In-Stream or In-Banner: What You Need to Know

Amrita Hemdev
By Amrita Hemdev
August 22, 2018

Despite the rapid growth of digital video advertising, advertisers and marketers are still learning how to use the medium most effectively.


An updated report from eMarketer shows that digital video ad spending will increase by double-digit percentages annually between 2018 and 2021, topping $26 billion by the end of that period.




Each year brings new formats, devices, platforms, ways of transacting video ads, and new best practices.

  • Some of the best practices shared by industry experts in early 2017 continue to be top of mind, including focusing on short ads, front-loading branding elements, using detailed targeting criteria, and making ads contextually relevant to the space around them.
  • Connected TV advertising will be a big focus for 2018. The audience is primed and ready, the devices are numerous and increasingly sophisticated, and there are multiple content platforms to support the ecosystem.

We recently explored the benefits of over-the-top (OTT) digital video advertising. In this post, we’ll review everything you need to know about in-stream and in-banner digital video ads, including what they mean, the differences between the two, why they matter, and which medium is used when during your digital advertising campaign.


Video ads turn viewers into fans and fans into new customers. However, advertisers are just beginning to uncover the power of digital video advertising.

There was much speculation about how to utilize digital advertising — specifically for video. Is it pre-roll or OTT? How does in-banner video work? Is that a viable alternative? Here at ZypMedia we've worked with and recommend both in-stream and in-banner video. Let’s deep dive into what they are and how can you use them as a part of your digital strategy.


What are in-stream video ads?

The IAB digital video glossary defines in-stream video as:

“An ad played before, during or after the streaming video content that the consumer has requested (pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll). These ads cannot typically be stopped from being played (particularly with pre-roll). This format is frequently used to monetize the video content that the publisher is delivering. In-Stream Video Ads can be played inside the short or long-form video and rely on video content for their delivery. There are four different types of video content where in-stream may play: UGC (User Generated Content/Video), Syndicated, Sourced, and Journalistic. In-Stream Video Ads are displayed within the context of streaming video content.”

Pre-roll ads are shown before a video’s content. Mid-roll ads appear between the beginning and end of a video, more as commercials. Post-roll ads are shown once a video has finished in its entirety.

Brands with good in-stream video ads are rewarded with views, shares, and increased brand awareness.




Here are some tips for advertisers to run the most impactful campaigns with in-stream video ads:

Keep it short

Although more native, in-stream video ads still disrupt content that a user wants to consume, so it’s wise to respect their time and keep your ads short, entertaining, and compelling. Fifteen seconds appears to be an optimal length for digital video creative in the pre-roll position. Five-second spots usually have trouble conveying a message; while 30-second spots risk turning off a viewer, who is waiting to watch something else.

In-stream video ads are not TV

TV, mobile, and desktop are different devices, used for different purposes. So repackaging TV ads into in-stream video ads is not advised. Partnering with an excellent digital video ad partner and tailoring your content to the right audience, platform, and device you’re targeting will help you be more successful.


Go where the eyeballs are

To get the most from your in-stream video ad investment, use an audience-based targeting approach for buying ads and platforms with targeting capabilities and advanced metrics to track and target your digital campaigns better.


What are in-banner video ads?

In-banner video advertising is well known amongst marketers and advertisers, and is something that is seen quite regularly. In-banner advertisements are video-embedded banner ads, which appear on a variety of websites. They usually follow standard IAB banner sizes (including 728×90, 160×600, and 300×250, for example).

Adding video to traditionally static banner ads lets you engage viewers with visually impactful content right away. You can boost brand awareness — even if viewers don’t click through like in a display ad.

The beauty of in-banner ads is that they don’t interrupt the user’s online experience. Instead, they appear subtly on the sidebar or on the top of search results. In-banner ads don’t force the user. They give them a choice to click or not to click. In-banner ads are considered less intrusive; therefore, they are more suited for brands that want to promote awareness.

The placement of in-banner ads is highly dependent on the keywords of a user’s search query. This gives advertisers the power to deliver ads to the most relevant audience or potential consumers.




To sum up briefly:

A pre-roll video ad is an ad shown to the viewer while he/she is about to start the video they would like to stream. Whereas, an in-banner video as is simply a banner ad displayed on a website that your viewer is browsing through and starts playing when the viewer clicks on it.

We love pre-roll for its quick turnaround time (have video, will launch!) and guaranteed video views. We like in-banner for its flexibility (video content anywhere, anytime). Both are significant use cases for targetability.


Choosing the right video ad for your business

When it comes to deciding which digital video ad format is the most suitable one for your business, consider your digital advertising campaign goal.

If your goal is to increase visibility, brand awareness, reach, or engagement, you should be using in-stream video placement. That’s because this ad type is offered for each of those specific objectives: Video Views, Brand Awareness, Reach, and Post Engagement. Audience-based buying and targeting tools make it easy to deliver relevant, user-initiated ads to the right audience. That makes in-stream video ads great for boosting brand awareness.

Pre-roll digital video performs well at top-of-the-funnel attributes such as unaided brand awareness and online ad awareness, while in-banner digital video ad placements are more successful at positively impacting bottom-of-the-funnel image and persuasion measures.


Why does it matter?

Being able to offer your clients multiple options for getting their brand and products in front of potential consumers is all about choices. That means knowing the ins and outs of digital video advertising. There’s also far more to video advertising online than one might think. For example, many video ads are far more effective when they are placed against corresponding content, so you need to know where to find that content and how to get the ads placed there.

Providing your clients with a variety of ways to show their digital video ads to their target market is essential in enabling your clients to reach their consumers most efficiently.

Video ads are a perfect way to make personal connections with potential and existing consumers and facilitate brand loyalty.

Digital video has proven to be very engaging, and digital advertisers and marketers like you should be looking for additional ways to increase ad engagement, brand awareness, and reach. Our digital video ads empower you to accomplish all three. Not sure how to reach your potential customers and make a lasting impression via digital video ads? We can help!

ZypMedia specializes in local digital advertising. We can help you place your digital video ads in front of today’s mobile-engaged audience while helping you drive sales and generate a positive ROI. Our team of analysts keeps a human eye on the performance of your campaign throughout its lifecycle to make sure it stays on track to reach your goal. Reach out to us to find out how.


Picture of Amrita Hemdev

Amrita Hemdev

Amrita is an inbound marketer. She studied marketing and project management at UC Berkeley and proceeded to work in a fast-paced, digital advertising tech startup, with a goal of increasing brand awareness. She is currently the Content Marketing Specialist at ZypMedia. Passionate about digital marketing and having six years of experience in this field, she also started her digital marketing and creative agency, Sociato, based in India.