Video marketing is one of the most efficient ad delivery methods in today’s adtech environment. According to the latest known statistics, the digital video advertising market in 2022 is estimated to be worth $180 billion, with an annual spending growth rate of approximately 20%.
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As a publisher and depending on your monetization strategies, video advertising may be the backbone of your ad revenue. Consequently, finding the best video ad network is crucial for publishers who need to maximize their earnings. Here’s everything you need to know about video ad networks and how to select the best one.
What is a Video Ad Network?
As with any other ad network, the essential purpose of a video ad network is to serve as an aggregating platform facilitating deals between publishers and advertisers. Ad networks collect ad space from publishers and unsold ad inventory from advertisers, then handle transactions between both parties to ensure the most relevant ads fill available ad spaces.
Where a video ad network differs from a standard ad network is the type of ads they handle. As the name implies, a video ad network specializes exclusively in video ads. Consequently, they only accept ad inventory in video format and will only match these ads to compatible ad spaces.
Why Do You Need a Video Ad Network?
As a publisher, a video ad network is a highly efficient method of filling any unsold ad space for video creatives and maximizing your earning potential. Video ad networks ensure that you can find advertisers with the creative types and relevant ads you need to monetize your website, app, game, or another digital property with video ad content.
These networks also use automation to manage each transaction, eliminating the need to manually contact each advertiser and broker deals for each of your ad spaces. These features make video ad networks the ideal solution for cost-efficient monetization.
Types of Video Ads
Although functionally similar, there are two primary methods to serve video ads: in-stream delivery and out-stream delivery.
In-stream Video Ads
An in-stream video ad is a type of ad integrated into video content displayed on a dedicated player. These ads typically take the form of a segment within a video posted to a video-sharing platform (e.g., YouTube).
The length of these ads usually ranges from 5 to 60 seconds, typically giving the user an option to skip the ad after a set period (after 5 to 30 seconds).
In-stream video ads may be linear or non-linear. A linear ad briefly pauses the content the user is currently watching to display the ad, whereas a non-linear ad is an overlay that partially obscures the content with a banner.
Linear ads are further categorized by when the ads appear relative to the video content’s runtime. Three categories are distinguished: Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll.
- A pre-roll linear ad plays as soon as the user starts the video or clicks the Play button, displaying the ad before the content. This format is ideal to ensure ads reach the user but comes with an increased risk of skipping.
- Mid-roll linear ads play at a specific point in the middle of the video content, usually determined by the publisher. The primary advantage of mid-roll ads is their positioning; users are less likely to skip them as they are already engaging with the content. However, if not placed correctly, they risk interrupting the content with poor timing (e.g., mid-sentence)
- A post-roll linear ad plays at the end of the video content. This type of linear ad is the least disruptive but also has the lowest reach, as many users click away from the video before reaching the very end.
Out-stream Video Ads
An out-stream video ad is a self-contained video ad that is not played into or over existing video content. Instead, it appears to the user as a video player built into a webpage without using an existing video-sharing platform.
Initially designed for the mobile market, out-stream video ads also proved to be a powerful advertising tool on desktop devices. Today, out-stream video advertising is one of the most widespread website monetization methods.
There are three categories of out-stream video ads: in-slide ads, in-banner ads, and in-content ads.
- In-slide ads are a type of video ad displayed in the corner of the page, usually inside a miniature video player (mini-player).In-slide ads are intended to attract the visitor’s attention without obscuring the content from view. They achieve it by using a mini-player that follows the user as they scroll up or down the website (scroll follow). Although every aspect of an in-slide ad is configurable by the publisher, a typical example is an auto-playing ad that starts muted and offers an option to skip or close after a few seconds.
- In-banner ads are a type of video ad that uses the ad space of a website’s banner. That space will display the video creative instead of a standard banner ad when configured to accept an in-banner video ad.While in-banner ads do not possess the scroll follow feature of in-slide ads, this format helps publishers reuse existing spaces and can provide added interactivity to users.
- In-content ads place video ad content into a website’s editorial content, popping open after the user has reached the page position where they have been embedded.Typically, these ads are designed to load but not auto-play until the user scrolls to the correct point. In-content ads are popular on websites with high amounts of editorial content due to the seamless experience they provide.
