What's Next For Native Outstream Video?

Native Insider recently spoke with Alex White, VP, product marketing, at native advertising tech platform Sharethrough, about the future of native outstream video.

Native Insider: As a native advertising platform you’re understandably bullish on the future of native outstream video. What have you seen that backs up your faith that the format is poised to be the new “it” video format?

Alex White: A lot of our faith comes from the proven benefits of context that native video offers over other forms of outstream. Our research has shown that combining a title and description text with the video can offer increases in brand lift and much higher engagement rates.

We saw triple-digit growth in native outstream video demand on our platform in 2016, solely on the back of our managed service. We expect this to pick up as we put the integrations in place for native video to be traded programmatically.

We’ve done this in 2017 with The Trade Desk, StrikeAd, and Adelphic, for example. 

NI: How does native outstream video differ from what we traditionally think of as regular outstream?

White: Outstream video evolved over the past few years. It’s a video ad playing within the body of a text-heavy page. It’s called an outstream unit because it doesn’t appear in the stream of other video content like you’d see with the traditional instream experience that’s dominant online. That’s sitting through a pre-roll ad playing before the video you want to watch.

Like traditional outstream, native outstream is set up to auto-play silently by default. It qualifies as a type of outstream video in that it doesn’t come in the stream of other long-form video, but is instead attached to a publisher’s content feed. Unlike traditional outstream, these video units run with a title and description text next to them, just like regular native ads.

NI: What do you think is superior about the native outstream audience experience that has led to the results you’ve seen?

White: Native is the ideal video format for how people watch content on their mobile devices today. You take outstream video, add a headline, and  descriptive text as a crucial supplement to a video that someone is likely to be watching on mute, then place the video inside the content feed of a publisher. It means you’re closely matching the audience’s preferred browsing experience. The combination of the visuals from the video and the text elements of the headline make native beneficial for publishers, brands, and consumers.  

NI: What are some keys to making the most of native outstream video campaigns?

White: There are a few best practices brands can follow.

In-feed video typically auto-plays silently, so including text throughout the video, particularly in the first few seconds, can make the most of your views.

Most in-feed video will also be viewed on a mobile device where people are less likely to watch long videos, so it’s a good idea to keep your video to 15 seconds in length.

Advertisers can make an impact on viewers by packing the first few seconds of a video with as much substance as possible. They also need to make the most use of the headline and description text to provide context and impart brand messages at the moment of impression.

NI: What are the most common use cases for marketers running native outstream video?

White: It’s a versatile ad unit. In 2016, we saw brands use native outstream video to promote new products and individual promotions, or just for basic brand awareness campaigns. We saw political campaigns turn to native outstream video campaigns. 

A common example you might see is an automotive company using Sharethrough to place their TV spot directly into relevant content feeds with a headline and description text, either alongside similar editorial content, or directly into their target audience’s favorite apps and content sites.

NI: Can native outstream video be used for more traditional direct-response campaigns?

White: A native video can be used for anything. The combination of the video with a headline and a description text means that a brand can directly promote a specific release date or new product alongside an eyecatching video. A brand can include a link with the video itself to drive audiences through to a branded landing page.

NI: What’s next for native outstream video?

White: I think native outstream integrations with DSPs [demand-side platforms] will drive new spending. We’ve added three new DSP video partners so far in 2017, with more to come. The biggest hurdle with programmatic native, in general, has been getting media buyers and trading desk comfortable with providing headlines and descriptions.

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