Web Video Ad Formats and Methods – An Overview

With the incredible rapid growth that online video sharing and video search sites are realizing, more and more advertisers are pumping money into video advertising. According to the latest research, online video advertising revenues in the US are expected to reach $7.1 billion by 2012 which is a 72 percent compound annual growth rate for the next five years. In 2008, the projections are just shy of $1billion.

Due to the overwhelming demand from advertisers to develop effective methods for online video advertising delivery, some of the online video sharing giants have implemented various forms of online video ad formats. Historically, in-stream ads, also known as pre-roll ads, mid-roll, and post-roll, have been the dominant standard in terms of the format most advertisers gravitated towards due to the prominence of the ad content itself.

Pre-Roll Format – Ads, typically videos in duration of 15 or 30 seconds are streamed before the video itself plays. This make the advertising incredibly prominent but causes plenty of issues with regard to user friendliness and many studies show this format to be unpopular with users.

Post-roll Video Ads: In post-roll ads, just like pre-roll, a 15 or 30 sec clip is streamed at the end of a video itself. This is usually launched in conjunction with pre-roll as well as often times, the advertiser never gets their ad seen as users most often only watch part of the video.

Mid-Roll Video Ads: Again, like the other in-stream ads, mid-roll streams a short video clip within the video player itself, only with mid-stream, the ad gets played in the middle of the video almost like a normal TV commercial. This seems to be somewhat less offensive to users.

As stated earlier, due to the demand, many of these video websites have begun to test and offer new, innovative ad solution for video. One of these experimental format is the In-Player ad: With in-player ads the player skin itself can be used to place relevant images or text content for the advertiser so that the ad is displayed for the entire time that the video is played.

Contextual in-video advertising seems to be the way of the future with many different sites attempting to match videos with advertisements that are most relevant to the subject matter. Users like this format more as well as it does not disturb the experience of watching the entire video. This quality of the format makes it one of the most promising advertising formats for the future and there are many diverse ways in which to serve either images, clips, or text ads.

One of the most popular version of contextual video advertising is that of what is known as the “overlay ad.” In this format, relevant textual ads are scrolled or displayed across a small portion of the video screen (usually the bottom). Users in particular prefer this format as it is relatively unobtrusive.

These are some of the popular and in-use video formats at the present time. But the work is still going on for the development of the new video formats for the future and no real standard has been set. It will be quite interesting to see what the leaders in this space come up with next.

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