Pros and Cons of Pre-Roll vs. In-Banner Video Ads

banners / in-banner / in-banner video / online advertising / pre-roll / Video   Posted on Aug 22, 2012 by Emily Williams

The days and weeks until November are dwindling and campaign spending is ramping up rapidly. There has been a lot of speculation recently about how to utilize online advertising - specifically for video - in the crucial final stretch leading up to November 6. Is it pre-roll or bust? But what if that's all sold out? How does in-banner video work? Is that a viable alternative

Pre-Roll Example                                                                       


In-Banner Example

Here at Blueprint Interactive we've worked with - and recommend - both pre-roll and in-banner video. Some pros and cons:

Tactic Pros Cons


Guaranteed video views

Limited inventory


Limited online creative production time

High CPMs -- and only getting higher


"Companion" banners offer bonus impressions, branding

Difficult to microtarget


Track partial and complete video views



Flexible: stream video into any standard ad unit -- on any site

Cannot guarantee video views


Layer on other dynamic elements: in-banner sign up, social media links, etc. 

Require production time (and $)


Can control/cap CPM

Most sites require user to initiate audio, video


Track engagement, video views (partial and complete)


Unlimited targeting opportunities


In short: we like pre-roll for it's quick turnaround time (have video, will launch!) and guaranteed video views. We like in-banner for it's flexibility (video content anywhere, anytime) and targetability. And how do they stack up along cost metrics, you ask? 

Tactic CPM Video View Rate Video Completion Rate Cost per Completed Video View


$20 - $30

100% 65% $0.04


$6 - $10

2.5% 35% $1.15

Pre-roll is considerably more expensive at the outset - and by all accounts, CPM rates will only increase as we move into the fall - but in our experience, along the telling metric "cost per completed view," it is still a full $1.00 cheaper than in-banner video. Bottom line: when your PRIMARY GOAL is inexpensive video views, pre-roll is king. Buy up whatever you can, STAT. They're really not lying about inventory selling out. Where your goals are more nuanced, however, and driving engagement among a very specific universe is key, consider in-banner video. We can use it to deliver a compelling, evocative message to your exact target audience wherever they are online.

Questions? Comments? Shoot us an email!

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