Real-Time Real Talk

Real-Time Real Talk: Outstream Video 101

Real-Time Real Talk” is an ongoing blog series that seeks to clarify the “what”, “why”, and “how” behind ad-tech innovations.

Blog Post
The AppNexus Team

Outstream video

In today’s edition of “Real-Time Real Talk”, we explain the basics behind outstream video ad units and why both buyers and sellers should consider adding this video format to their existing advertising and monetization strategies.

Break it down for me – what’s an outstream video ad unit and how is it different from other types of video ads I see online?

An “outstream” video ad unit, also commonly referred to as “in-read” or “native video”, is a new video advertising unit that autoplays in a large format player whenever a user navigates to it within text content (typically an article), even if the publisher doesn’t have their own video content. It’s called outstream because the video ad exists outside of online video content – also known as instream video content -- where the ad plays either before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) the publisher’s video content.

To see outstream video ad units in action, visit our demo page which works on both desktop and mobile.

Why’s the industry buzzing about it?

First, a few numbers: eMarketer estimates that US digital video ad spending hit almost $8B in 2015, representing 13% of all digital ad-spend and growing 34% annually. Additionally, IAB and PWC research shows that outstream video already accounts for 11% of the total video market in the UK digital ecosystem.

But why is outstream so exciting to marketers and publishers alike? It turns out this format provides a few benefits that can help video advertising maintain its acceleration:

  • Monetization for all publishers: Since outstream is an ad unit that typically lives within text content, it’s a format that all publishers – not just video publishers – can benefit from. It allows publishers without video inventory the opportunity to provide engaging advertising messages to their audience. Additionally, it allows publishers with video content to extend their audience across their sites. The outstream unit even offers the opportunity to drive viewers back to video content pages. By opening themselves up to outstream inventory, publishers can monetize with the higher CPMs video ads command.
  • Increased video supply: Instream video inventory has been through a lot lately: video impressions moving behind walled gardens, an increase in inventory quality controls, and consolidation towards private marketplaces. These factors have led to some major compression in the open exchange video ad market resulting in constrained supply and intense buyer competition for the seemingly sparse array of available impressions. However, since any kind of publisher can adopt outstream, it has the potential to open up supply again, which could then drive down CPMs and make for happier buyers.
  • Inherently viewable: Outstream inventory is considered to be highly viewable. Its video units only display once they’re completely in-view. They also mute by default (unless the user scrolls over the content or the publisher configures outstream otherwise), and most outstream video units pause if the user navigates more than 50% away from the video. And because most outstream impressions start out as 100% viewable (with a full video completion typically considered 100% viewable), buyers should feel confident they’re only paying for creatives that engage a person, and not a bot.
  • User engagement: It’s not a coincidence that the industry considers outstream to be a form of native video. Because of its design and placement, users experience a more fluid browsing experience since the ad unit gets “natively” woven into the overall web content.

Alright, I’m sold. How do I get started?

Good news! AppNexus is, at this moment, building the largest and most powerful marketplace for outstream video inventory.

If you’re a publisher – and we’re talking about any kind of publisher – you can leverage AppNexus Outstream to insert a player into your page content that will expand when the container is in view. Depending on its configuration, the video play without or with sound based on publisher-defined criteria. The player is highly flexible: it works in Flash and HTML5, supports VPAID Flash and VPAID JavaScript, and works on desktop and mobile web. Video demand can be delivered using RTB, mediation, managed campaigns, or direct video ad serving. Pages get tagged using the new AppNexus Seller Tag (AST), which supports multiple placements per page and multiple media types per placement. Outstream video with AST is currently in closed test with clients in the US and Europe with general availability planned in Q2, so stay tuned.

If you’re a marketer or an advertiser, you can immediately leverage the AppNexus platform to purchase outstream video alongside existing pre-roll inventory. With supply from multiple outstream and native video providers, including Teads, a leading supplier of premium outstream inventory, and, a major provider of both instream and outstream video, our open video marketplace will provide one of the industry's largest pools of programmatic outstream units. Using outstream creatives, you can target, build brand awareness, and engage consumers through compelling and viewable ad content. If you’re already using AppNexus to buy inventory, check out our wiki to learn more about how to target outstream inventory.

For further information about AppNexus Outstream and our open video marketplace, check out our latest announcement.

To get started, reach out to your account manager or drop us a line.