close menu

Why 90% of Users Skip Your Pre-Roll Ads and How to Prevent This

Why 90% of Users Skip Your Pre-Roll Ads and How to Prevent This

Video has worked its way up from just another form of visual content to a potent marketing tool. We have already entered the golden era of video ads: HubSpot reported that 54% of consumers want to see more video materials from brands that they support. 

However, there is a major pain point of video advertising: consumers tend to skip video ads, especially pre-rolls. A survey conducted on 1,015 adults by ORC international revealed that 90% of people tend to skip pre-roll video ads that appear ahead of online video content and try to avoid sources where those ads are unskippable. 

Why 90% of Users Skip Your Pre-Roll Ads and How to Prevent This gif

Even if we put the pre-roll ads aside and only talk about all types and formats of video ads, the figures still do not tend to perform any better. According to IPG, 65% of people skip video ads, and they do so the first chance they get. What’s more, not all users do it because they want to skip this particular ad. As many as 76% disclosed that they tend to skip ads out of habit.

Surprising? Yes.

Undoubtedly, all these figures hurt. So, what can you do about it? We at Epom analyzed 200+ pre-roll ad campaigns and prepared some good and bad examples of video ads. Later in this article, you’ll find out a detailed explanation of how Burger King, Grammarly, and Wix succeeded with their pre-roll commercials, and how you can do so as well. 

But first, let’s try to understand the reason why people skip pre-roll ads.

Why Do People Skip Ads?

Consumer psychology plays its role. Let’s see how. 

Overly happy ads do not go well with the viewers, despite being widespread

You may feel that smiling people in your video ads will attract viewers, impart positivity, and keep consumers glued till the end. Wrong.

It was found that the sight of watching too many happy, often artificially sweet people in the first few seconds of an ad, especially when the viewer is not in a good mood themselves, proves to be annoying. This affects the user so much that they tend to skip YouTube ads on the go.

Example: If one of the scenes of your commercial looks like this stock image, it may discourage your audience from viewing the rest of the video:

stocky corporate people image


Key takeaway: Avoid displaying fake emotions and stock-like scenes in your pre-roll ads. 

Ads that introduce your brand too early tend to kill the curiosity

Do not make your brand sound clingy. Avoid over-branding, at all costs. Once users know the brand the ad is sponsored by, they no longer feel interested in the ad. The result? They tend to skip it.

Further, if you introduce your brand too quickly in your ad, it might make your brand look pushy and annoying. And this is the last thing that you want. 

Example: This short (only 6 seconds) pre-roll ad from PG Tips is quite the opposite. They successfully avoided this mistake and made their ad almost unskippable. Here is a great hook at the start and brand introduction at the end of the video. However, this end comes just after the hook, so the viewer can’t miss it. 

PG tips Green Tea

Reach for a Green Tea and join me in calling out the silly and ridiculous! United we can #keepittea

Key takeaway: Keep it short and simple with a timely introduction.

However, creating effective, engaging content that keeps viewers from skipping isn’t as straightforward. A skilled writing service can significantly assist in designing video scripts that balance creativity and video length.

Ads that reinvent the wheel do not appeal to the users

Your creative instincts might inspire you to try something out of the box. But as they say – consumers are likely to get irritated by ads that do not sound like ads.

A lot of consumers don’t like the idea when they have to boggle their minds to understand if a certain video was an ad or something else. 

Example: This is not exactly a pre-roll video, but it perfectly illustrates the point of what I’d like to say. A popular blogger reviews Fanta flavors as a part of their commercial campaign “What’s your Flava?”. 

At first glance, it seems like it’s not advertising, but just a creative vlog about blogger’s beverage preferences. But at the time when the viewer gets that the primary purpose of this video was advertising, they feel tricked and even cheated, as they’d like to hear genuine advice from this blogger. 

The same works for pre-roll video. When your video has too much “native-like” look and features a lot of creative hooks not inherent to ads, they may be disappointed to learn that it was just an ad. 

Introducing Fanta “What’s your Flava”

For a bit of fun! What does your #FantaTastesLike? Send your suggestion on Twitter via #FantaTastesLike and it could be made into a video - for realzies! Then, check this space to see how you can stand a chance to win the ultimate day of fun… Coming soon! T’s and C’s apply. ♡ Subscribe: ♡ CONNECT WITH ME Facebook: Snapchat: theodoralee Twitter: Instagram: Tumblr: Blog:

Key takeaway: Be creative, but not at the expense of clarity.

