The online video advertising ecosystem can seem confusing to the uninitiated, encompassing ad serving platforms, ad management tools, ad networks, and ad exchanges—not to mention the many varieties of ad formats, placements, and standards. Still, developing a successful video advertising business can be relatively straightforward if you begin by considering a few simple questions: is your online video content suitable for advertising? Where will your ads come from? What types of ads will you run, and how will you run them?
What you need to build an online advertising business
Like any market, online video advertising is a simple matter of supply and demand: if you have the right kind of site, brands and marketers will want to advertise on it. In general, they're looking for two things:
- High-quality content. User-generated content (UGC) can be a lot of fun, but it takes professionally produced video to interest major advertisers.
- A desirable audience. If your audience is highly engaged, loyal, and strong in the most in-demand demographic segments, you may be able to sell ads with just a few thousand monthly views. For most publishers, though, a video ad business only becomes profitable and sustainable once you’re approaching one million views per month. If you haven’t reached this point yet, you still may be able to earn a few dollars through an ad network, as described below.
Where online video ads come from
In simple terms, you can either sell your own ads, or have someone else sell them for you. The choice you make will also determine how your ads will be served to your site.
- An in-house sales strategy involves several elements: a sales team to sell ads, an ad operations team to traffic the ads, and an ad serving platform to insert them into your online video inventory, optimize your yield, and report on the results. This is the strategy used by the largest and most successful publishers.
- Smaller publishers often rely on ad networks to sell and serve their ads. By aggregating the ad space from numerous smaller sites, ad networks can build targetable audience segments large enough to interest advertisers (while taking a sizeable cut of each ad sale). Ad networks are also often used by larger publishers to fill “remnant” inventory, i.e. opportunities that haven’t been filled through in-house ad sales. Brightcove Video Cloud offers ad network integrations that make it simple to tap into these sources.
- Ad exchanges play a similar role to that of ad networks, with the difference that publishers and advertisers connect to do business directly rather than going through an intermediary.
Ad networks and ad exchanges are often integrated with ad serving platforms to make up a complete online video ad solution for publishers.
The types of ads you can run against your video content
The most common types of ads in the online video ecosystem are linear video ads, non-linear video ads, and companion ads.
- Linear video ads, also known as in-stream ads, are essentially similar to TV ads, and are often based on the same creative content. They can run before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) the featured content. Because of their length, they're most suitable for longer-form content.
- Non-linear video ads don't necessarily include their own video content; they can also be text or graphical in nature. They typically appear as an interactive overlay over the bottom part of the video window during a set portion of playback.
- Companion ads are display or rich media ads that appear outside the video player on the same page.
Although the variety of formats used to create and deliver these ads can make life complicated for ad operations teams, standard ad formats like VAST, VPAID, and other common industry formats have greatly reduced this complexity.
How to choose the right types of ads and placements for your content
Advertising is always something of a balancing act: you want to run enough advertising to maximize the revenue you generate—but not so much that you alienate your viewers. The right mix depends on the kind of content you offer.
- Short-form video is best monetized through short linear video ads or non-linear video ads—as a rule of thumb, you don't want to make people spend more than one-sixth of their viewing time watching ads.
- Long-form video can more easily support ads of 30 seconds or even longer. To capture the full revenue potential of longer videos, consider running several ads in succession or inserting multiple ad breaks during playback.
- Non-video placements such as companion ads and product or brand placements within your content can bring in incremental revenue beyond the linear and non-linear ads you run within your player.
As you develop and refine your online video advertising strategy, the Brightcove Video Cloud Advertising module provides complete capabilities to specify when to request ads, how many, and how often.
To learn more about online video advertising—including opportunities and strategies for monetizing your video content across non-PC devices like touch-screen smartphones, tablets, Connected TVs, and over-the-top devices—we encourage you to download our free, in-depth white paper on Online Video Monetization Made Simple. We'll keep adding new resources to the Learning Center, so check this page frequently to incorporate the latest strategies, technologies, and best practices into your video advertising business.