Viralize Team

Easily monetize your website with outstream video ads

Publishers and advertisers love to equate outstream ads with the future of video monetization. It’s not hard to see why. MarTech Advisor recently listed the top ten mobile ad tech trends, citing that 77% of agencies say that outstream video ads will be crucial to client success. Both agencies and publishers are lasering in on outstream video.

But, what is outstream video?

AppNexus provides an outstream video definition: “ads that are embedded within the body of an article,” while eMarketer’s principal analyst, Paul Verna, specifies that outstream video ads are placed in “non-video environments, such as text articles and social media feeds.” The International Advertising Bureau (IAB) builds off these definitions stating, “outstream video ads leverage the existence of standard display ad units to deliver a video experience.”

But, that all sounds like a bunch of gobbledygook, so let’s check out this outstream ad example:

Viralize’s Video in Picture format opens up at the same time as the webpage and overlays in the corner of the screen with the mouse hover activating the sound.

Viralize Video in picture ad unit

Here are the four main types of outstream ads:

In the outstream market, IAB defines five types of outstream ads. But the fifth, Interstitial, is the black sheep of outstream video.

Interstitial ads often fill your entire screen, offer small escape hatches (a tiny X in the corner) and are often perceived as irritating because they preventing readers from consuming content. As of February 15, 2018, Google Chrome blocks sites with interstitial ads. They are the modern pop-up, and the creator of the pop-up, Ethan Zuckerman, apologized for creating pop-ups. That being said, interstitial is fading out.

1. In-article video ads come in two dynamic versions: InText and Video in Picture. The first plays between paragraphs of content when a user scrolls through the page. The video normally starts when 50% in view. Check out this example of Viralize’s outstream video demo for the InText format.

Viralize Intext, outstream video ads

Video in Picture, appears as a video ad in the corner of the screen, while InText to Video in Picture starts as a basic InText ad then migrates to the screen’s corner after the viewer scrolls past. If you want to preview this hybrid format, Viralize’s InText to Video in Picture demo can help.

2. In-feed video ads are found in content, social, or product feeds—think Twitter, Facebook or anything that you scroll through for updates—often paired with a headline, description and logo, like Spotahome’s in-feed video ad in the photo below:

Facebook Infeed outstream video ads

3. In-banner video ads appear within the banner space that stationary ads often occupy. Contrasting with a static image, a rich media format like video delivers engaging, unique content. CNN Style on desktop delivers a side in-banner video ad advertising Chanel’s The Coromandel Legend jewelry campaign.

In banner outstream video ads on CNN Style

4. Native video ads are promoted videos within one of the six IAB native core ads14 (i.e. in-feed unit, paid search unit, recommendation widget, promoted listing, in-ad with native elements, or custom). Native videos are designed to mimic the website’s style, including a headline, description and context.

In this screenshot from Refinery29, you can see that the third trending video is sponsored by Amazon. This is a classic example of native advertising since this article blends in with the other formats. The only significant difference is that it’s published by and supports Amazon.

Native outstream video ad on Refinery29

Benefits of outstream

Outstream video ads earn high CPMs and increase sell-through rates.

Outstream formats have a higher CPM than display or banner units. That’s great news for publishers who often face a lack of quality videos to monetize with instream advertising, like pre roll video ads.

After all, video production is costly and time-consuming. In fact, we went into more detail on how to start integrating more video into your content strategy here.

Let’s take a look at Ziff Davis, which runs tech, gaming and lifestyle properties like PCMag, IGN and AskMen. Like many publishers, Ziff Davis lacks pre-roll yet experiences a 95% sell-through rate. How? The company really listened to its audience, created custom solutions and took advantage of outstream units to improve yield.

Outstream fills in where instream leaves off

Outstream video ads provide a beneficial solution for publishers who want to monetize without relying on original video content yet meet the growing demand for video advertisements. Ted Dhanik, CEO at engage: BDR, goes into detail saying,

“A very high-quality publisher may not produce video content, and out-stream allows them to provide video ad placements for their premium articles. In doing so, out-stream helps supply keep pace with demand.”

There is simply more opportunity to monetize with outstream video than instream advertising—often appearing as pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads with video.

If you’re struggling to remember what pre-roll is, remember the last time you got on YouTube? Maybe you were clicked on James Corden’s latest “Carpool Karaoke,” and an ad popped up for 6-seconds about the latest, greatest laundry detergent.


That’s pre-roll.

Pre-roll ads, however, boast other types of benefits, such as having captive audiences more likely to watch ads. Facebook, in fact, reported that 93% of its instream formats are (surprisingly) watched with sound on, implying the viewer is more engaged. Consider this statistic in a market where 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.

