Thought Leadership

How Programmatic Powers Interstitial and Rewarded Video Ads

May 26, 2020
By Sambit Patnaik

Digital Video in Demand

More audiences today are watching video online: Some estimations say that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017. 

Meanwhile, an increasing number of viewers are watching video content across devices, particularly in apps on mobile phones. This is not coincidental: there are currently 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide; 187 million of them are mobile video viewers in the US alone. With more audiences watching videos online, advertisers are looking to reach them where they are. To improve buyer outcomes and reach target audiences at scale, media providers are now strategically pairing interstitial and rewarded video formats with programmatic delivery to greater effect. 

The Value of Interstitial Video

With interstitial video ads, the video ad plays as a full-screen overlay, covering the page’s editorial content. The ads are designed to appear at natural transition points on the page, such as when a user enters a new site or is between levels of a game. The upside to media owners is that interstitial ads can be run against anything from digital games, to audio players, quizzes, image galleries, and across devices. For advertisers, interstitial ads are highly valuable as they offer maximum viewability, appearing directly on the user interface and covering any competing content. Interstitial ads also command 100 percent of voice: ads are not only seen but heard.

Rewarded Video Captures Audiences

Rewarded video are opt-in ads that usually range between 15-30 seconds, are non-skippable, and give rewards to users who watch a video to completion. Popular in the gaming world, rewards are often an alternative to in-app purchases (IAP), such as extra lives, coins, or unlocking higher game levels. Rewarded video doesn’t disturb the user experience as they don’t pop up, and audiences choose to view them. Consequently, the format has very high completion rates. Users are also likely to favor them over other ad formats: 75 percent of consumers prefer rewarded video ads. Marketers also achieve value from the non-skippable feature of this format: users see the entire video ad. On the publisher side, rewarded videos can increase retention rates and provide ongoing app interaction.

The Power of Programmatic

With the precision and scale of programmatic advertising, video ad buyers can achieve more accurate audience targeting and wider campaign distribution simultaneously. The measurement tools, tailored deal types, and video support offered by partners such as Rubicon Project further enable marketers to track performance and bid on the most relevant audiences at the most timely moments. It’s no surprise then that to maximize efficiency and ROI of digital video, more video ad budgets are moving programmatically: this year, US marketers will spend $27.23 billion on programmatic video, accounting for 47.5 percent of all US programmatic digital display ad spending.

Ultimately, with more audiences watching digital video content across devices, marketers are looking to reach targeted audiences across video platforms in one cohesive ad buy. While it’s still early, programmatic deals for rewarded and interstitial video are enabling publishers to better monetize their inventory, and helping marketers to reach targeted audiences in a less disruptive way at scale. While video delivery can be complex, Rubicon Project is committed to making it easier for our buyers and sellers by fully supporting all video formats in our premium marketplace. 

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