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The market for online video ads has never been hotter. According to comScore, 156 million U.S. Internet viewers watched 8.3 billion video ads in March.

Given how long the industry has been around, I was surprised that a leading digital advertising event recently celebrated various long-form online video ad executions without even mentioning pre-roll. This is evidence that many advertisers still think of “online video ads” as one- to five-minute videos that are perfect for posting on YouTube or a brand’s Facebook page, in hopes that it will go viral and generate millions of tweets and Facebook “likes” from users.

While these “video ads” could be very successful as a viral video, they wouldn’t be very useful as an advertisement, since they are much too long to hold people’s attention or keep viewers fully engaged.

Short, to-the-point ads are more effective at holding a person’s attention and extending the audience for existing ad campaigns.

Pre-roll is usually placed before online video content, but there are different ways to utilize this format. It can also be served in apps and games, online and on mobile devices. There are also many different pre-roll units to choose from, depending on the overall goal of the campaign. Interactive pre-roll (IPR) allows users to engage with the ad directly.

Advertisers can rework long-form promotional video content and pare it down to make shorter ads more suitable for pre-roll or TV.

There’s a time and a place for both long-form and pre-roll video, and advertisers should think strategically about how best to use each in their campaigns.

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