A beginner's guide to video ad networks

Video as one of the ways of advertising becomes more frequent year after year. It is largely due to the fact that users of the world’s Internet obtain more and more powerful mobile devices to hold in hands 24/7. Now playing an HD video in a streaming service is much simpler than it was 5 and especially 10 years ago – and most of it comes for free.

So it would be an unthinkable waste of advertising possibilities if advertisers did not use videos for their purposes.

Classification of video ads

There are two basic types of video advertisement: In-stream and Out-stream.

In-stream video ads surround the content that a user intends to watch. If you have seen at least one of videos on YouTube without using AdBlock, you were fed with commercials that play with the video you wanted to view.

Out-stream is not connected to the video content and may be placed as just regular banners. Another way they are used is being placed inside of apps. As the most frequent apps on mobile devices are games, almost everyone is acquainted with a need to view a short video to receive some portion of in-game loot, which can be of varying deliciousness. Typically, these are 15-30 seconds videos that promote another game, merchandise or service. Out-stream videos are advantageous for publishers and advertisers more than In-stream, as they may not be connected with the topic of your app or content, focusing on interests of a particular user or trying to show a user something completely different that advertisers are sure this user may like, based on similar reaction of other users of the same profile. Out-stream videos have a 2.5% higher click-through rate compared to In-stream video advertisements.

What are In-stream video ads

There are four types of In-stream video ads:

  • pre-roll
  • mid-roll
  • post-roll
  • native

On YouTube, as the most popular streaming video advertising platform of the world, they all are met specifically broadly (if you don’t use the AdBlock browser as default, you will see those videos for sure, no matter how many other Ad blockers you have installed). It is especially the case with YouTube app – which will show you far more ads in return for a possibility to view better-quality videos (720 and 1024 quality) as if you watched them simply on the default browser (which on mobile devices disallows you to improve the quality of a video).
Pre-roll are ones that are played before the anticipated video starts. They are usually 5-15 seconds long and a huge portion of them is unskippable.

Post-roll plays when the video is over (with the length usually not limited to 30 seconds but that can last even several minutes). You can skip it or stop it playing.
Mid-roll is the one that, unlike pre-roll and post-roll, may be played more than once within one video. If you’re watching a long film or a TV show or anything like that, you will likely face 2…20 embedded mid-roll videos. They are limited to 30 seconds mostly and can be skipped shortly (usually, after 5-8 seconds pass). The number of mid-rolls depends on several criteria:

  • how long the video is
  • how popular the video is (with increased popularity and length, the number of played commercials increases)
  • how relevant are mid-rolls for a particular user (some of them may be skipped for good if they will be too far from the user’s online profile).

Native commercial can be of any length. It is a paid video that mimics the videos in your current playlist matching your interests as much as possible, trying to make your user experience smooth. Some users don’t even get that they have just listened to/watched to a native commercial.

Most popular video ad platforms

Now as you know the forms of ad videos, it is time to learn the three biggest video advertising platforms

  1. YouTube – with millions of videos added every day, it’s the biggest video social media platform up to date.
  2. Google Display Network. It embraces over 2,000,000 sites where your videos can be shown.
  3. Facebook. With over 2 billion active monthly users, it has the broadest worldwide audience.