Video ad networks connect video advertisers with advertising spaces across various websites. Video content is becoming more popular as the years go by. Video is a rapidly growing area and it’s important for publishers to consider including it in their content strategy. Not only this, videos are shown to consistently bring in high ad revenue. Website publishers should create video content and self host their own videos. This means more control over your video content and ads. Video ad networks primarily serve two types of video ads: instream and outstream.
For example, if you click on a YouTube video, the ads you see play before the video are instream video ads. The same is true for ads playing on a natively-hosted video on a publisher’s website (outside of platforms like YouTube and Vimeo). On the other hand, if you visit a website and have a video ad that isn’t followed by the publisher’s own content, those are outstream video ads. These ad units are often found in-content, sidebar, or “sticky” (move as you scroll) and tend to pop up.
What are the main differences between instream and outstream video ads?
Instream video ads
Instream video ads are ads that play on a publisher’s own video content. These ads are sometimes called “in-read” or “native video” ads. There are three main types of instream video ads:
- Pre-roll (before the video begins)
- Mid-roll (in the middle of the video)
- Post-roll (after the video ends)
Outstream video ads
Outstream video ads are independent from a publisher’s own content. These ads often “pop up” in the content or somewhere else on the page. Sometimes they are full screen, or will be placed in a corner of the screen and remain “sticky” as you scroll.
Metrics video ad networks use
When publishers monetize their website, there are a range of metrics which apply dependent on the analytics software being used. Ad networks looking at a site will often use metrics like scroll depth, engaged time on site, user demographics and device type to get a better picture of performance. Some metrics are common to both display and video advertising, for example:
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – This tells us which percentage of viewers clicked on a call to action within a video
- Earnings – A measure of the total revenue from the ads
- Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM) – By some estimates, CPMs on video ads are up to ten times higher than display ads
However, there are also some key metrics which are specific to video advertising.
- Playback started – The number of times that somebody started playing a video
- Play count – How many times in total a video has been played
- Video Playback error – This measures how many times there was an error when an attempt was made to play a video
YouTube vs self-hosted video content
It’s possible to host videos on YouTube and then embed them into your website. However, self-hosting your video content will allow much more control because you retain ownership of the content rather than handing over to another platform. You should host videos yourself if you’re going to monetize. YouTube’s policy mean that publishers who do not meet the requirements for their own advertising, will automatically have their content monetized. In this scenario, YouTube keeps the ad revenue.
Additionally, there’s more stability in self-hosting. YouTube’s terms change frequently and there’s always the risk of being demonetized for non-compliance. One reason to host your own videos outside of YouTube is that YouTube can demonetize you without warning. That being said, when a publisher self hosts video, there are still some rules. For example, a publisher still needs to comply with the policies of the ad networks they intend to use on the site.
How to work with video ad networks
There are two ways to work with a video ad network as a publisher. Firstly, you can self host your own video content and then apply to the ad network. The ads would then be integrated via a few different possible methods, depending on the specific network. Secondly, some networks allow you to upload your videos directly to their tools.
In this case, the video player would fetch both the video and ad content from the third party platform’s servers. You’ll need to look at the descriptions of the video network you want to apply for and decide if you need a third-party video player, or alternatively whether the platform allows you to upload and monetize at the same time.
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