All About Video Ads: Formats, Setup & Benefits for Publishers

by | Jun 2, 2023 | 0 comments

Video Ads

Video ads have become an essential part of the digital advertising landscape, and publishers are increasingly turning to them as a way to generate revenue. In this blog, let’s deep dive into all that you need to know about video ads

Have you ever wondered what makes video ads so appealing? Is it the visuals? The sound? Or maybe videos just have a way of capturing our attention in ways that written or audio content does not.

Regardless of why, it’s clear that video advertising can be a powerful tool for connecting with and engaging an audience. Whether you’re a publisher hoping to start monetizing your content through video ads or a marketer looking for tools to reach more people with your message, this guide is designed to provide you with the information you need to get started. 

We’ll dive into the various types of video ad formats available, how they work, and the numerous benefits they offer—as well as a brief tutorial on setting up such campaigns in Google Ad Manager and best practices to make the most out of it. So if you’re ready, let’s get started with exploring the world of video advertising!

What Are Video Ads – Things Publishers Should Know

Video ads are an effective way of advertising for publishers. They aren’t new but they have been growing in popularity due to the rise in user video consumption by 22% in 2022-23. There are various types of video ad formats available to publishers, such as skippable (which allows viewers to click a button and skip ahead) and non-skippable ads. 

Video ads can last anywhere between 6–15 minutes and may include smaller clips cut down from longer videos, or even a mix of multiple clips.

Video ads in general are becoming more popular today because they provide a better user experience than their traditional counterparts, such as banners and text ads. 

With video ads, you can create an immersive experience with visuals and audio that can quickly grab the attention of viewers – this is why many brands are turning to video as their primary medium for advertising.

Video ads are also quite versatile, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating them. You can customize them with different lengths and formats for different audiences, allowing you to reach out to the right people more effectively – which is why video advertising is climbing the charts among marketers today.

Types of Video Ad Formats 

Types of Video Ads

Video advertising is a powerful tool to leverage traffic and boost ROI for any publisher. Before setting up video ads in your Google Ad Manager, let’s look into the different types of video ad formats available.

The three main categories of video ad formats are linear, non-linear, and companion ads. Within each category there are several options depending on the type of ad you wish to create.

Linear Video Ads

Linear video ads are a form of video advertisement that can be viewed prior to, in the middle of, or subsequent to the video content on a web platform or application. They have the option to be either skippable or non-skippable, with a typical duration spanning from 15 to 30 seconds.

Non-Linear Video Ads

Non-linear video ads represent a variant of video advertisement format that superimposes over the video content, as opposed to disrupting it as linear video ads do. They can appear as banners, pop-ups, or interactive overlays, and can be clicked on or interacted with by the viewer.

Non-linear video ads can be displayed in a variety of sizes and positions on the video player, and can be targeted to specific demographics or interests. They can also be programmed to display at specific times during the video, such as during a pause or at the end of the video.

Companion Ads

Companion ads are a type of display ad format that appears alongside video content on a website or app. They are called “companion” ads because they are designed to complement the video content, rather than interrupt it.

Companion ads can appear in a variety of sizes and positions on the webpage, and can include images, text, or interactive elements. They can also be targeted to specific demographics or interests, making them a valuable tool for advertisers looking to reach a specific audience.

Companion ads can be displayed in a variety of formats, including static images, animated GIFs, or HTML5. They can also be placed in different locations on the webpage, such as above or below the video player, or to the side of the video content.

What are ad units?

Ad units are predefined ad formats that publishers use to display advertisements on their websites or apps. They come in different shapes and sizes and can be displayed in various places on a web page or app. Ad units generally comprise a blend of text, visuals, and/or videos, coupled with a call-to-action (CTA) that prompts users to engage with the ad and navigate to the advertiser’s website or landing page.

The video ad unit types can further be classified into:

Instream Video Ads

Instream video ads are a type of linear ad format that plays before, during, or after video content on a website or app. They are called “instream” because they are integrated into the video content stream, much like a traditional TV commercial.

Pre-roll Ads

Pre-roll ads are a type of instream video ad that play before the video content starts. Mid-roll advertisements are those that are displayed while the video content is playing, whereas post-roll ads are shown once the video content concludes.

There exist two categories of pre-roll ads: linear and non-linear. Linear pre-roll ads bear resemblance to TV commercials as they are presented prior to the video content and lack the option to be skipped. Non-linear pre-roll ads are displayed as overlays or pop-ups, and can be skipped after a few seconds.

