The mobile video market is growing rapidly and poised to grow even more. In the US alone, mobile video ad revenues are set to explode from $3.54bn in 2015 to $13.3bn in 2020 thanks to a 30% annual growth rate. But surprisingly, that growth isn’t coming from what most agencies and brands intuitively refer to as “video ads” (pre-rolls), but rather from a category called “outstream.”
So what is outstream mobile video?
All mobile video advertising that isn’t a pre-roll. It’s an auto play and default muted ad form that appears when users scroll down a mobile content feed. It can involve repurposing of a display placement (usually big rectangle sizes) for a video using a special mobile video player or creating a new placement by pushing a paragraph or text and inserting a video player within it.
When a brand or its AOR are planning a branding video buy, the inclination is often to go with pre-roll. But that’s changing. Here’s why:
Scale: Go big or go home
On premium publishers, there simply isn’t enough scale for mobile pre-roll inventory. Sure, YouTube offers a lot, but it’s not always the best fit for every brand, for a variety of reasons, financial or otherwise.
What happens then is that top US content publishers typically sell all inventory in advance, for very high CPM (an average of $30 CPM) and are constantly seeking more video inventory on their mobile assets, which they know will sell like hotcakes at an inflated price point. There’s a catch, though: pre-roll inventory is limited to and capped by video content views.
User experience: Keep your users happy
The mindset of a mobile user is very different from that of a desktop user. A mobile user wants “bite-sized” content, both written and, even more so, video—and wants it more frequently.
While a 30-second commercial before a two- to three-minute piece of content may be the norm for a desktop experience, when implemented on mobile as a pre-roll, it actually risks pushing some users away.
These days, mobile consumption of non-game content involves feeds—infinite or at least very long—that allow the user to scroll quickly through numerous articles or headlines and choose the one that interests him or her.
So “thumb scrollability”—how fast a user scrolls up or down a feed—is key.
This, of course, affects users’ attention to video ads when they are placed in a feed or within content. If the user is interested in an outstream video ad, he or she briefly stops scrolling, hanging around to watch it, resulting in high viewability rates and high VTRs (view-through rate) of video ads. But just as important: if the user isn’t interested, no skip action is required, and he or she just keeps scrolling—no hassle involved.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world: The battle against Facebook and Google
The rapid growth of Facebook’s own mobile video product is a big threat to content publishers. With users publishing their own content to their audiences, Facebook doesn’t need to invest in video content. And its autoplay muted video unit, which starts playing when a user scrolls down his or her feed, is a big boon when it comes to thumb scrollability.
Big content publishers who already feel cornered by Facebook in terms of ad revenue are going to have to react and find their own unit to monetize with video on scale.
In a nutshell: mobile video outstream is way more in line with mobile content consumption and more native by nature.
What’s next? Changing the tune.
Some big mobile video buyers still refer to mobile oustream as IBV (in-banner video), a term that originated, and is still used, in the desktop world—where it refers to placing a video commercial within a 300-by-250 ad slot. There are a lot of issues with IBV: residing next to a content piece, it competes for viewability and the user’s attention. Plus, it often involves sound, which can be annoying and lead to a negative user experience.
But that’s not the case with mobile: a 300-by-250 mobile video in-feed ad actually takes up the full screen—say goodbye to any concerns about visibility!
So when buyers refer to a mobile video outstream ad as IBV, they’re applying a negative term from the “old world” to a new world, where it’s native and really fits. And it’s wrong.
In fact, mobile video outstream can offer a brand or an agency buyer a premium publisher environment on scale (as it’s not constrained by video content views), with a native-like unit and a much better price point than a pre-roll on the same premium publishers.
Recognizing this, mobile video outsream SSP like Positive Mobile are using their technology to unleash a large-scale, premium mobile video inventory than can be accessed programmatically, changing the landscape of video advertising to make it more accessible, affordable and scale driven