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Video Advertising: What It Is and How It Contributes to Online Visibility

Welink Agencies

Welink Agencies

How Do I Get Started with Video Advertising? Here’s Everything You Need to Know


In the world of digital marketing, beyond text and photo content, video advertising is proving to be an increasingly powerful tool. In terms of increasing visibility and improving your business’s status online by gaining notoriety, you would benefit tremendously from implementing a video advertising strategy. Here’s all you need to know.




  1. What is video advertising?
  2. The benefits of video advertising
  3. How does video advertising contribute to online visibility?
  4. Video advertising formats
  5. The video ad serving process


1. What is video advertising?


The term “video advertising” typically refers to an advertisement that appears before, during, or after an online video stream. These are known as pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads. Much like the traditional spot advertising you may see on television, video ads appear as part of a longer unit of online content, such as a YouTube video. They are, however, usually shorter than their TV counterparts. 


Keep in mind that image or text ads that appear as part of a video stream can still be referred to as video advertisements, even though they don’t have a video format. This is the case, for example, for companion ads (see below). 


Video ads can be shown in:


  1. Web browsers (mobile and laptop devices)
  2. OTT (over-the-top) media services (such as Netflix or YouTube TV)
  3. Mobile apps


2. The benefits of video advertising


Creating video content for advertising purposes is an excellent way to get a message across to your audience effectively. As opposed to communicating via blocks of plain texts or even images, communicating via video allows you to keep your audience’s attention and keep them engaged with your brand.


This is because a video is a more fast-paced way to transmit your message compared to text - which means the viewer will be more likely to stick it out until the end. Add to this the condensed nature of short videos and you end up with an effective, valuable, and efficient way to market your product or service.


There are several ways to create a good video advertisement. Depending on factors such as your target audience’s parameters (estimated age range, interests, etc.), the nature of your product or service, and your brand identity, you can choose to target your video ads using different methods and even make them interactive.


3. How does video advertising contribute to online visibility?


By virtue of its marketing power as part of an ever-evolving digital landscape, video advertising is gradually becoming an advertiser’s preferred way of communicating with their audience. Creating and publishing video content that’s useful, informative, and relevant to your audience’s needs contributes greatly to building brand awareness and notoriety.


One of the main assets of video advertising is its ability to offer an audience a sense of proximity. Whether it’s a set of short snippets of satisfied customers relaying their experience with your product or an eye-catching montage of how your services can help customers overlayed with beautiful visuals and short blocks of text, a video ad just feels more personal than a static image or plain text.


Video advertising also allows you to polish your brand’s visual identity and subsequently distinguish yourself further from your competitors. This contributes to building brand awareness, as your audience starts to recognise your brand thanks to the distinctive creative content through which it consistently communicates. 


In this way, video advertising can significantly boost your brand’s visibility if it’s done well. The key to achieving good customer engagement is to make your brand come across as close as possible to your audience base and as in tune as possible with their needs and expectations. Video advertising allows you to do so because of its engaging and eye-catching nature as well as through the sense of proximity it’s able to create. 


4. Video advertising formats


There are three different types of video advertisements according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).


Linear video ads


Linear video advertisements are closest to TV spot ads. They appear before, during, or after a piece of video content. For example, consider mid-roll ads that interrupt a video stream and can be either skippable or unskippable.


Non-linear video ads


Non-linear video advertisements play simultaneously with the video content, in such a way that the viewer sees both at the same time. For example, consider ads that appear on the bottom of a YouTube video and that the user can close. 


Companion ads


Companion advertisements refer to text or image ads that do not affect the viewing experience. For example, consider advertisements that appear outside of the streaming screen, as part of the “related videos” list.


5. The video ad serving process


“Video Player” refers to any service on which a video can be streamed. There is a clear two-way communication and regular interaction between the player and


  • the webserver (the computer program that runs websites, e.g. Apache)
  • the publisher’s ad server: the sell-side server, used by the ad operations team to manage ads that appear on their digital platforms
  • the advertiser’s ad server: the buy-side server, used by marketers to track their ads as they appear on other digital platforms
  • the CDN or content delivery network: the distributed platform of servers whose purpose is to provide a user experience free of slow loading times by reducing the distance between user and server


In this model, the player represents an interface between the server and the user.


The process of video ad serving includes as part of this two-way communication a standardisation step that allows the ads to be played on all kinds of video players across different platforms and different devices. This is the role of what’s called the Video Ad Serving Template or VAST, a schema used in most video advertisements that standardises how ads are served and distributed across the different chains of communication in the above model. 


The distribution of a video advertisement goes as follows:


  1. The video player is visited by the user
  2. The video content is retrieved from the webserver
  3. Assuming the player supports VAST tags and can thus communicate successfully with the ad servers, it sends a VAST request to the publisher’s (sell-side) server to retrieve the video ad
  4. The publisher determines which ad will be played as well as the markup for the chosen ad and sends them to the player
  5. The player sends a VAST request to the advertiser’s (buy-side) server to retrieve the ad
  6. The advertiser’s server sends back a link that directs to the video ad
  7. The player sends a VAST request to the CDN, on which a video ad is typically hosted
  8. The CDN returns the ad file and the video ad is shown to the user 




Video advertising has been proven to be an incredibly effective and increasingly popular form of advertisement. If you’re looking to achieve significant growth in your digital marketing, increase your company’s online visibility and implement an innovative communication strategy, consider partnering with an advertising agency with a creative team that specialises in video ads.

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