Ad Standoff | Linear vs. Non-Linear Ads

Is one better than the other for publishers monetizing video?

For publishers who utilize videos on their websites, remaining non-intrusive and respectful of a user’s experience is vital for keeping them happy.

The right mix of video and content can turn into a great experience, while pushing the limits may upset certain users and hamper monetization. The first guidelines for video advertising were released by the IAB in November 2005. However, the field has evolved by leaps and bounds since then.

To make sure the environment is as optimized as possible from both monetization and usability aspects, it’s a good idea to explore different ad formats. The two primary forms of in-stream video advertising we will explore are linear and non-linear video ads.

Linear Video Ads

In linear video ads, ads take over an ongoing video before the main content is displayed. The ads comprise pre-roll, interactive takeovers, or bumper vignettes.

Liner Video Ads- the Yay

Ads that display before the main content give a user the freedom of choice. Even though early on there was a certain level of frustration with the format, users have come to appreciate the ability to skip after a few seconds, thereby creating a better video experience.

Pre-roll ads have become a handy tool for retargeting audiences. Thanks to more advanced programmatic platforms, advertising budgets are used more effectively and offer better returns. They provide publishers with the ability to ensure ad view before the content is displayed, thereby creating a more lucrative offering for advertisers.

Linear Video Ads- the Nay

In a dedicated survey of users on video ads, 24% stated that the ad’s content might decide whether they will skip the ad or watch it till the end.
If an ad isn’t intriguing enough or the experience isn’t engaging enough, a user may skip the content altogether.

Some types of liner video ads may perform better than others. A report from the University of Massachusetts found that users are at times more likely to sit through an entire mid-roll ad than watch the same ad from start to end in a pre-roll format.

Non-linear Video Ads

Non-linear ads run alongside the main content in the same player. They appear while the main content is displayed without potentially distupting it’s flow.

Non-linear Video Ads- the Yay

The ads are displayed automatically without making the user wait for the main content. They provide a user with the ability to interact with the ad (click, minimize, etc.). They may act as a continuous reminder of the product or service being advertised, thereby increasing the possibility of interaction.

Non-linear Video Ads- the Nay

They may block or cover essential information like subtitles or captions. This translates directly to a bad user experience and may cause a user to leave the site entirely.

Movement in the ad may also be distracting and discourage users from engaging further. The bad experience may diminish the brand’s reputation. Finding the sweet spot between monetization and usability is essential for making the most of incoming traffic for publishers.

Ultimately, a crucial factor in video monetization success is working with a partner that can guide you and offer the right solution to your setup. Our experts have put together a blueprint covering numerous UX aspects for publishers for video and written content. Feel free to grab your copy here.