Ad Formats
Author: Alise Zaiceva 9 minute read
#Ad Types #Video Ads
All Categories >Ad Formats > Outstream Video Ads | A Publisher’s Guide in 2024

Outstream Video Ads | A Publisher’s Guide in 2024

According to Statista, video ad spending will account for US$176.60bn in 2023. This is one of fastest-growing segments on the ad market. 

E&P says short-form video advertising is predicted to be the fastest-growing ad segment in 2023, with double-digit gains. With entire social media platforms dedicated to video content, this is not surprising. But what does it mean for the advertising industry and publishers? It means that well-known video-centric solutions, one of which being outstream video ads, are forced to adapt.  

From high-profile publishers like The Washington Post, CondeNast, and Time Inc., to smaller alike, outstream video ads are one of the most popular ad formats. But what are they, 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.

What are The Types of Outstream Video Ads?

There are the three main types of outstream video ads. Your partnered network can offer more advanced types, such as sliders, carousels, and cinemagraphs. 

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. 
types of outstream video ads

Other video types effective in different contexts. Let’s take a look.

In-Feed Ads

In-feed ads are ads that appear in a social media, content or product feeds. Examples you’re probably most familiar with are video ads on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and more. 

In-Article Ads

In-article ads are very similar to in-feed ads, however here they appear between paragraphs of editorial content.

Native Video Ads

Native video ads are designed to seamlessly blend with the surrounding content on a publisher’s platform, using specific styling to match the overall ad experience. Typically, native ads feature elements like a headline, description, either a video or an image, and the ad’s content. 

Depending on the use case, outstream video ads can be: 

  • Autoplay
  • Expandables 
  • Click-to-play 
  • And more. 

Instream vs Outstream 

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. A 2022 study from IAB Europe and Pubmatic reveals that investment is primarily being directed toward instream, with 65% of respondents saying they allocate between 41% and 100% of their budgets on this format type. However, while instream dominates, 37% of advertising are spending significant amounts on outstream (between 21% and 61% of their budgets).

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.

Instream ads can be perceived as interruptive as they must be watched before the desired video content. Outstream ads, on the other hand, are less interruptive since they are typically displayed in a less obtrusive manner, such as within articles or social media feeds. As a result, users have more control over them.

instream vs outstream expenditure of budgets

Source: IABEurope

Advantages of Outstream Video Ads for Publishers

There are 8 key advantages of outstream video ads for publishers:

  1. Outstream does not rely on existing video content, allowing the majority of publishers to monetize and experiment with this format. 
  2. The format is non-intrusive and designed to preserve the user experience. The user decides to engage with the ad, while the video content doesn’t block site content.
  3. Ads only play when in view, meaning they can achieve 100% viewability. This means higher eCPMs for publishers. Especially sticky ad units, such as the floating mini player that follows the users while they browse through the content of the web page. 
  4. Compete with standard display ads.
  5. Begin autoplay with sound off and pause when out of view. 
  6. Resume from when they paused, when the user scrolls up. 
  7. End cap and replay button available after video completes. 
  8. Easy to integrate with most advertising platforms, like Google Ad Exchange. 

Disadvantages of Outstream Video Ads for Publishers

There are 3 notable disadvantages of outstream video ads for publishers:

  1. 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. 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 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. 

Best Practices for Outstream Video Ads

  1. Place this format in the middle 50% of the page, otherwise it won’t be effective. 
  2. The industry standard aspect ratio for outstream video is 16:9, so any sizes that respect that ratio will do well for an outstream video. 
  3. Outstream video ads are usually sound off and skippable by default. This is done to make them less intrusive and more native to the rest of the content. It’s not recommended to change these settings.

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 offers high-quality, contextually relevant outstream video ads and takes care of the setup and optimization. Reach out to us today to find out if outstream is right for you!  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is an outstream video ad in simple words?

An outstream video ad is a type of online video advertisement that plays outside of a video player or video content, for example, in the middle of an article or social media feed. 

2. What is the difference between instream and outstream video ads?

Unlike outstream ads that appear outside of video content within articles, social media feeds and apps, instream ads appear before, during, or after video content users watch. 

3. Are outstream ads skippable?

Yes, outstream ads are usually skippable by default. However, depending on your provider, you can choose to make them non-skippable which will force the viewer to watch an entire ad, although this is not recommended. 

4. Are outstream ads with sound on?  

By default, outstream ads should auto-play with the sound off to avoid being intrusive. 

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