What Are Outstream Video Ads and Should Your Online Shop Use Them?

Video. Video. Video. It’s all anyone in online marketing talks about these days. Well, the truth is that video is indeed here to stay. And with so many options to use video to earn money for your company, the choice is basically up to you. There is one video ad format that online marketers have been really excited about lately: Outstream video ads (a.k.a. In-page video ads).

What are outstream video ads?

Outstream videos are a fairly new concept. Basically, with outstream videos, online marketers are trying to get video ads on to websites that don’t have any video content.

Traditionally, you could only show a video ad before, during, or after some other video content (instream video ads). Typical examples of this are what you see on YouTube. Users would find a video that they like, and then have to watch a pre-roll (skippable or non-skippable) video ad before the actual video begins. Naturally, with this format, you would need the “actual video” content in order to play a video ad before it.

Outstream video ads try to solve this problem by having video ads appear where there is no other video content. So, a typical example of this would be a blog article. At some point, the user will scroll to the middle of the article and in the middle of the text, a video will appear and start playing with the sole purpose of displaying this ad. The user is still allowed to “skip” the ad by simply scrolling past it.

examples of an outstream ad

This floating outstream ad begins at the top right of the screen and moves to the bottom left as you scroll further down the page. (Source: Forbes.com) 

What kinds of outstream videos are there?

Depending on who you ask, the definition of “outstream videos” might vary a bit. For example, most people will agree that outstream videos autoplay on mute, allowing users to unmute the video and listen to the audio if they want to. This is why many marketers would consider the video ads in your Facebook feed as outstream ads (but others don’t).

So, besides the standard in-page video ads, there are also click-to-play in-banner ads, which appear in texts, but do not play automatically. Users need to click on the play button for these ads to play.

Auto-play in-banner videos are similar, except they do play automatically as soon as the user scrolls to this part of the screen.

Additionally, some consider interstitial ads as part of the outstream family. These are the full-screen ads you see in apps in between levels of a game or during a load screen.

Slider ads sound like what they are. Almost like a pop-up, these video ads show up in the corner of a website and are usually muted.

Finally, floating outstream ads are basically the same as a regular outstream video ad in the sense that they wait for users to scroll to a certain point on the page before they start playing. However, they often begin unmuted. Additionally, when a user scrolls past the ad, instead of disappearing as they do in the standard outstream format, these “floating” ads will move to the corner of your screen (like the slider ads) and continue playing on mute.

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Outstream videos’ rise in popularity

giant wall of multimedia images and videos

Source: shutterstock.com/Leigh Prather

If you read our blog often enough, you would know that many experts predict an even larger role for videos in the future, and that naturally includes marketing efforts as well. With video becoming even more popular, we can see this reflected in its usage. The chart below from Statista shows how much advertisers, agencies and publishers have been using outstream videos. Clearly, they are very popular. Note that the standard in-page ads are still the most popular.

Chart: outstream video ad formats used in Europe by device (2017)


As you know from our YouTube whitepaper, video ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your website. If you sell niche products, outstream ads can be a great way to advertise your unique products. By finding a blogger or influencer dedicated to this niche, you can place the perfect ad in front of the perfect audience! And don’t forget, producing videos doesn’t have to be expensive; you can definitely create great videos on a budget!

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Alon Eisenberg

Alon Eisenberg has been the Content Manager UK at Trusted Shops since 2017. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor's degree in Communications in 2004.

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