All Categories >Ad Formats > Outstream Video Ads | Advantages and Disadvantages

Outstream Video Ads | Advantages and Disadvantages

According to Pubmatic, video will account for 30.5% of overall display ad spend in 2021, or $61.3 billion. With entire social media platforms dedicated to video content, the advertising industry was pushed to come up with more video-centric solutions, one of which being outstream video ads.  

Many high-profile publishers such as The Washington Post, Conde Nast, Time Inc., to name a few, have already adopted them. But what are outstream video ads, and should you jump on board? 

Keep on reading to find out! 

What is Oustream Video Ad?  

An outstream video ad is an ad unit placed on publishers’ inventory (typically between paragraphs of text) and served outside of a video player. It’s called outstream because the video exists outside of video content. 

Previously, users could only use video ads with video content. But not every publisher has video content. Since outstream videos don’t rely on existing video content, publishers can start displaying video ads within their text-based content.

Typically, an outstream video ad is not visible until the user reaches a particular point on the page. The video will autoplay, but if the user decides to scroll through, the video will pause. If the user chooses to engage, they can tap to activate sound or expand to form a video player. 

According to Google, “outstream ads are designed specifically for mobile and tablet.”  However, the format became so popular a lot of platforms today offer them on desktop inventory too.  

Related Article: Best Mobile Ad Format and Ad Types for Your Mobile Site

Outstream Video Ads Example

The autoplay silent video on Facebook is a great example of an outstream video ad.

Outstream Video Ad Types 

InterstitialIn-bannerIn-read (in-feed)
Full-screen autoplay video used in mobile apps. Appear at natural pauses, e.g., when the user finished the round in the game. Eye-catching banner ads in the form of video. Often include subtitles as they autoplay without sound.The video begins once it is over 50% visible to ensure the highest engagement. Sound is activated on tap. Similar to native ads. 

These are the most popular outstream video ad types. Today, video networks may offer customized and more advanced types, such as sliders, carousels, and cinemagraphs. 

Instream vs Outstream 


Instream video ads appear before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) a pre-existing video content. Usually, the viewer can skip the ad after 5 seconds, however, sometimes, the viewer may need to watch the full video.  

Oustream video ads are placed in non-video environments such as social media or text-based editorial content. They never prevent the viewers from seeing the content as users can scroll past them.

Below are the 6 main differences between instream and outstream video ads. 

1.Video player required on a publisher’s site No video player required on a publisher’s site
2.Need to be inserted in a video contentDo not have to be inserted in a video content
3.Ads play before the user gets a chance to skip through themAds can be scrolled through
4.Autoplay, typically with sound Autoplay without sound 
5.More difficult to target because of video mediaCan be effectively targeted and are contextually relevant to page’s content
6.Can be customized for size and dimensionsStandard requirements for video player

But which one is better?  

There is no one definite answer to this question. In 2019, outstream video advertising ad spend amounted to 5.1 billion euros compared to 4.9 billion euros with instream video advertising ad spend. Outstream placements for advertisers are a great way to increase brand awareness because they get more eyes on them. However, click-through rates for these placements are often low which can make them unattractive for advertisers.

Instream tends to score better than outstream because users engage with ads more when they’re waiting to watch the content that follows it. Advertisers are also willing to pay higher eCPMs for instream compared to outstream.


Source: Statista

3 Advantages of Outstream Video Ads for Publishers

  1. No video content is needed. Outstream does not rely on existing video content, allowing the majority of publishers to monetize and experiment with this format. 
  2. Non-intrusive format. The format is non-intrusive and designed to preserve the user experience. The user decides to engage with the ad or not.
  3. High viewability. Ads only play when in view, meaning they can achieve 100% viewability. This means higher eCPMs for publishers.

3 Disadvantages of Outstream Video Ads for Publishers

  1. Require knowledge. Choosing the right partners, testing performance, and optimizing for speed can be challenging for publishers without experience. It is recommended to reach out to your monetization partner or outsource an experienced AdOps team. 
  2. It can slow down the website. Video ads are much heavier than display ads. Publishers must carefully balance the number of placements to avoid harming the user experience and page speed.
  3. Discrepancies. These are inconsistencies in the number of impressions (ad video plays) between the publisher’s ad server and the ad exchange. Ads may sometimes not load in the time since they are heavier. 

The Final Word

Overall, outstream video ads are a great format to experiment with, considering a growing demand for video content. However, you should keep in mind that every website is different, and not all publishers may see instant success with them.

Setupad works with trusted video providers to run high-quality, contextual ads and takes care of the setup and optimization. Reach out to us today to find out if outstream is right for you!  

About Alise Zaiceva
Alise is a content marketing manager at Setupad. She’s passionate about content and helping publishers scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies. In her free time, she expands her knowledge of tech.

message icon message icon big