How to Make Your Ads Engaging

Here are a few tips that will make your pre-roll ads in videos engaging:

Personalize, but don’t overdo

The best way to make your consumers interested in your ad is to make it about them. With a range of tools and dataset at your disposal, it is easy to understand your target market, their preferences, and dislikes.

Example: Burger King sets a perfect example by making 64 personalized pre-rolls instead of just one. Their ad campaign not only targets the audience well, but it also keeps them hooked until the end. Basically, they created a search-based ad campaign wherein the pre-roll ads were contextually related to the last search performed by the user before landing on the video.

Burger King 'Pre-roll' via Colenso BBDO and Flying Fish via StopPress

Burger King 'Pre-roll' via Colenso BBDO and Flying Fish via StopPress

Make your content feel real

While a high-resolution video with all-things-shiny is important, it is equally critical to understand what your customers value most. They are looking for an authentic feel and want to hear something that they truly care about.

Example: Wix, a popular website builder, uses a similar template for their current pre-roll ad campaign. The video starts with a question: “Need a professional website?” – and that’s exactly what their audience expects to hear, as it’s the primary goal of the majority. 

From the 6th second, the narrator gets down to business and starts showing how anyone can build a website with Wix. No fluff, just actionable tutorial. And that’s in the ad! 

Create a Professional Website For Your Business |

Go to to create a professional website, build your online brand and grow your business

Tell your audience a story

The best way to keep your users hooked till the end is by telling them a story, from the script stage. Do not just make them wait for the crucial 5 seconds of your video ad after which they can click the Skip button. Instead, lure them into your script deep enough to distract them from their goal for which they came to this website. 

Example: In this 1-minute video, Grammarly, the most popular online grammar check service, tells the story about an employee trying to find the right words for the email to his boss. The video is quite long as for pre-roll, but it’s so appealing that you can’t stop until you know how it turns out. 

Closing the Distance | Grammarly

Tyler is trying to build a better relationship with his boss, Anita

More Examples of Cool Pre-Roll Ads


Opel played with the functioning of the skip button and used it to their advantage. This German compact SUV maker used an SUV to interact with the skip button as if it was a physical object. The SUV drove over the skip button, crashed into it, and did a lot of fun stunts.


This pre-roll ad campaign has just the right amount of creativity. Chipsmore decided to play around YouTube’s website elements and spook the viewer with a “video is not available” red brick. But just in one sec, a funny cookie arrives at the screen and brings relief! 

Sorry, not sorry. #takeiteasy

Sorry, not sorry. #takeiteasy

Alternatives to Pre-Roll Ads

Although video pre-roll ads are a great method to market your product, they are not the only option to utilize the power of video. People tend to skip pre-rolls because they prevent them from seeing content they want to watch right now. They perceive them as an obstacle on the way to their goal, and therefore keeping users engaged is a tough task to achieve for this video format.  

Here are a few suggestions which will prove to be promising alternatives to pre-roll ads:

Outstream videos

If your pre-rolls don’t work, outstream video advertising could come to your rescue. For starters, outstream video ads live outside video players. Ever noticed those muted videos that appear out of nowhere when you are reading an article on Forbes or elsewhere? How many times has it happened that you tend to watch the video instead of reading the content? Well, this is none other than outstream videos.

Basically, this is an advanced form of video advertising wherein a large-format video player appears in the middle of the page content and starts playing a video ad automatically.

Video ads on social media 

Social video advertising doesn’t live solely on YouTube in 2020. Videos are taking over Facebook, Instagram, and even Linkedin: you can advertise with videos on any social platform now.


These ads are displayed in the natural user’s habitat – an average person spends around 2.5 hours per day on social media, which is more than they spend on surfing the web via a browser. 

The booming format among them is stories, short videos with a 24-hour lifespan popular on Instagram and Facebook. The best part is that you can make a video ad for them in minutes, using handy Instagram stories templates. After that, all you need to do is fuel your social media marketing campaign with the high-quality dataset and target the right audiences.

with Wave.videoTry now


As you can see, pre-roll ads are amazing, but they have their own limitations. It seems that you have to double your creative efforts to drive great results. But it doesn’t mean you have to spend 2x more time making videos! What about spending 2x less? It’s entirely possible with online video makers. 

Unleash your potential with create your own video ads by combining pre-made video clips in a drag-n-drop editor. Enhance your marketing with engaging videos and without any hassle.

And by the way, what are your views on the topic we’ve just covered? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author: Kateryna Novatska is a marketing specialist who develops a digital content strategy for B2B companies. She has 3-year experience of working in the ad tech & digital advertising industries.

Why 90% of Users Skip Your Pre-Roll Ads and How to Prevent This

We’ll keep you in the loop!

Join 5,000 marketers who read our articles first