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What’s the Difference Between In-Stream and In-Banner Video Ads?

There are two major types of video ads available in online advertising, in-stream and in-banner.

In-banner video advertising is less well known amongst marketers, but probably something seen quite regularly if you frequent the YouTube homepage. In-banner advertisements are simply banners with videos embedded in them, they usually follow standard IAB banner sizes (including 728×90, 160×600 and 300×250 for example) and are available on a wide range of websites.

On the contrary, In-stream video ads are those that are in the video player itself and are injected into the stream that is being sent to a client video player. There are essentially just three main types of these ads which are named based on when they are shown to the viewer.

  • Pre-roll – Obviously these ads are shown before the video content.

  • Mid-roll – These video ads are shown like commercial breaks, in between the beginning and the end of the video stream. There can be several mid-roll ads on a single piece of video content.

  • Post-roll – These are ads that are only shown after the completion of the requested video content.

By far, Post-rolls are the least intrusive for viewers as they see the content first and are generally not obligated to stick around for the video ad. Mid-roll are the most intrusive as they either stop the video content in order to be shown or are shown in video overlays that are displayed on top of the video content itself. The Pre-roll is considered intrusive because it makes the viewer wait to get their content.

In terms of effectiveness, mid-roll ads are proven to have the highest completion rate as the viewer is engaged with the content already and is more likely to sit through the ad in order to finish consuming the video content.

Why it applies to you

Any kind of advertising done in video online is generally going to be done in-stream meaning you need to know the ins and outs of online video advertising. Unfortunately, things aren’t always so clear cut. Many of the ad networks have all sorts of fancy names for their offerings and each has its own set of features. Some offer the viewer the choice of what they want to see, some offer the choice of when they want to see an ad and some allow for complete skipping of the ads.

Some also offer companion ads which run next to the video player, generally in a 300×250 next to the player and allow for some interaction between the ad units in-stream and in-banner. These are more complex in function but not really in form as it’s just an in-stream ad that runs synchronised with an in-banner ad for the most part.

Why you need to know

Being able to offer your clients multiple options for getting their brand and products in front of potential consumers is all about options. That means knowing the ins and outs of online video advertising and not just slapping a video ad in front of or in the middle of some video content. There’s also far more to video advertising online than one might think. For example, a lot of video ads are far more effective when they are placed against complementary content, so you need to know where to find that content and how to get the ads placed there. Plus, it’s also good to know about this when you’re doing a branded content campaign that might have some room for extra monetisation through the placement of video ads.

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