads that play before online videos. They can add spice to the stack of search and display ads in your typical landing page campaign.

Depending on the platform you use, pre-roll ads usually come in lengths of 6, 15, 30, or 60 seconds.

To skip or not to skip?

Video advertising platforms often give you the option to make your ad skippable. You might feel conflicted: Should you make viewers stick around for your video, or do you give them more flexibility at risk of fewer views?

To give you context, 65% of viewers skip pre-roll ads. Do you take that option away?

With so many folks skipping ads, it may seem obvious to run non-skippable ads only. But just because someone has to watch your video doesn’t mean they’ll be receptive to your message.

The same report that found that most viewers skip pre-roll ads also discovered an important fact about engagement. People who didn’t skip ads stayed put because they enjoyed the ad or brand. In other words, people not interested in your product self-select themselves out.

So, don’t sweat it too much. The people you want to target will be less likely to skip in the first place.

How to Drive Landing Page Traffic with Pre-Roll Ads

Follow these tips to create a kick-butt pre-roll ad for boosting landing page traffic.

Get to the point

With viewers already primed to hit the “Skip” button on your ad, you only have so much time to get your message across. You’ve got to get to the point — fast.

Whatever pre-roll video length you choose, front-load the first five seconds of your video with the most important info or something attention-grabbing. When you offer the highlight of your video right away, you’ll get your message across even to folks who skip ads. If you go the attention-grabbing route, you’ll have a better chance of encouraging viewers to click through to learn more.

This SurveyMonkey pre-roll ad ticks both boxes in a five-second video.

It uses humor to show the viewer’s pain point — trying to know customers better, but not knowing how — and presents SurveyMonkey as a solution. How can you get creative and show off your product’s solution in five seconds?

Place accordingly

You have multiple options for your pre-roll ad’s platform and targeting. Choose a strategy that fits your audience.

Before you run any pre-roll ads, research your audience, including where they like to go online. Then, choose your ad platform according to its:

  • Audience: Do the people who use this platform overlap with your audience?
  • Format: Does this platform support the pre-roll ad length I want to use?
  • Features: Does this platform have any features, like a “send to phone” option, that will help you direct people to your landing page?

Once you choose your platform, you’ll need to pick keywords and targeting parameters that’ll put your ad in front of your intended audience’s eyes. Aim for keywords related to your product and your audience’s interests.

Don’t be afraid to get hyper-specific with your keywords if you have room in your budget and strategy. Even back in the early 2010s, YouTube had tight keyword targeting, and Burger King used it to create 64 variants of the same ad.

They made ads based on some of YouTube’s most popular videos and topics and matched them with the corresponding videos to give viewers a hyper-personalized experience. If they could do it back then, you can definitely master pre-roll ad targeting in 2022.

Keep it TOFU

Your pre-roll ad could be the first time someone hears about your brand, so don’t push a sale too hard in your video.

You see, every customer goes through a conversion funnel as they get to know your brand. Near the top of that funnel, or the beginning of their awareness of your business, you’ve got to focus on less sales-y language than you would near the bottom. This rule also applies to the topics you cover.

Keep your pre-roll ad content top-of-funnel (TOFU) by focusing on informing or entertaining your viewers. Save any sales for your landing page if you can.

If your campaign involves customers closer to the bottom of the funnel, take a page out of Airbnb’s book. Use informative or educational content to lead into a strong call to action.

Instead of talking about Airbnb’s product, the ad covers a related topic — vacations. It then links vacations to booking an Airbnb.

Stay consistent with your landing page

Imagine clicking on a pre-roll ad about pizza rolls to be taken to a landing page about frozen pizza. Similar subjects, but you’d feel a little misled, right?

Make the transition from your pre-roll ad to your landing page smooth so you don’t confuse customers. It’s okay to have slightly different subjects, but include some sort of connection to your landing page so viewers know what they’re in for.

During the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dove ran the #WashToCare campaign to raise awareness about washing your hands to prevent disease.

In places where they ran #WashToCare videos, they linked to either their #WashToCare page or the page for the overhead Take Care, Be Safe campaign. Both pages mention the #WashToCare hashtag, and the video uses the slogan “Take Care, Be Safe” to link back to the overall campaign.

Editor’s note: Dove linked to pages from its website for this campaign, but we recommend using dedicated landing pages for your pre-roll ads. Leave out any navigation to other pages and stick to a single CTA..

Get the Home Run with a Solid Landing Page

Once a viewer clicks through your ad, your job’s far from over. You have to build a compelling, conversion-focused landing page that’ll get them to do the action you want them to.

Need help creating a landing page that gets results? Give the Unbounce Conversion Intelligence Platform a shot. Think of its Smart Builder, Smart Copy, and Smart Traffic as your all-in-one landing page solution.

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About Josh Gallant
Josh is the SEO Lead at Foundation Marketing where he oversees the creation and execution of search-driven content strategies for B2B brands. He's a self-proclaimed spreadsheet nerd who loves all things SEO, content marketing, and fantasy football (with multiple data-driven titles to his name).
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