Outstream Video Formats Continue to Grow: Q&A with Jerem Febvre, Sublime Skinz

Advertisers want to tell their stories with video advertising; and the latest auto-playing, outstream ad units are giving brands increased exposure with extremely high viewability. As the use of outstream continues to grow, Jerem Febvre (pictured below), co-founder and president, Sublime Skinz, talks about the benefits and efficacy of this innovative ad format.

ExchangeWire: Outsteam video ad units seem to be popping up everywhere. How is this format performing over traditional pre-roll formats?

Jerem Febvre: First, I think we have to define outstream ad units. The terminology ‘outstream video’, that we increasingly see in the market, doesn’t actually describe only a single type of unit. As opposed to the specific nature of instream video content, it refers to any video ad that plays outside of an online video content/player. It could be a native video, an ‘in-read’ player that displays within the text content of an article, or a high-impact page takeover, like Sublime Skinz’s VideoSkinz unit, which displays a video on top of the page in a contextualised and immersive background, without interrupting the user’s navigation experience.

The benefit of this kind of unit is the less intrusive nature from the user perspective, compared to pre-roll, combined with greater impact for the viewer, higher completion rate, and better engagement. Advertisers tell us that they are opting to use more and more of these types of units as a result of positive user experience; and we recently conducted research with Ipsos that confirmed the findings with both users and advertisers.

In the research you recently conducted, what were some of the top benefits for advertisers using this format?

Quite simply, we found that users prefer these more innovative types of outstream units, pay more attention to them and, as a result, take action with far greater frequency. Our results showed that, in addition to being the most visually appealing unit for more than 80% of respondents, according to the study, outstream VideoSkinz, or wallpaper, is also a much more memorable format. Viewers were able the quote the brand over two-times more often than for pre-roll and were 30% more likely to take action than pre-roll viewers. Essentially, VideoSkinz provide a perfect double whammy. They are much more effective for brand-awareness purposes, and very powerful in terms of driving action and conversion – especially when combined with an efficient data targeting approach.

What has been the shift in both display and mobile ad spend to outstream units for advertisers or agencies that have seen the efficacy of using VideoSkinz and M-Skinz?

There really aren’t any studies about this shift, but our experience during the last three years shows that over 500 top brands globally became recurring clients of our desktop VideoSkinz, once they tried them and saw how effective they were. This really isn’t entirely unexpected. As the video and programmatic markets mature, much more innovative solutions are becoming available for marketers to unleash their creativity within an RTB environment. As a result, now more than ever before, advertisers can leverage more exciting creative experiences to deliver against both branding and performance KPIs with the same unit.

What does the publisher trend look like for more websites to be able to support this type of format?

Jerem Febvre, Co-Founder & President, Sublime Skinz

From a publisher standpoint, outstream units are very appealing because they create massive additional inventory on pages. These placements, that were not monetised before, create direct incremental revenues for publishers – and at high CPMs. It really is the best of both worlds. Furthermore, there’s no technical barrier to their adoption for publishers so, increasingly, we see more and more requests from them to be included in outstream VideoSkinz campaigns, or to use our PMP technology to sell their own campaigns. We expect that, as demand for these units continues to grow, so will the supply from publishers.

Even with an overall higher efficacy rate for the outstream format, can you still make the case for traditional pre-roll? Where does it still make more sense?

In terms of available inventory, pre-roll is still more important than outstream players; but the growth of in-read formats has been tremendous over the last two years. The quality associated with these newer types of units comes with an incremental cost though, making pre-roll still a very viable alternative for the cost-conscious. Basically, if you’re looking for massive, cheap video inventory, pre-roll is probably still a good move. But, if you do opt for this type of inventory, be prepared and manage your performance expectations accordingly.

Where do you see the future of the outstream format going past this latest application? 

The marketshare for innovative outstream video formats will continue to grow, especially with advertisers’ increasing concerns about brand safety on UGC video platforms like YouTube. Once brands and publishers understand that video ads don’t necessarily have to come with video content, the possibilities are limitless. Instead of being constrained to showing video ads within video content – and often not being able to control what type of content that is – brands can show videos outside of the content, within the context of an environment they can fully control. That’s a pretty intoxicating – and even more promising – development for marketers and for the video marketplace.

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