Table of Content

What is Video Advertising and Why Is It Important?

Table of Content

Everyone watches online videos in one form or another today. The rise of digital media, smartphone use, and improved internet speed and coverage has led to a boom in video advertising. It has become one of the most popular ways to reach online audiences and is likely to dominate for years to come. However, video advertising is not guaranteed to bring success without marketers knowing more about it and how to pull off effective campaigns.

What is video advertising?

Video advertising is the process whereby brands display promotional content to the millions of people who watch videos today. Video advertising allows them to reach consumers through a wide range of video formats, working across multiple devices and channels. The ads play at different times and use various targeting methods.

How viewers interact with video ads is constantly changing and the length and placement of the ads keep changing too in order to make them most effective. Viewers can even experience a variety of different forms of advertising while consuming a single piece of content. This is why marketers have to be careful to create relevant ads and place them in a minimally disruptive way. The best content for video ads will depend on the context in which viewers are exposed to them and the amount of attention they are likely to pay to them.

Video formats

There are many different formatting options when it comes to video advertising. The most common video formats are the following:

Linear video ads: Pre, mid and post-roll ads are about 15 to 30 seconds long and appear before, during and after the content. One of the key characteristics of this type of ad is that it takes over the full screen.

Interactive video ads: Interactive video ads can show up before, during or after video content. They take over the screen while they play and viewers can click and interact with the ad in various ways, such as signing up for a newsletter.

A relatively new option when it comes to interactive ads is a shoppable video ad that encourages people to buy rather than just browse. For example, when viewers see a video for a product, a link appears, allowing them to buy the item.

Overlay video ads: These ads run simultaneously with content, usually as an overlay or interactive banner. When a viewer clicks on an ad, the content pauses and the ad opens to take over the full screen. It will usually run for about 5 to 15 seconds before reducing in size or rotating to another ad.

Companion video ads: Companion ads play alongside the content and often take the form of text, display banner ads, rich media, or skins that wrap around the video content. Video viewers will see them constantly while watching a video.

Why you need video advertising?

There are many reasons why video advertising is so effective, including the ability to reach mobile users and generate more sales.

Reach mobile users

Since people love to watch videos on the go, and the number of mobile users is rising, the audience for videos and video ads keeps growing. Statistics show that people watch many short ads of around 30 seconds through to the end when viewing videos on mobile devices.

Statistics also show that millennials and Generation Z are much more likely to watch videos on social platforms using their mobile devices than to watch live TV. Viewers feel more of a connection to brands showing video ads on mobile devices than on desktops or TVs, according to Google.

Higher engagement

Video ads can engage audiences that have become blind to banner and text ads. They include movement, sound and other elements viewers find engaging, such as catchy songs. Advertising has to draw attention to work and this can be complicated today because people have short attention spans and many brands compete for attention.

Video ads are easier to consume and viewers would rather watch them than consuming advertising in other formats. The emotional connection to viewers in video ads makes or breaks them. Creative video ads that engage viewer emotions can spread very quickly and get millions of views.

Tell a brand story

Video ads help a brand to tell its story better than other formats. Storytelling often has an emotional impact and through sight and sound, viewers can make more of a connection to a product or service. Video ads can promote a sale, build a story, outline a value proposition or go into the details about products.

A video ad creates a sense of the physical existence of a business within the minds of customers which gives them leverage to help win them over. Animated video ads provide a great combination of entertainment and simplicity that can be very effective. Brands launching new products or services can tell a story about them and how their products or services address certain needs and lifestyles.

Generate sales

Effective video advertising can generate millions of views and shares in a short space of time which means the payoffs can happen quickly. Some of the big names in online marketplaces, such as Amazon, report that video ads increase the chances of a shopper purchasing an item by about 35%. Video ads help to move potential customers through all the stages of the buying funnel quickly. Forbes says video ads now make up more than 35% of all ad spending online.

Viewers who watch an explainer video about a product will often buy it after watching. More consumers are buying products online today without fears of fraud or cheating but others are still a little reluctant. Effective video advertising can present products and services in a conversational, personal way that can allay their fears and instill trust.

Improve SEO

The search engines love video and prioritize it when making adjustments to algorithms that place certain sites higher in the rankings. Distributing videos via social media, embedding them on a website page, or posting them in blogs increases the likelihood of a target audience finding them in the search results. Video ads can increase the time visitors spend on a site and the longer exposure helps to signal to search engines that a site has good content.

Use analytics

Using analytics is most important when planning future advertising campaigns. Today it is possible for marketers to get access to all kinds of statistics to inform them about how their ads are performing. They can look at average view times, click-through rates, full-screen views, likes or shares. People who find a video ad useful or interesting will usually like it and share it with followers on social media which can really increase its exposure.

Programmatic video advertising

Today many video ads are programmatic which refers to the practice of using bots to buy advertising space. Marketers give certain parameters such as clearly defining their target audience and setting a budget. The program takes the data and uses real-time bidding to display the ad to users that fit the marketer’s ideal client profile. The ad with the highest bid wins and all this takes very little time. Of course, running targeted ads that only interested people see sounds like every marketer’s dream. How effective is programmatic video advertising?


  • It uses behavioral data to find the right audience and displays super-targeted ads so it can be very effective.
  • It enables advertisers to reach across channels and serve targeted ads on desktop, mobile, and even TVs.
  • It is quick and easy to change parameters without renegotiations or lengthy meetings.
  • The algorithms do all the work if they are given enough information.
  • Reports are based on data so there’s no guesswork involved. It is possible to find out just how successful ads are and to improve them.


There are various challenges to programmatic video advertising that include:

  • What data a service relies on will influence ads effectively. If it relies on third-party metrics, this could offer a skewed view of the market and affect the performance of an ad.
  • Using ad networks may give marketers less control over where ads are shown and a loss of granularity. It is important to choose a network with a diverse portfolio.
  • Algorithms focus on bid price to help marketers reach a wider audience but marketers have to define the parameters carefully or they could end up reaching the wrong people.

The merging of traditional television and programmatic advertising is predicted to be the next big thing. There are already strong indications that Netflix is leading the way and advertisers will need to be ready as more players enter the programmatic market.


Video advertising can target a wide target audience and work on many levels. Video ads that are creative and relevant have high click-through rates and can sell many products or services. Staying ahead of the game in terms of video advertising looks like a good bet for the future.


Originally published on June 10th, 2021, updated on June 11th, 2021
The Blog

What is Video Advertising and Why Is It Important?

by Simi time to read: 6 min