In-content ads function using one of four models:
- 0% Visibility: Although the ad loads alongside the rest of the page, the mini-player remains hidden from view until the user scrolls to the exact point where it is embedded in the page. Auto-playing only begins when the mini-player is active.
- 50% Visibility: When the page loads, the mini-player immediately activates and pre-loads the ad creative. However, it delays auto-playing until the user has scrolled the page enough to bring at least 50% of it into view.
- Over 50% Visibility: Similar to the 50% Visibility model but with one difference: the player begins auto-playing only when over 50% of the player is visible. In other words, auto-play doesn’t start if the player is exactly 50% visible.
- 50% Scroll-Past Visibility: This model is similar to 50% Visibility but with reversed visibility conditions. Instead of starting auto-play when 50% of the player enters the user’s window, it begins when at least 50% of it leaves the view, inciting the user to scroll back to the video.
Difference Between In-stream Video Ads and Out-stream Video Ads
The primary difference between in-stream and out-stream ads is the type of video player required to play each ad type. In-stream ads need a dedicated platform’s video player, whereas out-stream ads can play on any website.
Which is the Most Popular One?
Although in-stream ads were once dominant, partly due to the prevalence of YouTube and the video-sharing features of specific social media platforms (e.g., Twitter and Facebook), out-stream ads have become the most popular type of video ads.
The primary reason behind their popularity is their versatility: they can be played on virtually any website without relying on dedicated video platforms. Additionally, they can be configured by publishers with no prior experience in video advertising, making them more accessible.
What to Look for in a Video Ad Network
If you are a publisher seeking a video ad network to monetize your website or digital property, here are the most helpful features and functionalities you should look for to optimize your revenue.
1. Full-featured Analytics
A full suite of performance measurement features, such as an analytics dashboard, numerous Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and comprehensive data reporting, is critical for any publisher seeking to gather data about every aspect of a video ad campaign.
A quality video ad network should offer these features out of the box and let you change or modify your ad campaign even while it’s in progress, allowing you to adjust to the changes and measured fluctuations in performance as they happen.
2. Wide Range of Video Formats
A wide range of video formats is crucial to ensure that the video ads have the means to reach the highest possible number of website visitors. Users employ numerous device and browser combinations, requiring publishers to ensure their chosen ad network has access to ad creatives that are compatible with as many of them as possible.
3. Precise Audience Targeting
One of the best tools an ad network can provide to its publishers is robust audience targeting functionality. The more precisely the network allows a publisher to target its audience, the more likely the served video ads will be relevant, increasing the likelihood of views, clicks, and conversions. In other words, high-precision audience targeting tools are crucial for improving the revenue-earning potential of your digital property.
4. Brand Safety Tools
Two critical elements of brand safety are eliminating low-quality ad inventory from view and maintaining a high level of quality and relevancy when serving ads. Quality ad networks should commit to combating fraud by providing publishers with a curated selection of security features and other brand safety tools.
Common examples include block lists and allow-lists to let publishers control which advertisers and ad creatives appear in their ad spaces. Another example is the possibility of implementing brand-safe ad formats.
5. Robust Customer and Tech Support
Many ad networks contain numerous features and options that can be challenging to use and fully understand. High-performing ad networks should provide multiple avenues to help customers use the full extent of their functions.
Essential tech support should at least include free access to comprehensive documentation detailing each function. Other, more advanced forms of customer support include a helpdesk system or a live tech support platform, providing customers with a way to contact trained staff that can help and guide them into using the ad network’s features.
6. Technology and Backing Infrastructure
No matter how many features an ad network claims to offer, it is critical to ensure they have the technology and infrastructure required to provide high-quality services. Video ad creatives need significant amounts of data storage to keep each ad creative in as many different formats as possible.
Additionally, video ad networks must also be able to reliably serve ads to each ad space, with as few errors and service interruptions as possible and rapid remediation of any issues preventing ad serving.
16 Best Video Ad Networks for Publishers
Below is the list of the 15 highest-performing video ad networks for publishers. Discover what each network has to offer and why they are reliable choices.
