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Video Advertising: What’s the Difference Between Linear, Non-Linear, and Companion Video Ads?

Video Advertising: What’s the Difference Between Linear, Non-Linear, and Companion Video Ads?

Is video a part of your business’s advertising strategy? According to a HubSpot report, approximately four in five consumers recall viewing a video ad in the past 30 days. You can create engaging video ads that highlight the benefits of your business’s products or services. When creating them, however, you’ll need to choose the right type.

Not all video ads are the same. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has defined three different types including linear, non-linear, and companion video ads. Whether you’re creating video ads for YouTube, Facebook or any other online channel, you may have the option of choosing one of these types.

What Are Linear Video Ads?

What Are Linear Video Ads?

Linear video ads appear before, during or after another video. You’ve probably encountered them when watching videos on YouTube. Some YouTube videos may play instantly after you select them, whereas others may only play after a linear video ad.

Most video ads are linear. They are paid, promotional videos that appear within the video player. Linear video ads consist of pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll video ads. Pre-roll video ads appear before another video. Mid-roll video ads appear during another. Post-roll video ads appear after another video.

Post-roll video ads are skippable, but pre-roll and mid-roll video ads may or may not be skippable. Skippable means that viewers aren’t forced to watch them. Rather, they allow viewers to skip them. Viewers can click the skip button so that the main linear video ad is replaced with the main video.

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What Are Non-Linear Video Ads?

What Are Non-Linear Video Ads?

Non-linear video ads appear concurrently with another video. In other words, viewers will see them while watching the video.

According to the IAB, non-linear video ads may consist of overlays or product placements. Overlay video ads appear over another video. A typical overlay video ad may consist of a 450 by 50 pixel banner at the bottom of the video player.

Overlay video ads only consume a small portion of the video player, so viewers will see them while watching the video. And like other banners, they are usually images.

Product placement video ads are exactly what they sound like: ads for products. Product placement video ads appear within another video. They consist of banners of products related to the videos with which they are used. Clicking a product placement video ad will typically take viewers to the e-commerce page for the featured product.

What Are Companion Video Ads?

What Are Companion Video Ads?

Companion video ads are displayed alongside another video and outside of the video player. While they are considered in-stream video ads — just like linear and companion video ads — they aren’t actually videos.

There are different formats in which you can create companion video ads. For YouTube, you can create them in static image formats as well as animated Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

Animated GIFs are similar to videos. While static images consist of a single frame, animated GIFs consist of multiple frames, resulting in video-like animation.

YouTube supports static image formats and the animated GIF format for companion video ads. Regardless of the format, companion video ads appear in the top-right corner of YouTube video pages.

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Differences Between Linear, Non-Linear, and Companion Video Ads

There are differences between linear, non-linear and companion video ads.

There are differences between linear, non-linear, and companion video ads. All linear video ads consume the full space of the video player, for instance, whereas companion video ads do not. Companion video ads will only consume a small portion of the video player’s total space, thus allowing viewers to continue watching the main video without disruption.

Companion video ads can appear with linear video ads or with non-linear video ads. Linear and non-linear video ads, on the other hand, can’t appear together. Linear video ads consume the full space of the video player, so there’s no space left for non-linear video ads.

Companion video ads don’t support video formats. They only support static image formats and the animated GIF format. They are simply known as companion video ads because they complement another video by appearing alongside it.

Non-linear and companion video ads are almost always interactive. Linear video ads, conversely, may or may not be interactive. Viewers can click non-linear video ads and companion video ads to interact with them. While some linear video ads are interactive, many are not interactive.

The length of a video ad may vary depending on its type. According to the IAB, linear video ads should have a maximum duration of either 15 seconds or 30 seconds. Non-linear video ads should either have a duration of five to 15 seconds, or they should be persistent. Persistent overlays, for example, may consist of a banner that remains at the bottom of the video player until the viewer closes it.

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Companion video ads are typically persistent, but unlike non-linear video ads, they can’t be closed. Viewers can often click companion video ads to interact with them, but viewers can’t close them.

Choosing the Right Type: What You Should Know

Choosing the Right Type: What You Should Know

You can’t go wrong with linear video ads. Whether pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll, viewers will notice them. Linear video ads will consume the video player’s space while capturing the attention of viewers.

Of the three video ad types defined by the IAB, linear is the only true video format. If you want to advertise your business with video content, you should use linear video ads. You can create linear video ads for YouTube in Google Ads, and you can create them for Facebook in Facebook Ads. Other video advertising platforms support them as well.

Even with linear video ads, you may want to experiment with other types of video ads. Non-linear video ads are effective at advertising products. You can create product placements that appear within the video player Companion video ads are effective at driving website traffic. For more website traffic, try using companion video ads with linear video ads.

Don’t limit your business’s advertising strategy to text ads. While text ads can prove worthwhile, video ads are more engaging. There are linear, non-linear, and companion video ads. Linear ads are full-size ads that appear before, during, or after another video. Lon-linear video ads are smaller ads that appear as an overlay or product placement within the video player. Companion video ads are separate image ads that are displayed outside of the video player.

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