How to approach video advertising

paid video advertisingOnce you have started making some videos you are proud of, you want to make sure you get your content out to your target audience as proficiently as possible. Apart from ensuring you have made the most of the many free video marketing opportunities out there, it’s worth considering paid video advertising to aid the distribution of your videos.

We find that many clients of ours are now starting to plan the distribution of their videos at the same time they are looking into the video production. This is sensible as if you do not have a plan for who you want to see your video and how you will get it in front of them then what’s the point in making it in the first place…

There are an increasing number of ways to advertise or refer users to your online video content. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Video Ad Networks and Real Time Bidding Platforms

You could consider buying advertising from a video ad network such as ScanScout,, Digital Broadcasting Group, Tremor Media or BrightRoll. Reelseo give a run down of these and other networks here.

Real Time Bidding Platforms allow ad networks to bid for the real time opportunity of getting their ad in front of a viewer based on the a number of variables in terms of the viewer’s location, interests etc.

Here is a good in depth explanation of the process.

Using an ad network can be very expensive, but if budget is no obstacle, then it is certainly worth considering.

advertiser and publisher

Direct Publisher/Portal Video Advertising

YouTube TrueView Video Ads
“Engage Your Viewers by giving them Choice”

With YouTube’s impressive statistics as the number one video hosting site in terms of traffic, it is probably a good place to start. Being owned by Google, the biggest search engine, it can only help to have your video on the site.
There are four TrueView video ad formats: InStream and InSlate as well as InDisplay and InSearch. InStream is the one where, having found the YouTube video you want to see, you have to watch 5 seconds of an ad before being able to skip it, or carry on to the end. For the advertiser, you pay only if the viewer decides to watch at least 30 seconds of the ad (or all of it if less than 30 seconds). InSlate gives the viewer the option of selecting one of a number of ads to watch in order to continue watching whatever they searched YouTube for originally, and the advertiser pays when their ad is selected.
With both ad formats you can pay for your ad to be shown when specific keywords are searched. With the number of people trawling the site, there are bound to be some relevant for your web video content, so if it is mass exposure you are looking for, YouTube is probably for you. A real numbers game which can certainly reap rewards, if you aren’t put off by the distraction of all the other ads and random videos potentially putting your target customer off, not to mention the possibility of your ad appearing next to a competitor’s, or in the middle of their video, or vice versa, which could confuse your brand messaging.

Twitter for small business

Twitter offers advertisers what they term “promoted products”, which are either so-called promoted accounts, or promoted tweets. You need to set up a twitter account first and start tweeting for a while to build up a network of followers. Hopefully you’ll be doing this already as part of your social media marketing plan. Twitter then looks at the type of followers you have already attracted and promotes you to a similar cross section that don’t yet follow you. If you choose to have a “Promoted Account” this means that Twitter will put you in the “Who to follow” area of your potential followers’ feed. If you choose to have a “Promoted Tweet”, Twitter monitors your output and promotes your best tweets to the relevant potential followers. Essentially it is about giving a boost to your best tweets, in which you can post the link to your video. You only pay when someone follows your account or engages with your promoted tweet. You decide on your daily budget and whether you want to target a specific geographical area too, which is helpful.

This has not yet been rolled out to all businesses and is still on a limited beta test. Keep an eye on the above URL for details of the complete roll out.

web video distribution

Content Discovery Sites


Outbain describe themselves as “The Leading Content Discovery Platform on the Web”
Outbrain refers people to your content by giving them recommendations based on whatever a person is already looking at. They work across news and entertainment sites only, so you need to make sure they are right for your business. You only pay per view, and recommendations to your video are posted at the times most appropriate to capture your relevant target audience. The video will need to be posted on a blog as Outbrain aggregates your RSS feed into their system and places your content on publisher sites.


“A simple tool that gets your video seen by the people you want”
This service distributes your video to relevant publishers (websites, blogs, social games, mobile applications). You set a maximum amount you wish to pay per view and then decide on demographics, location, keywords etc.
Interestingly, Virool mentions the rather poignant fact that people spend more time on video sharing sites watching viral videos than on Facebook, Twitter and CNN.

This short video explains Stumble Upon’s paid discovery service which can be effective for promoting video content.

By using their “Paid Discovery” service, you can bypass even having to wait for users to click though to your site via an ad or recommendation, instead they are delivered direct to your landing page of choice. The site works by getting to know the interests of its membership, both though which categories they tick to select, and by what they actually look at. As an advertiser, you can select which categories are relevant for your target audience and your video is placed among a selection of the best in the category. Only when your video is viewed are you charged, and you can cap the daily budget so there are no nasty surprises at the end of the campaign.

Reddit advertising

Reddit – “The Front Page of the Internet”
If you can cope with the horrible looking site, you can pay to have your video link featured in their sponsored link section. They call it “self-serve advertising” and it is fairly straight forward, though a little hit and miss in terms of how much exposure your budget will buy. You decide how much you want to spend per day, and how many days you want your ad to run. Choose whether you want it to run site-wide or in a specific reddit section, then submit the url and title of your video. The amount of traffic you get each day depends on how many other sponsors are advertising, and how much they are paying. Whatever your spend represents as a fraction of the total spend that day will be the proportion of the traffic you are exposed to. Hope that makes sense.

video content discovery

Video Distribution Services


This is another distribution service, which has some pretty impressive testimonials. According to MacWorld, “There is no better way to mass-distribute your video masterpiece”. The company is owned by TubeMogul, a video ad media buying platform, which gives it a great understanding of and power in the media buying industry. In one fell swoop you can put your video out across social networking sites, video sharing sites and other specialised sites. I personally like the fact that there are no surprises when it comes to cost, with an up front rate to pay. You can try their basic business tier service for either $75 a month (1 year contract), or $150 for a month without committing to a contract. There are also 2 other business tiers (Business Pro and Enterprise) which offer more features.

This form of video advertising relies on you have active communities on video platforms already as otherwise nobody will see your videos once they make it onto the platforms. This is more a tool to use in conjunction with some of the aforementioned advertising opportunities.

There are many more paid options for promoting your video, but you have to start somewhere. So which should you choose? Well, it depends on your budget and target audience. There’s no harm in trying all of them and comparing results if you have the budget to spare. Why not ask some of your current customers (and ideally target customers) where they watch online video and let this inform your decision. You may also find it is worth looking into services and products your target audience appreciates and looking as some kind of sponsorship situation where your video is embedded in their brand websites.

MWP are a video strategy, production and marketing company with a focus on delivering measurable results.

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2 thoughts on “How to approach video advertising

  1. Joel

    It’s a good idea – most videos do not just “Go viral” they need to be seeded and paid YouTube views is a good way to get this going.

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