Why Advertisers Are Thinking Outside the Video Box


Spending on outstream video advertising is soaring as advertisers begin to understand its advantages over traditional formats. Here Andrew Buckman, Managing Director EMEA at outstream specialist Sublime Skinz, explains how outstream can be more effective and provide a better user experience than in-stream, while also improving inventory availability alongside quality content.

UK video ad spend is skyrocketing, with an increase of 22 percent expected this year alone. But limitations with traditional video ad formats are compelling advertisers to think outside the box or, in this instance, outside the video player.

Investment in outstream video ads – including native, in-article, and skin-based ads – is growing far quicker than conventional in-stream formats such as pre-roll. Outstream has already overtaken in-stream on mobile – accounting for 56 percent of mobile video ad spend – and is set to grow a staggering 234 percent this year to reach £465 million.

So what is driving this step change from in-stream to outstream, and what benefits are there to advertising outside of the box?

A positive user experience

A seismic shift in the focus of digital advertising means both brands and publishers are demanding a positive user experience, which in-stream advertising simply can’t provide. Ads that play before or during video content can disrupt and intrude on the user experience, obstructing access to content until the ad can be skipped or has finished.

By delaying access to video content, in-stream ads annoy and frustrate users, and many will abandon content if they have to sit through a 30-second video ad to watch it. This trend will become more pronounced as Generation Z – a consumer group brought up on constant connectivity and instant gratification – becomes ever more influential.

Outstream video ads are less intrusive and the more user-friendly option as they play alongside content rather than blocking access to it. Users can enjoy their content while engaging with the video ad at the same time. A study by Sublime Skinz in conjunction with Ipsos compared a traditional skippable pre-roll ad with a skin-based outstream format featuring a video ad in the header. Around 80 percent of participants found the outstream format more appealing and more suitable for web users. And now, with the addition of the IAB’s New Standard Ad Unit Portfolio, it further re-enforces the industry’s shift to focusing on a positive user experience.

Increased impact and effectiveness

As well as being less intrusive, outstream also performs better than in-stream advertising on key brand impact and perception metrics. The study revealed outstream ads are more effective at grabbing user attention and allowing the brand to come to mind at the decisive moment, with 33 percent of participants able to spontaneously recall the advertiser brand for the outstream ad compared with just 15 percent for the pre-roll ad. Outstream ads also drive purchase intent – delivering enhanced ROI for the brand – with respondents 30 percent more likely to take action after viewing the outstream skin-based video ad than the in-stream pre-roll.

Enhanced video viewability

In-stream video ads have inherent viewability concerns, particularly when they are skippable, with two-thirds of consumers skipping ads as soon as possible, often out of habit rather than due to the quality or content of the ad. A pre-roll ad skipped after five seconds might meet the Media Ratings Council’s viewability standard, but when the user is counting down the seconds until they can skip, they are not engaging with the ad.

Outstream video ads have far better viewability as they play alongside content and can remain in view as the user scrolls without intruding on their experience. Outstream ads only play when the entire ad unit is on screen and the user is actively engaging with the on-page content.

Improved inventory availability

A key limitation faced by advertisers using in-stream video is the lack of premium inventory available. The web is awash with digital video content, and consumption continues to rise – with eMarketer forecasting UK adults will watch almost an hour of digital video a day this year – but guaranteeing the quality, context, and brand safety of that video is problematic, especially when much of it is user generated.

Outstream video advertising solves the inventory availability challenge as it can accompany any type of digital content. This adaptability significantly increases the pool of available premium inventory and means video ads can play next to contextually relevant, high quality editorial.

In-stream’s era as the default video advertising format has passed and an ever-increasing proportion of video advertising budgets are being allocated to outstream. By stepping outside the restrictions of the video player and embracing outstream formats, brands benefit from engaging, high impact ads that offer a positive user experience once and for all.


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