Vidazoo is a leading video content and yield management platform that offers publishers some of the industry’s most comprehensive automation tools to help manage multiple video placements as well as optimize demand, all under the same platform. This video vendor is a certified Google Video Technology Partner and provides leading video solutions to more than 200 publishers worldwide, delivering over 6 billion unique impressions monthly.
Among the many features offered to publishers on Vidazoo, the most significant include its fully customized video player solution to monetize video content, fully managed services, and direct and marketplace demand for optimal monetization.
2. Xandr (previously AppNexus)
Although the platform changed its name to Xandr in 2018, it was previously known as AppNexus and is one of the oldest and most trusted names in the video ad network industry.
In operation since 2007, Xandr is one of the top video ad marketplaces, with access to over 175 supply-side platforms (SSP) as partners, integrations in over 80 demand-side platforms (DSP) worldwide, and an optional sub-platform to facilitate direct deals between advertisers and publishers.
Xandr also offers publishers access to a highly sought-after feature: video header bidding, opening their video ad unit inventory to multiple buyers simultaneously, allowing them to sell their ad space more efficiently. Although video header bidding primarily benefits larger publishers with high quantities of unsold ad spaces, this feature is available to all platform members, regardless of size.
Primis is a leading video discovery platform offering publishers some of the industry’s most comprehensive video ads and features. This ad network is trusted by hundreds of top-performing publishers worldwide and serves over 350 million unique impressions monthly.
Among the many features offered to publishers on Primis, the most significant include its extensive library of ad units, compatibility with in-stream and out-stream ads, and a wide array of brand safety measures and technologies, including ad fraud protection systems.
OpenX is both an ad network and an ad exchange with access to hundreds of partners on both sides of the advertising ecosystem: SSPs and DSPs. OpenX’s platform allows publishers to monetize property on all types of devices: desktop computers, mobile devices (phones, tablets), and televisions (CTV, streaming TV ads).
OpenX is renowned for its highly comprehensive real-time analytics engine, advanced infrastructure, and support for virtually any video player and ad format (both in-stream and out-stream). Publishers looking to improve their reach, create audience profiles, and serve high-relevancy ads can also use the platform’s natively-developed OpenAudience customer targeting solution.
ACH payments (US customers only)
SelectMedia is a full-stack video ad network specializing in cross-platform out-stream advertising in the Asian markets. SelectMedia offers all types of out-stream ads (in-slide, in-banner, in-content) plus video ads for connected TVs.
Over 650 premium customers trust SelectMedia for their advertising needs. The platform offers real-time bidding (RTB), a fully-featured ad server, and numerous brand safety and anti-fraud mechanisms, ensuring safety for both publishers and advertisers by combating bots and other forms of invalid traffic.
SelectMedia is primarily intended for medium and large customers. The platform imposes a minimum traffic requirement of 10,000 unique visitors per month to publishers looking to join. However, customers that meet the requirements benefit from low minimum payout requirements and multiple convenient payment models and methods.
AdPlayer.Pro is a newer ad network founded in 2016 specializing in web-based video ads powered using HTML5 player technology. The platform aims to be a comprehensive ecosystem suitable for publishers, brands, companies, ad agencies, and other entities.
AdPlayer.Pro offers a built-in, HTML5-powered video player that can support numerous ad formats for both in-stream and out-stream ads, compliant with all modern industry standards (VPAID, VAST, Google IMA).
The network also offers a comprehensive analytics and reporting engine, providing publishers with real-time, daily, and weekly measurements of ad performance KPIs. The report generator is also fully configurable, opening the possibility of creating 100% custom performance reports.
Unruly is a British adtech company and one of the world’s leading video ad networks. The company was founded in 2006 in Shoreditch, London. Initially a 3-person startup, Unruly is now a world leader in ad technology with access to hundreds of DSPs and a comprehensive library of video ad creatives.
Unruly provides solutions to ensure even publishers with no video content can use video ads to monetize their digital properties. The platform and its ad library are 100% compliant with consumer protection and brand safety standards, including the Better Ads Standards (BAS) and the GDPR, ensuring a high-quality, high-relevancy, fraud-free experience.
PubMatic is a California-based online advertising firm with access to over 200 worldwide DSPs and media buyers.
