Video ads are an important part of media’s digital offering

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


The impact of online video is really interesting. I know of no other content format that has seen so much success in recent years.  

Video is very much the immediate “go-to” medium for education, information, and entertainment for users globally. That is why media owners and marketers began using video for chiefly branding purposes. Video has even helped many brands in their decision-making.  

Research shows 59% of business executives prefer video to written content, which is why many advertisers are prioritising the medium.
Research shows 59% of business executives prefer video to written content, which is why many advertisers are prioritising the medium.

Video advertising research

Indeed, recent industry surveys have shown that 59% of decision-makers in the business world generally prefer video to written content. Similarly, a big 90% claim video has helped them decide on purchasing a product. 

These figures show how effective video has become for developing an advertising strategy in today’s burgeoning digital world. And it doesn’t stop there. There are some more amazing inferences from Wyzowl in its annual State of Video Marketing survey, 2021 (see link below for full story under “Further Reading”): 

  • Video remains a key priority for marketers with usage and spend both, overall, increasing in 2021 and plans to increase again in 2022.

  • People are watching more video online than ever before: The amount of online video they watch has almost doubled since 2018.

  • Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding.

  • Consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands and are excited to see even more video content in the year ahead.

Out of all the types of videos available, so-called “instream” and “outstream” video ads have thus far proved to be the most effective at growing business. Consequently, advertisers are likely to continue investing in online video, and the data supports that. 

The video ad market saw, for example, U.S. advertisers spending 39% of digital video ad budgets on native formats in 2020 (source: IAB). And as marketers continue to search for more creative ways to increase their ad revenue, video advertising tech is bound to keep developing, too. 

At present, users consume most video content on their smartphones, but not all mobile video is the same. That is why we need to bring in specific factors to boost video ad performance.

The best way for media companies to monetise their video advertising is to use instream and outstream video ads. But in deciding which of these two is best, there are very specific differences between the two, which you need to understand. I gave an in-depth explaination here.

Video advertising lessons from the field

As lead on the INMA Advertising Committee, I recently chaired a meeting on the subject of video advertising. Here are the key points that emerged from the committee members (who represent some of the world’s major media companies):

Which video strategy are you pursuing and what can you share about your experiences so far?

Latha Rao Cheney, senior vice president of sales, MediaNews Group, USA: Outstream. But beginning to work on instream, too. Certain verticals have done better than others. Healthcare, Education, 360 virtual tours. Why Instream? Convenience, feedback from editorial, number of ad units allowed on the page, viewability, page-load speeds. But primarily it’s about the user experience. Much is based on client analytics and what they require from us. We have focussed firstly on what we believe to be the low-hanging fruit.

Members of the INMA Advertising Committee share their video advertising strategies.
Members of the INMA Advertising Committee share their video advertising strategies.

Scott Tyner, vice president of revenue development and strategy at McClatchy, USA: There is a big demand there from advertisers. For us, it’s all about the user experience from the consumer point of view. However, finding enough inventory is the issue. There is not enough volume out there currently to sustain a strong enough advertising play against the available inventory. We’ve had vertical strategies around sports, travel, etc., where we’ve used live-streaming platforms, Facebook et al, more from a sponsorship angle, where we’ve been able to sell it differently. But it takes a lot of resources to build an audience base to make it scalable. 

Partha Sinha, president, Times of India Group, India: We are a media company who have owned assets such as their own news TV company and streaming platforms. That makes things far easier. We are able to combine and bundle the whole thing … newspaper, Web site, streaming services, etc. We can be flexible regarding that bundling in terms of what’s included including video. We are structured a little differently due to our presence in other media. Clients are asking us for video. Virtual walk-throughs are becoming very popular. AR and AI, too. Very often we bundle all this with our print ads. Brand safety is a real subject. We always tell our customers that we operate a curated, trusted, brand safe video environment. At times we can charge a premium for that.

Pete Doucette, chief revenue officer, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA: Not a physical strategy at present. Too early for us. But we build video content around virtual events, and we are trying to figure out what a content model looks like presently. We have focused on outstream as we could get things up and running fairly quickly, and the user experience is good. We are using third parties where we could simply grab something off the shelf (and get going). So far, the CPMs are good, too, but scale is the issue for now.

Tracy Day, managing firector/sd products and innovation, The Globe and Mail, Canada: Not enough inventory at present. We do have our alliance partners globally: a number of key Web sites where we sell the Canadian inventory like The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, etc. This was set up about seven years ago to expand our network. We also work with the likes of Disney, ESPN, Hearst. We get video from them, but even with that, there is so much demand it sells out quickly. I know there are third-party softwares companies out there that, for example, take a news story and make videos out of photos, but that can sometimes not look great. But we are aware.”

And what about the future? What developments in video are you seeing or anticipating?

Tyner of McClatchy: “There is some interesting AI tech out there where we can use content consumption to start understanding reading behaviours. And then we can start to create video (for logged-on users) using AI, incorporating voice over tech. Things like that will continue to advance, with less reliance on newsroom reporters or the publishing side to produce content. Presently it all still feels quite clunky and obvious it’s been generated by a bot, but this will change. Also, we should look at the likes of TikTok and what they are doing with user-generated video content. There are some interesting developments there. Brand safety will be the issue though going forward to consider … content that doesn’t create legal issues. Finally, I would ask, could this be an opportunity for including video in our e-papers? Pre-, post- or mid-roll video. Is it food for thought? Dynamic opportunities should be available. It would give a much better user experience on e-papers. I guess it’s at least partly about what resources you want to put on to this area.

Rao Cheney of MediaNews Group: We also see a surge in programmatic video. There is a big opportunity to grow this. 

If you’d like to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter, INMA members can do so here.

About Mark Challinor

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.