Video Essentials

When to Use Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, and Outstream Video Ads: YuMe

Depending on a brand’s goals, going with pre-rolls, mid-rolls, or outstream video ads might be the best way to go. A study from online video advertising company YuMe and marketing and advertising company IPG Mediabrands sheds light on how to use each effectively. Their results are part of a report called “Ad Format Revolution: Navigating the New Digital Video Landscape.”


Unskippable pre-roll ads, which appear before videos viewers have chosen to see, are the stars of this report. That’s because 54 percent of viewers find pre-rolls engaging, compared to 44 percent for mid-roll and 37 percent for outstream. In ad recall tests, pre-rolls far outperformed the others.

The report says pre-rolls are less likely to be considered an interruption than other ad types, and consumers are more likely to accept watching a pre-roll as a fair value exchange.

“Pre-roll is by far the most established format for digital video ads, and it’s clear from the survey results that consumers remain most comfortable with it,” says Mireya Arteaga, research lead at YuMe. “In fact, consumers rated pre-roll as the last interruptive ad format across all devices. For mobile, only 17 percent of mobile device users felt the ad interrupted the content they were viewing, which is quite low compared to 72 percent on mid-roll. We also found that 54 percent of viewers found pre-roll on mobile engaging, which also helps to explain its high recall. The findings speak to the desired experience that consumers want while consuming content, which is one that is the least interruptive.”


Mid-roll and outstream ads are effective, but should be used in the right situations. Mid-rolls, which sit in the middle of a video the user has chosen to watch, are especially good at communicating brand messages on larger computer screens or TVs. They’re also more likely to be seen as novel on those displays.

“Mid-roll was shown to be most effective on larger screens where it can mimic a TV-like experience, which speaks to consumer familiarity with this type of experience wherein ads regularly appear at intervals throughout a program,” Arteaga notes.

Outstream Video Ads

While outstream video ads—which sit between blocks of text in an online article and typically autoplay—have their uses, be careful with them. The report warns that they’re less tolerated than the others (more viewers wanted to close them immediately) and actually reduce purchase intent when viewed on computers. However, outstreams are viewed much more positively when used for branded content. Viewers see branded outstream ads as more engaging, informative, and relevant.

For more information, including best practices for each ad type, download the full report (registration required).


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  1. As the Founder & CEO of I can tell you that many publishers like outstream for a couple of main reasons. First, they are not 100% fill, so publishers are not displaying these ads to every single user, so by displaying the unit to about 20-30% of users they are getting a significant bump to RPM due to the high CPMs in video. Also, most don’t have a way to access video ads since they do not produce video and can’t sell in-stream. Lastly, they don’t need to dedicate any real estate on the page like they have to for banners or other units, so they can implement outstream ads quickly without having to change layout.

    Posted by HC | July 31, 2017, 1:51 pm
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