Mid-roll Ads

Mid-roll ads are typically non-skippable and can be inserted at specific points during the video content. They can be used to break up longer videos or to provide a natural pause for viewers to engage with the ad content.

Post-roll Ads

Post-roll ads are similar to pre-roll ads, but they play after the video content has finished. While they may have a slightly lower engagement rate than pre-roll or mid-roll ads, post-roll ads can be a good option for advertisers who want to ensure that their ad is seen in its entirety.

Outstream Video Ads

This type of ads runs on media channels without existing videos such as webpages, mobile apps and social media feeds. They play when the user scrolls through the page or even when they are not actively scrolling on their devices!

Overlay Ads (Non-Linear Ad Format)

The most commonly used form of non-linear video ads consists of banner images or text displayed over part of an ongoing video.

Non-overlay video ads

Non-overlay video ads are a type of video ad format that appears within the video content itself, rather than as an overlay or pop-up. They are called “non-overlay” because they do not cover or interrupt the video content like some other types of video ads.

For publishers, non-overlay video ads can be a valuable source of revenue because they do not interfere with the user experience or detract from the video content. They can also be targeted to specific demographics or interests, making them a valuable tool for advertisers looking to reach a specific audience.

Interactive Video Ads

Interactive video ads are a type of video ad format that allows viewers to engage with the ad content in various ways, such as clicking on hotspots or interactive elements within the video. They are designed to be more engaging and immersive than traditional video ads, and can lead to higher levels of viewer engagement and brand awareness.

Interactive video ads can take many forms, including quizzes, surveys, product demonstrations, or mini-games. They can be incorporated at various phases of the buyer’s journey, ranging from awareness to contemplation to conversion. 

An instance of an interactive video ad is the “choose your own adventure” style advertisement, where viewers have the liberty to select different routes or results according to their preferences. Another example is a product demonstration video where viewers can click on hotspots to learn more about specific features or benefits of a product.

Interactive video ads can prove to be extremely beneficial for advertisers as they offer a more captivating and interactive experience for the audience. Additionally, they can yield valuable data and insights regarding viewer behavior and preferences, which can be utilized to enhance future advertising campaigns.

Programmatic Video Ads

While discussing various video ad units, it’s crucial to understand how are these video ads traded

Programmatic video ads are a type of online advertising that uses automated technology to buy and sell ad inventory in real-time. These ads are typically in the form of video content that is displayed on websites, social media platforms, mobile apps, and connected TV devices.

The procedure of programmatic ad purchasing entails advertisers employing a demand-side platform (DSP) to acquire ad inventory from publishers, who utilize a supply-side platform (SSP) to vend advertising space. The entire process is automated and uses complex algorithms to match ads with specific audiences based on their interests, demographics, and behavior.

Programmatic video advertisements present numerous advantages to advertisers, such as the capacity to accurately target specific audiences, optimize campaigns in real-time, and the capability to engage users across a variety of devices and platforms. They also offer publishers a way to monetize their video content by selling ad inventory programmatically.

Why should publishers opt for video ads?

You probably already know that video ads offer increased engagement rates and the scarcity of video content leads to higher click-through rates and CPMs. But if you’re still not convinced, let’s take a closer look at the specific benefits of video ads for publishers.

Video ads bring in more money and drive engagement at the same time—so not only are you providing valuable content to users, but you’re benefiting too. Video ads can also help bring your publisher’s brand to life, as they can be used to tell a story or deliver a certain message.

Another great aspect of video ads is that they can hold attention for long enough that your message has a chance to get across without requiring heavy involvement from viewers; in addition, most video ad platforms have the option for viewers to skip the ad after 5 seconds, which offers large reach without long video lengths. This way, you can get engaging content out while keeping users engaged on your page or channel.

Using Video Ads to Make the Most Profits

Most publishers these days are capitalizing on the power of video advertising to capitalize on their profits. How? By doing the following:

Sequencing Multiple Pre-rolls Using Ad Pods

Ad pods, also known as “roadblocks”, are a way for publishers to sequence multiple pre-roll ads in one video. Instead of viewers having to sit through several ad breaks during a video, they can just watch one longer pre-roll at the start and be done with it. This allows publishers to get more ad impressions in one go — and that equals more revenue for them!

Using Smart Bidding Strategies

It’s important for publishers to bid for the right kind of video ads to maximize their profits. Smart bidding strategies such as cost per view (CPV) or cost per click (CPC) are great ways to capture maximum top line revenue with targeted campaigns that guarantee that your budget is spent in the best way possible.

