Reach Users Beyond YouTube with Outstream Video Ads

Since we published our post covering An Overview of Video Advertising, AdWords has released yet another video ad format.

Outstream videos are potentially valuable for expanding beyond YouTube and placing videos directly within content people are reading. In this article, we’ll walk through the basics of outstream ads, from a general description of the format to a setup guide.

Where Do Outstream Ads Appear?

Outstream ads show solely on mobile or tablet devices and are designed first and foremost for mobile users. These ads appear on Google video partners, which are sites or apps vetted to be eligible for displaying video ads.

Ads appear within content and will autoplay as soon as they become visible on the screen. The sound will be muted until the user taps the ad to turn sound on, after which they’ll also see playback controls to restart the video if they choose. Along with the video, a headline, description, and logo allow you to deliver a short call-to-action linking to a landing page.

No video length limit appears to be cited for outstream ads. However, since you have a brief window of time for garnering attention from your audience, we’d recommend keeping content as brief as possible and creating videos that will grab users’ attention within the first few seconds. Since users are scrolling through content instead of waiting through a pre-roll ad to view a video, you’ll need an especially attractive ad to make them stop for a second look.

How Are You Charged?

Outstream ads are billed on a viewable CPM basis. You’ll only pay for impressions when 50 percent of your ad shows for at least two seconds on the user’s screen. While you can’t pay on a cost-per-view basis, as you can with TrueView ad formats, you will be ensured that the user at least had the opportunity to see your brand represented.

Creating an Outstream Video Campaign

To create an outstream campaign, start a new campaign in AdWords and choose “Video” as the campaign type.

Choose Campaign Type

On the next screen, choose “Brand Awareness and reach” as the goal. Options appear below with campaign subtypes, where you should then select “Outstream.”

Continue to the next screen, where you can define your campaign budget and other options. Note that you can choose between a daily or lifetime budget (currently the “lifetime” budget option is only available for video campaigns in AdWords).

While ads will show on all mobile or tablet devices by default, you can use the options under “Devices” to narrow to specific operating systems, models, or networks. Also, keep in mind when setting bids that you’re paying on a viewable CPM basis, not on a CPV (cost per view) or CPC basis. Frequency capping will allow you to limit how often individuals see a video in a day, helping to prevent oversaturation.

Under the “People” and “Content” sections, you can define how you want to target ads, selecting from the standard parameters available for display or video campaigns. Note that video campaigns don’t allow you to use an “observations only” setting for any targeting parameters, as you can with display, so ads show only when all selected criteria are met.

Creating Your Ad

Now, create an ad to run in your campaign. You’ll need to upload your video to YouTube if you haven’t done so already. The link privacy should be set as either “public” or “unlisted” (“private” links aren’t acceptable).

After pasting a link, choose a thumbnail for the video. Thumbnail images are auto-generated and don’t currently appear to provide an option for uploading a custom thumbnail.

Now, enter a headline and description for the ad text that appears with the video. Note an 80 character limit for the headline and a 100 character limit for the description. Also, upload a logo for your brand. The image should be a square .png, .jpg, or .gif, optimally a transparent 200x200px graphic.

Finally, enter the URL where you’d like to send users who click to learn more. Name your ad and select “Save and Continue” to create your campaign. Now, your campaign will launch and begin running once ads have gone through AdWords’ approval process.

Viewing Performance Data

Once your campaign is launched, you’ll be able to view performance in the AdWords interface as you would with other types of campaigns. Note that you should link your AdWords account and YouTube channel for more complete data, such as seeing completion percentage rates on video views. Use the “Placements” tab to view data on where ads appeared and exclude any unwanted placements.

If you have video assets for your business or clients, considering testing a portion of ad spend toward outstream video ads. A good starting point could be remarketing to previous website visitors for a tightly defined audience. Watch the data and measure how it performs compared to other formats, considering both awareness factors as well as conversion.

More Information on Outstream Video Ads

What are your thoughts on outstream video ads and their effectiveness compared to other video ad formats? Have you tested them yet? Let us know in the comments below!