Outstream video ads are highly viewable

Viewability is an important online ad metric that aims to track only impressions that users can actually see. If an ad loads at the bottom of a page but a user doesn't scroll down enough to see it, that impression is not viewable.

Counting impressions without considering viewability insinuates the advertiser is paying for inventory which hasn’t actually being seen by a person. A “viewable” impression defined by the IAB is one that is at least 50 percent visible for at least two seconds.

Outstream formats by nature are highly viewable, remaining visible as the reader scrolls through the web content. They appear in the text or in the screen’s corner, allowing readers to view other areas of a page while an advertisement plays in the background. The majority of out stream video starts playing when at least 50% is in view and stop once more than 50% is out of view.

Outstream increases time on site

Enriching editorial with multimedia is vital to increase time spent on site, or dwell time, thus improving SEO. The New York Times knew this, which is why it incorporated more multimedia, raising time on site to a 5-minute average.

Not to mention, outstream increases dwell time better than instream. MarketingLand reported that people watch outstream video ads for 25% longer than instream. The logic is simple: If readers view something that they like and it's relevant (even if it’s an ad), this drives engagement, increases dwell time and—Abracadabra!—boosts SEO.


It’s less invasive

Outstream video is generally less invasive in that readers can continue consuming on-page content without a banner or pop-up blocking what they are reading. A reader can scroll past ads, choose to turn the sound on, restart a video, or skip and close the ad.

As an outstream video platform, Viralize’s formats give publishers complete control, allowing them to personalize behavior and appearance to create the best possible viewing experience for their readers.

As a publisher, if you want to increase dwell time, boost SEO, and revenue, follow these guidelines for successfully integrating outstream ads. Or, read more on how to maximize revenue for your site in our Viralize Help Center.

Guidelines for outstream

Ensure relevance between outstream ads and surrounding content

It’s quite easy for outstream content to look out of place. While instream can pair with video content, outstream must stand alone. As such, “one of the most important things with outstream is to be really spot on with the integration and the targeting,” said Edna Li, Director of Solutions Marketing at Exponential. “If the content doesn’t match what they’re reading, the user’s going to go right through. You lost them.”

This is what makes the Viralize Audience Network crucial for our outstream unit distribution. Thanks to the network’s hyper-targeting with precise user data from over 5,000 publisher sites in the Viralize network, users view relevant ads from compatible brands, enriching their online experience.

Make sure the ad plays without audio by default

“The big thing I hope every publisher has learned is don’t autoplay with sound,” said Chris Hogue, VP at Isobar. “That has consistently been the biggest pet peeve of consumers—having video play with sound when they’re scrolling through.” There’s nothing more annoying than a video ad that starts playing by itself. One second you’re sitting at your desk, pretending to do research for that next presentation. The next second, an advertisement for Nike’s latest kicks—the ones you’ve been talking about for two weeks straight—appears and everyone knows that you’re not actually working.


Emphasize brand safety and a positive user experience

After 2017 brimmed with coverage of transparency and brand-safety issues, advertisers and publishers alike are focused on protecting their brands and ensuring quality views to engaged audiences. As Michael Priem of Modern Impact said, “You want to make sure you’re getting solid performance because you’re engaging the audience, not because your audience was tricked into an incentivized click.”

While a positive user experience pairs quality content with an understanding of audience, publishers that monetize with outstream video must also consider how to combat ad fraud to protect their website and attract advertisers. Ad fraud encompasses any practice where bots contribute to a website’s traffic, falsifying views. Advertisers end up paying for views not seen by real people and may reconsider buying that publisher’s inventory. To combat fraudulent traffic and assure transparency, publishers now have the option of embedding ads.txt files, an IAB-launched verification tool consisting of a text file that lists all the companies authorized to sell publisher’s inventory.

Viralize ensures the highest level of transparency and measurability by partnering with the best in the industry—advertisers access brand-safe inventory and publishers have optimized monetization. We have also updated our video formats to conform to the Better Ads Standards. What does that translate to? A first-rate user experience increased monetization and trusted metrics.


Well, that’s outstream. Let’s review the main points:

  1. Outstream ads are video units placed in non-video environments, such as articles, feeds or banners.
  2. There are four main types of outstream ads: in-article, in-feed, in-banner and native video ads.
  3. Five benefits of outstream ads are profit potential, viewability, increased time on site, non-invasiveness and positive user experience.
  4. Hot tips for outstream use: create relevance between outstream ads and content, cut out audio interruptions and foster brand safety.

If you liked this article and want to learn more about Viralize, read our guidelines on getting started as a publisher. Sign up here or feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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