Exploring Different Ad Formats

Publishers should explore different formats of video ads like outstream and instream ads. Outstream is when an advertisement shows up in between content — it’s not part of the video itself — while instream is when an advertisement appears within a streaming video. Each variety has its distinct benefits, so select the one that aligns best with your personal and business objectives!

What Platforms are Needed For Serving Video Ads?

If you want to take advantage of video advertising, one of the things you need to consider is what platforms you will use to serve your ads.

There are a few key players in the world of serving video ads, including:

Video Ad Networks – these are companies that connect various publishers and advertisers. Their job is to manage ad delivery in real-time and provide analytic insights.

Video SSPs (Supply Side Platforms) & Exchanges – these are online marketplaces for buying and selling video inventory between publishers and advertisers.

Video Ad Servers – these are software used to manage inventory, track impressions, store creative assets, and target specific audiences.

Video DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) – these platforms allow advertisers to purchase videos from different sources at scale.

Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages—an example of this is that video DSPs can provide more precise targeting so that ads have a better chance of being seen by the right audience, but they typically require larger budgets for campaigns. It’s important to understand the different platforms available so that you can make the best choice for your business.

Best Practices: Tips to Succeed at Video Advertising

Video ads can be an effective way to engage audiences and get your message across, but you’ll need to make sure you do it right. Here are some tips and best practices to keep in mind when crafting your video ad campaigns:

Keep it short and sweet

The shorter the better – aim to keep your videos under 2 minutes. Not only will this keep viewers engaged, but it’ll also be more cost-effective.

Choose the right orientation

Try using vertical or square videos for maximum impact on mobile devices. Horizontal videos may take up too much space on smaller screens.

Incorporate branding elements

It’s important to make sure your brand is properly represented in the video, so include your logo or app icon somewhere strategically – that way viewers will remember who you are!

Always Keep the Audio Off

Most users have their sound muted by default, so you don’t want your ads to rely on sound for viewers to understand it. Meaning, if you don’t include captions and/or text in your ads, even with sound turned on—people might not be able to comprehend what they’re seeing.

Maintain Minimum Viewability Standards

Focus on viewable inventory. This implies that a minimum of 50% of an advertisement needs to be displayed on a user’s screen for a continuous duration of at least two seconds. When this standard isn’t met there’s less chance of someone engaging with an ad and fewer impressions will be served.

Page Load Time

Make sure that the page where people will watch a video ad loads quickly. If your page takes too long to load as people are trying to watch a video—they might get frustrated and bounce off the page. This will damage all metrics related to viewability and engagement, so page speed is essential.

Try Video Header Bidding

If you sell display ads via header bidding setup, then you can also try selling video ads in the same manner. Video header bidding increases competition amongst demand sources and brings higher fill rates and CPMs for publishers.

Don’t Overwhelm Users

Last but not least is being mindful about how many video ad players you have running on each page at one time (or ‘page performance loading).

Setting Up Video Ads in Google Ad Manager

Ready to get started with setting up video ads in Google Ad Manager? Understanding how to set up video ads is important for any publisher. It allows you to run a variety of video campaigns, helps you earn more money, and allows you to deliver an immersive experience for your viewers.

To get started, there are a few steps you need to take:

Activate rules

The first thing you need to do is activate the rules in Ad Manager. These will help guide the ad delivery and ensure that all of the video creatives and formats are set up correctly. Generally speaking, activating rules should be done at the same time as creating ad units in Ad Manager.

Select Video VAST

Next, you’ll need to select Video VAST when creating creative sets in Ad Manager. With Video VAST, publishers can control how they deliver video ads while enabling advertisers to target the right audience with their campaigns.

Create ad units without ad sizes

Finally, it’s important to remember not to create ad units with just video sizes—you want to make sure that your pre-created ad units don’t overlap with other standard display creatives as well. This is important because it ensures that all of your impressions are counted towards your total impressions for a campaign so that you can accurately track performance.

By following these steps, you’ll be able to successfully set up video ads in Google Ad Manager and start running successful campaigns!


In conclusion, video ads have become an increasingly important part of any publisher’s digital strategy. As video ad formats become more sophisticated, publishers have greater control to create ad experiences that are more engaging and immersive.

When setting up video ads, it’s helpful to remember that each ad format has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you should use the one that works best for you. Additionally, you should consider using a Google ad manager to simplify your workflow, as it makes it easy to set up, serve, and measure video ads.

Overall, video advertisements are powerful and effective tools that can help you reach your business goals. From creating a more immersive and engaging ad experience for users to helping you increase your profits, video advertising can be a great way to increase the success of your digital campaigns.

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