How Publishers Can Monetize Video (Even Without Video Content!)

Note: This post is a recap of our recent webinar on video monetization for publishers. You can watch a recording of it here!

Nearly every publisher and advertiser we work with tells us they want to do more with video, and the reason is simple: it’s one of the fastest-growing content formats on the internet.

Digital video is surging in popularity, with the average U.S. adult now watching 72 minutes per day versus just 46 in 2013. At the same time, we’re seeing the audience for traditional broadcast TV shrink as consumers, particularly younger ones, cut the cord and shift all of their video watching online. These trends, combined with the advanced targeting capabilities of online marketing, are driving more and more ad dollars into digital video. Experts estimate that advertisers will spend more than $13.23 billion on digital video in 2017, up from just $7.68 billion in 2015.

As this opportunity increases, we want to help publishers of all shapes and sizes leverage the tools that help them monetize video – even if they have no video content of their own – in a way that maximizes user experience. That was the purpose of our recent webinar: No Video, No Problem.

How Anyone Can Monetize with Video


More than 250 people attended the webinar, hosted by our SVP of Video Technology Eric Hoffert and Senior Director of Product Michelle Smith. They were joined by Playbuzz Director of Demand Partnerships Jared Siegal. Playbuzz is an AppNexus client that helps advertisers and publishers create and monetize high-quality video content.

They discussed some of the new ways publishers are sourcing video ads and getting access to premium demand, including:


  • New ad formats. Outstream has expanded beyond in-article videos to new formats like sidestream and bannerstream, giving publishers more options for getting video ads onto their non-video pages.
  • Wider reaching auctions. We recently announced a new multimedia “superauction” technology that enables publishers to hold auctions where demand sources across multiple mediums – native, video, display, etc. – compete for a single ad slot.
  • Easier ways to create video content. Jared described Shorts, Playbuzz’s self-serve product that enables publishers to turn their content into short, engaging videos. Playbuzz then helps publishers monetize those videos with pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads.


You can watch the full webinar to get a more in-depth look at how publishers are using these new tools to get the most out of video.


Ask the Audience: 3 Key Questions from our Attendees


After our presentation, we had time to answer plenty of questions from our webinar attendees. Here are three of the best ones for publishers to consider as they look for new opportunities in video:


Question 1: What range of clearing prices is AppNexus seeing for outstream video ads?


This was a great question because it gets to the heart of what so many publishers want to know: What kind of revenue can I expect from video ads if I don’t have video of my own? Outstream is the primary format these publishers use to place video ads onto pages without video content.

It’s worth noting that, as with any ad type, there’s a large range in video CPMs depending on the site’s reach, prestige, and content category. Beyond that, the specific outstream format also has a big impact on price. On the AppNexus marketplace, traditional in-article outstream ads fetch between $5 and $15 CPMs, with most falling between $6 and $8. Within our new bannerstream format, we’re seeing a range of $3 to $8, with most in the $4 to $5 range.


Question 2: Do outstream buyers buy in private marketplaces?


Private marketplaces (PMPs) are an important way for publishers, especially those in specialized niches, to source premium demand from top brands relevant to their content category. While publishers shopping outstream units may worry that PMP buyers would prefer instream ads from publishers producing their own video content, we’ve seen plenty of PMP demand for outstream video ads.

Why? While pairing their ads with relevant, high-quality video content is appealing to buyers, most are equally interested in reaching their desired audience. So if your site has a strong audience profile in a particular category or demographic, you should be able to find willing outstream buyers on PMPs even if you’re not producing your own video content.


Question 3: Is AppNexus currently working with Connected TV?


Connected TV (CTV) is an increasingly important piece of the digital video puzzle, as it’s one of the primary places cord-cutters turn to as they leave traditional broadcast TV. Viewing on CTV devices already represents nearly 10% of all video-viewing, and that number is growing quickly.

Since this webinar aired, AppNexus has announced exciting new offerings in CTV. We’re helping publishers to monetize direct-sold and programmatic ads for content on their CTV apps, and making it easier for advertisers to buy this high-quality inventory in a targeted way using our Console for Buyers.

As digital video continues to grow and programmatic options improve for the format, there are more opportunities than ever for publishers to get in on the action and monetize with video – even if they don’t have their own video content.


Want to learn more about monetizing with video? Check out our publisher’s guide to header bidding for video.

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