Contact Us
< Back to the Blog

Embracing New Video Placement Definitions: A Path Toward Transparency and Fair Value

Mateusz Jędrocha
VP of Branding Solutions

The recent overhaul of video placement definitions marks a significant stride toward addressing the nuances that modern advertisers care about. A closer look at these changes reveals a deliberate effort to align definitions more closely with the expectations and preferences of buyers, particularly regarding in-stream and outstream video ads.

The New In-Stream Definition

Instream is considered the most desirable designation for digital video ads. Instream now exclusively refers to an ad displayed within a video player, with the sound on by default or with clear consumer intent to watch the video. This updated definition replaces the legacy in-stream definition in the placement attribute. These ads are the main focus of the page, with sound on by default (unless suppressed by the browser) or clearly demonstrated consumer intent. They can be positioned as pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll.

This move is designed to ensure that in-stream ads, typically found within video content that users have actively chosen to engage with, offer a high level of engagement and are conducive to brand messaging. In this light, in-stream placements are now more clearly defined as ads displayed within a video player where there is an explicit consumer intent to view video content, underpinned by features like a large “play” icon or a "click here to watch" prompt, ensuring the audience's engagement is by choice, not by chance.

Refining Outstream Video Ads

The categorization of outstream video ads has been refined to allow for more precise identification of placement types. This is particularly relevant for ad network formats such as those offered by Teads, which are renowned for their accompanying outstream formats. The new definitions enable buyers to distinguish more clearly between accompanying content and standalone video, facilitating a more informed comparison. Outstream ads, previously a broad category encompassing any video ad not played within a traditional video player, are now segmented into categories that account for their visibility, their autoplay features, and whether they play with sound off or on by default.

Accompanying content

Accompanying Content: These video ads play within other video content. Previously labeled as instream, the new definition clarifies that instream video is for viewers whose primary intention is to watch the video. With accompanying content, the viewer might be on the page to watch a video or read an article.

  • Can appear at the top or within the article
  • Sound off by default (recommended by the Coalition for Better Ads and IAB Gold Standard for auto-play videos)
  • Auto-plays when in view

This nuanced categorization is a significant advancement for advertisers who can now more accurately target their desired audience segments, based on the distinct characteristics of each outstream format. For platforms like Adlook that boast an extensive reach and a rich mix of video formats, the updated definitions provide a clearer framework for comparing the value and effectiveness of different types of video content.


Standalone or No Content Video: These ads are not linked to any other video content and play with the sound off by default. Previously, they were generally categorized as outstream. They can appear in-article, in-banner, in-feed, or as floating ads, without any associated video content.


These are full-screen or takeover video ads, like in-app video or slideshow placements, that play without supporting video content. They must be the primary focus of the page when playing and cannot be scrolled out of view. Interstitial ads are mostly used in-app and are always full-screen.

Leveraging New Definitions for Enhanced Strategy

The evolution of these definitions is not merely academic – it has practical implications for advertisers aiming to fine-tune their video advertising strategies. By offering a more granular view of what constitutes in-stream and outstream content, advertisers can leverage these distinctions to craft campaigns that are more aligned with their objectives, whether around maximizing engagement, reach, or brand recall.

The updated video placement definitions are not arbitrary. They are a direct response to the evolving needs and preferences of buyers in the programmatic space. These new definitions home in on characteristics that matter most to buyers – such as viewer engagement levels, content context, and ad visibility – enabling a more nuanced approach to ad placement and purchase. This evolution in categorization means that buyers can now align their purchasing strategies more closely with their campaign objectives, ensuring their ads are not only seen, but seen in the right context.

Strategizing with Precision

With clearer definitions, buyers are now better equipped to devise strategies that are both effective and efficient. This precision in planning allows for the optimization of ad spend, ensuring that budget allocations not only are strategic, but also yield the highest possible return on investment. It's a shift from a one-size-fits-all approach, to one that recognizes and leverages the unique advantages of each video placement type.

Toward Fair Market Prices

One of the most significant impacts of the new definitions is expected to be on market pricing. By delineating the value of different video placements more clearly, the market can move toward pricing models that more accurately reflect the true value of each placement. This adjustment toward fair value not only benefits buyers by ensuring they get what they pay for, but also incentivizes publishers to offer high-quality, engaging content.

Transparency and Value at Adlook

At Adlook, we've long believed in the transparency of value delivered. This principle has guided us to act swiftly in adopting the new video placement signals from their inception. Our commitment to transparency is further reflected in our Deep Learning AI models, which have been updated to evaluate bid value based on the new definitions and signals. This ensures that our bidding strategies are not only competitive, but also aligned with the intrinsic value of the placements we target.

Leading the Market Toward Transparency

We are proud to have been pioneers in recognizing and acting upon the potential of the new video placement definitions. Our early adoption is a testament to our belief in leading the market toward greater transparency and value. By integrating these new signals into our evaluation models from the start, we've set a benchmark for the industry, emphasizing the importance of adaptability and foresight in the rapidly evolving programmatic landscape.

The Call for Widespread Adoption

The benefits of the new video placement definitions and signals are manifold, but they can only be fully realized through widespread adoption. It's a call to action for all market participants to embrace these changes swiftly. The adoption of these definitions incentivizes the creation of more creative and engaging ad experiences across the open web, offering enhanced transparency to clients and elevating the overall quality of online advertising.

In conclusion, the introduction of new video placement definitions is a welcome evolution in the programmatic advertising sphere, reflecting a growing alignment between market dynamics and the strategic needs of buyers. At Adlook, we remain committed to leveraging these changes to deliver enhanced value and transparency to our clients, setting a path we hope the rest of the market will soon follow. The time for significant adoption is now – and it promises a future in which programmatic advertising is not just more efficient, but also more effective, engaging, and equitable for all parties involved.

No items found.
Market Trends
No items found.

Step into the future of online ads with us!

Stay up-to-date on the latest industry insights and trends by subscribing to our blog post email notifications.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.