PubMatic’s video ad network is a world-leading programmatic advertising solution offering publishers an easy-to-use interface, consistently high-quality ad creatives, highly competitive payouts, and an option to access a private marketplace (PMP) for premium deals.
PubMatic has offices in seven locations across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company’s services are trusted by some of the world’s largest publishers, including eBay, the Huffington Post, and other high-ranking ComScore firms.
Launched in 2013, Adsterra is an advertising network with a global reach and a long history of successful partnerships with advertisers and publishers of all sizes. Adsterra’s services serve over 30 billion ad impressions per month, with over 70% of ads served on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Over 13,000 brands and 21,000 publishers work using Adsterra.
Signing up on Adsterra’s platform allows publishers to benefit from one of the easiest-to-use dashboards and interfaces available, ensuring a high-quality user experience (UX) and a high degree of control over ad campaigns. All ads served through the platform are protected against malware, ad fraud, scams, and other threats to brand safety using internally developed security software.
As an additional benefit to publishers, Adsterra offers one of the industry’s lowest minimum payment thresholds, short payout frequencies for more frequent payments, and a plethora of payment methods, from standard bank transfers to cryptocurrency.
10. Magnite (previously Rubicon Project)
The advertising platform known as Magnite today is the result of a merger between the Rubicon Project and Telaria, announced in December 2019 and completed in March 2020. The resulting platform is the world’s largest independent SSP.
Although Magnite is an omnichannel SSP, the company’s video ad network services serve over 65% of the world’s top publishers, from Bloomberg Media and CNN to ESPN and the Economist. The platform is primarily intended for large publishers, with a minimum requirement of 5 million monthly pageviews to qualify.
Magnite lets publishers deliver all types of video ads on numerous device types, from in-stream and out-stream ads to in-app interstitials, rewarded video ads on mobile games, and many other formats. The platform also offers unique monetization options, such as ad podding, an ad serving grouping multiple ads into a single segment, similar to a television ad break.
If you are a publisher primarily seeking monetization avenues on mobile platforms, you may have heard of Fyber. Formerly known as RNTS Media, Fyber is a German, mobile-first adtech company specializing in all types and formats of video ads.
Fyber allows publishers to monetize mobile applications and other mobile digital properties through VPAID ad tags. Developers and publishers can easily integrate Fyber into a mobile application with the Fyber SDK, supported by highly comprehensive documentation.
The Fyber ad network has access to over 180 trusted DSPs and serves ads in the following formats: in-stream, in-app videos, rewarded videos, interstitials, and rich media.
12. Meta Audience Network / Facebook Audience Network
The Meta Audience Network, better known as the Facebook Audience Network (FAN), is the social media giant’s dedicated ad network.
Publishers looking to monetize their properties using video ads on Facebook can use FAN. The platform allows publishers to join Facebook’s in-stream video ad system. Although FAN works on all platforms supporting Facebook, revenue streams are best optimized on mobile due to the prevalence of mobile traffic on the social media platform.
1. How to add video advertisements to my website?
Monetizing a website with video ads requires publishers to follow the following general steps: sign up on the platform of your choice, purchase a subscription, configure your website or digital property to accept video ads (e.g., setting up a relevant media player), select video ad creatives, test the player, then publish.
2. How much revenue can I make from video ads?
The amount of money you can earn with video ads depends on multiple critical factors, such as the type of video ads served (in-stream or out-stream), the format of each ad, which ad network you selected, and what payment models they offer.
Natural market fluctuations, such as trends and changing viewer interests, can also significantly affect ad revenue. The best way to estimate how much money you can expect from an ad campaign is to use your ad network’s analytics functions and read the values provided there.
3. Are in-stream or out-stream ads better?
Although in-stream ads are the industry standard for displaying advertisements on video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, out-stream ads have outshined in-stream ads in popularity. Out-stream ads are less intrusive and more versatile because they are easier to set up and fit a greater variety of websites (e.g., blogs, editorial content, etc.).
4. Do video ads perform better than non-video ad types?
According to a 2018 Google study, video ads resulted in higher user engagement levels over image-based ads, retaining their attention more efficiently and giving them a better understanding of the advertised products. These factors drive up impression rates, increase the chances of conversions, and result in more successful (and higher-paying) ad campaigns.