What is Outstream video? It’s a new, superior video advertising format. It is different than In-stream which is currently the most popular video ad format. In this article, you’ll learn about the two. We’ll cover the main pros and cons of both In-stream and Outstream video ads.

In-stream or Outstream Video Advertising?

I have no doubt you’re already familiar with In-stream video advertising. It’s the dominant video advertising delivery method – for now. While In-stream video may be the most popular advertising format, it’s mostly because In-stream has been around the longest. Agencies, publishers and advertisers are more familiar with it. However, this is changing.

Outstream video is the new kid on the block. Many publishers and advertisers are less aware of its advantages and capabilities. However, it’s gaining a lot of steam and is poised to be a major factor (for all the right reasons) for premium video advertising.


“77% of agencies and 70% of advertisers stated that Outstream video ads will be the most important to their client’s advertising portfolio.”



Outstream Video

Outstream video is unlike any other video ad formats which is what has made it such a game changer in the digital world.

To appreciate what Outstream video offers, it’s best to start with the main alternative. Let’s review the variations of In-stream video.

What Is In-Stream Video Advertising?

In-stream video ads rely on the existence of other, pre-existing video content. In-stream video advertisements appear before, during or after this pre-existing video content.

These In-stream video ads play within the static video player itself and are inserted into the stream being sent to the player. If a publisher is using pre-roll ads, for example, the pre-roll video is sent to stream first and plays before the main video content.

Where In-Stream Video Is Used

In-stream video advertising is found on the web, social feeds, mobile, interactive television and in gaming but it can only play in static video players which are strategically placed on a publisher’s page.

Pre-roll, Mid-roll and Post-Roll

  • Ads that run before videos are called “Pre-roll.” These are the most popular.
  • Mid-roll, ads are shown during the video, typically around the middle, similar to a commercial break.
  • Post-roll” video ads display at the end, after the main content video has played.

Pre-roll is the most intrusive type of video ad, because it makes the viewer wait before showing them the content. Post-roll is the least intrusive because it only plays after the main content has completed but it has a much lower completion rate since it appears at the very end of the content.

Skippable or Non-Skippable Video Ads

If you have viewed videos on YouTube, you are no doubt familiar with pre-roll ads. Some ads force you to wait to view your content (e.g. non-skippable) while others feature a “skip” button that allows you to skip the ad after five seconds have elapsed. Non-skippable ads are forced on the user and therefore the completion rate is generally higher. Skipabble ads are the answer to the poor user experience of non-skippable, however, the watchthrough rate is significantly lower and not as valuable to a brand.

Skippable or non-skippable video ads are found everywhere and are not exclusive to YouTube.

One of the biggest problems or annoyances that In-stream video has is the fact that the advertising often intrudes or interferes with the viewer’s experience. It hampers their ability to get to the main content they are trying to see. They are stuck until the advertisement has completed, and only then can they view the main video content they came for.

Overlay Ads

Another type of In-stream video advertising is “overlay.” With these types of ads, the video ad is superimposed over the main video, allowing the viewer to watch it simultaneously while the ad is shown.

Similar but different, banner overlays are another type of advertising; not to be confused with video overlays. Banner overlays are clickable banners that float above the main video content. These advertisements are only images and do not contain video. I only mention these for comparison and clarification of what true “overlay video” is. Banner overlays are also very common on YouTube.

Some Cons of In-Stream Video Ads:

  • Requires the presence of existing video content to be paired with.
  • Advertisers must play their video ads within content videos from others or create their own video content.
  • Makes the user wait while the ad plays.
  • More difficult to match ads to relevant content.
  • Often continues to play when the user moves on.

What Is Outstream Video?

Now that you have an understanding or refresher on what In-stream video ads are, it’s time to get to the star of our article: Outstream Video. Let’s look at what Outstream video is, how it differs from In-stream video, and the many advantages this video advertising delivery format provides.

Outstream Video Defined:

Outstream video is often referred to as “in-read” or “native video.” These terms are synonymous and often used interchangeably with the term outstream video.

Basic Function:

Outstream video is completely self-contained and stands alone. Unlike In-stream, Outstream does not have to stream into another video player. Outstream is the video advertisement and video player combined. It does not play before, during or after other video content. It is the content, period.

Unique Playing Feature

Typically, Outstream video is hidden within the content, and is not visible until the viewer reaches a “trigger point” area of the page. Most commonly, it is hidden between specific paragraphs of text and will appear when the user reaches this particular area, usually by expanding to form a video player.

Origin of its name

It gets its name “Outstream” because the video ad exists apart from, or outside of, the video content – not injected into a stream to play before, during, or after a publisher’s video content. It functions outside of a typical video stream-to-player environment that other formats, such as in-stream, use.

Outstream is also referred to as “in-read,” because of the way it is triggered (read) and revealed from “within” the reading area of page content, at the point when the reader reaches the designated trigger point.

It is called “native” because ads are often matched to closely related content, where it becomes a natural (native) and integral part of the content. Native ads blend with the content to a degree where the advertising cannot easily be distinguished from content. In most cases the outstream is contextually relevant and therefore readers are less likely to be annoyed by its appearance.

How Outstream Video Is Implemented

One of the first things that makes Outstream video advertising so different than its predecessors, is the way in which it is generally implemented on the page.

The most common way Outstream video is implemented is through a hidden page break, usually between paragraphs of text, and within the content on a web page.

Typically, the placement area where the video will appear is matched to relevant content that exists on the webpage. The video placement area considers different types of targeting methods that determine which particular web pages a video might appear upon and exactly where on the page.

The main takeaway about placement is… Outstream video ads take advantage of a number of targeting factors and are placed for maximum relevance to the content, on whatever web pages they appear.

How video plays

As the user scrolls through the page, reaching the area where the hidden page break resides, it triggers the outstream video ad to appear. That area expands, separating the paragraphs and revealing the video advertisement. The Outstream method lends itself to 100% viewability.

Playing and Pausing

Once the video has played to completion, the video player disappears. If the viewer scrolls away from the content, (where the video is less than 50% viewable), the video pauses. When the user navigates completely away from the video area, the video disappears.


Another important point to note with Outstream video ads – the video player and the video ad content load as one. There is no separate video player that resides on the page waiting for an ad or video to load into it. The Outstream method improves load time and therefore user experience.

The Pros of Using Outstream Video

  • Outstream Video is not reliant on pre-existing video content to show ads.
  • Outstream video ads can be highly targeted and are contextually relevant to the content on the page in which they appear.
  • Outstream videos are not visible until the user reaches the desired and relevant point on the page.
  • Outstream video has the ability to provide relevant ads that match a web page’s content to a high degree. Because of this, the ads deliver a more organic and native content experience. The lines between the ad and content blur and become one resulting in a better user experience.
  • Outstream video ads stop playing when the user moves away.
  • The user is in complete control with outstream. Video ads can be scrolled past and never prevent the viewer from accessing other content.
  • Many Outstream video advertising providers only charge when videos have been viewed to completion (CPCV), meaning it is delivering a higher quality user who voluntarily watched the entire ad.

The Take Away…

As you’ve learned, Outstream video offers many benefits and advantages for video advertising that other video advertising delivery formats do not. Outstream video solves a majority of the problems that are inherent in other video ad delivery methods and deliver a higher quality user through a superior user experience.

Every video advertiser should consider using Outstream video in their video marketing plan and advertising portfolio.

Ready to Start Using Outstream Video?

Giant Media is one of the foremost outstream video advertising providers in the industry. Contact Giant Media to see how they can help you use Outstream video to improve your advertising.