10 Ways To Better Use In-Stream Advertising

In 2009 the IAB led the charge to develop standards and infrastructure to coax adoption and growth in the in-stream advertising space. Expect this standardization to find traction in 2010 and drive widespread industry adoption across all players on the digital field, including publishers, advertisers and agencies.


Here are ways to take advantage of in-stream in advertising now:

1. Use interactive pre-rolls. In-stream is notorious for re-purposing TV ads into pre-roll video ads. In 2010, we should not expect the vast majority of in-stream advertisers to spend a fortune on creating special creative for the Web audience. Instead, marketers can take repurposing one step further by leveraging the benefits of the Internet as an interactive and engaging medium. Today, there are already examples of interactive pre-rolls from video networks that combine the simplicity of repurposing TV creative with the interactivity of the Web.

2. Leverage overlays. Until recently the potential of overlays has been overlooked. Overlays work when best used in a supporting role of a comprehensive in-stream media mix rather than a standalone unit. When used alongside other ad units, overlays enhance the richness of the experience and the overall ad performance of the in-stream placement. Advertisers should mix overlays with pre-roll and take a more holistic approach to driving performance for a campaign or brand.



3. Use teasers. It's common that a single brand advertiser will sponsor an entire TV program online which means users end up seeing the same ad multiple times. Before serving a 15- or 30-second spot, shake things up by running teasers to build the user's curiosity throughout the show. Ultimately, users will appreciate shortened pre-roll video. which may translate into better ad performance, brand appreciation, and a win-win situation for the consumer and advertiser.

4. Experiment with new technologies. When it comes to interactivity and measurability, in-stream advertising has created a world of new capabilities for marketers. Start-ups such as Panache, Innovid, In-Skin and others now offer cutting-edge formats and capabilities, such as hot-spotting, post production brand integration and dynamic skins. These technologies provide innovative ways to associate brands with premium content and reach target audiences in a more compelling way than simple pre-rolls.

5. Go for the long tail. The Internet is a fragmented medium and it is challenging for marketers to achieve mass reach. Video ad networks aggregate the long tail and can offer a safe branding environment for advertisers.

6. Think beyond the video player. Today, you can run in-stream ads that sync with units outside the video player. This advanced technology enables video players to connect with banner ads and create unique and immersive experiences for the end user.

7. Leverage third-party servers. IAB technology standards like VAST and VPAID ensure publishers and ad-serving vendors aligncreating a more streamline campaign process. These standards allow agencies and advertisers to use ad-servers in order to run in-stream in a scalable and efficient manner, as well as gain control over the reporting capabilities.

8. Put an end to the siloed approach. In-stream is not meant to be used or measured in silos. Centrally manage in-stream along with standard display, rich media, search, mobile, in-game and any other digital channel through one unified ad serving platform. It not only provides greater scalability and efficiency, but also unified tracking and reporting that enables marketers to analyze the campaign holistically.

9. Take a stand regarding the online GRP debate. The online GRP is a long-debated topic in the online advertising space, but it's even more relevant for in-stream advertising as it's often compared to TV advertising. The sooner this debate comes to a halt, the faster in-stream advertising will grow.

10. Kick the click. The value of in-stream advertising is not measured in clicks! Instead, focus on engagement and brand metrics. Metrics like Dwell Time, video start rate and video play rate demonstrate how users engage with the brand and for how long.

Let's not forget to exercise these top 10 facets of in-stream and  help stimulate the adoption of standards for VAST and VPAID. Remember, better standards mean better opportunities.

6 comments about "10 Ways To Better Use In-Stream Advertising ".
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  1. Jeff Einstein from The Brothers Einstein, February 9, 2010 at 6 p.m.

    Ten great ways to adulterate otherwise perfectly good video with ads no one wants to see and everyone is equipped to avoid. No doubt, this one's got IAB stamped all over it...

  2. Jason Burke from clypd, Inc, February 9, 2010 at 8:21 p.m.

    Several of these items will be enabled by those ad networks and ad units that use industry standards (VAST and VPAID respectively).

    Distribution challenges are mitigated by a common format of ad delivery enabling compliant publishers to receive ads from ad sources that can deliver ads in a standard format -- VAST solves that problem

    An interactive preroll is of not much value if there is limited inventory that is able to accept it this advanced unit -- VPAID solves that problem.

    Lack of industry standards will leave the online video world fragmented and will make distribution a continued challenge. As more and more ad sources and content owners align their methods of distribution and delivery respectively thru IAB standards, video ad serving will become as trivial as display ad delivery.

  3. Chris Johnston, February 10, 2010 at 10:07 a.m.

    Jeff, your comment implies that consumers want to see ads in other media -- print, television, radio, outdoor -- and are somehow not equipped or inclined to avoid those as well.

    I don't think anyone's goal is to intentionally ruin a viewers experience. Rather there is a constant search for the right kind and amount of sponsorship so that online video can be profitable (for publishers) and still enjoyable (to viewers).

    How would Brothers Einstein approach online video advertising?

  4. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, February 10, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.


    Jeff's brother, Mike, here. Speaking for us both, the solution is to use video content, not ads, as bait to qualify and attract viewers, and then have the actual viewing of the chosen content take place on a paying advertiser's site - much like the sponsored-content model that fueled the golden ages of radio and television.

    We have both written extensively on this very topic, which you can further explore at, or see in action at

    Better yet, please feel free to call either of us to discuss the matter in more detail. Jeff is reachable at 347-561-4465, and I am at 219-878-1006.

  5. Ronnie Lavi from Eyeblaster, February 10, 2010 at 2:26 p.m.

    Chris, Jason - I second your comments.

    I think that enabling scalable monetization platform is a must in order to allow online video to grow and become profitable business for media companies.

    The lack of standards thus far has played a major role in slowing down the migration of content from TV to online and making online video a lucrative medium for content owners and media companies.

    VAST and VPAID should eliminate that friction and bring scale that will benefit everyone.

  6. The digital Hobo from, February 10, 2010 at 4:36 p.m.

    Blah blah blah....

    Same old debate in the comments, and absolutely nothing said in the article.

    Nike has it right. Just Do It. If the video industry would stop bitching about standards and hurdles and actually create something compelling, things would fall into place.

    The Vidsense model, however, is not THE solution. Its A solution. THE solution is ALL of the solutions. We're in a fragmented world now. Media and attention. Get over it. Get used to it. Deal with it.

    But c'mon..Use teasers? Use overlays? Use banners too? Stop working in silos? 3rd party, specialized ad servers? This used to be a thought provoking column, not a place to regurgitate the same old ideas from new vendors. Bring back Alan Schulman!

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