Google's Outstream Ads Push Mobile Reach Beyond Video Players

By Tinuiti Team

Google quietly launched a new video AdWords campaign format this month called Outstream ads, which brings responsive, native video to the mobile web and apps on Google’s Display Network.outstream video ads

The new ad unit can play in between paragraphs of text on a webpage, within mobile applications, and on the mobile web — all without requiring YouTube’s embedded player.

Users can interact with these ads and scroll through them when reading an article, using an app, or browsing a store on the web. AdWords advertisers can use this new ad unit to increase their reach potential and brand awareness.

“I don’t think Outstream ads are the game-changer some are making it out to be. AdWords already offers the option to include partner sites in your video targeting, but the new Outstream campaigns do give the ability to isolate those placements and potentially show up in more native placements, so that’s exciting.”

-Lewis Brannon, Paid Search Manager, CPC Strategy

What are Outstream video ads?

To best understand what Outstream is, let’s take a quick look at what it isn’t.

In-stream video, like the popular TrueView or Bumper ads, require a YouTube video placement in order for them to play. These ads units exist within a video player.

Outstream, however, brings video outside of YouTube, allowing them to play natively (and responsively) within a particular webpage or application  — no video player required.

Google defines Outstream asadwords outstream video ads :

A video ad served outside of a video player, often between paragraphs of text, typically without sound. Interstitials, Native, and In-Feed are types of outstream video. The autoplay silent video on Facebook is a good example of outstream.

For those advertising on AdWords, this is a fundamental shift in capability. Advertisers will now be able to greatly expand the reach of their videos to placements that were previously unavailable.


Lewis Brannon says,

“The big difference is that Outstream ads can appear in places that aren’t video players, so presumably the ads are more ‘native’ in the sense that they will surface in new places that they didn’t surface before (like embedded in articles between text, etc.).”

What Can AdWords Advertisers Gain From Outstream?

Outstream ads have the potential to greatly increase the reach of your video ads across the mobile web and mobile apps on Google’s partner network.

Advantages of Outstream ads:





Outstream allows more placements, however, the audience targeting remains the same as In-Stream campaigns.

“Outstream gives advertisers the ability to surface video ads in more diverse locations on publisher websites, the ability to isolate web video placements into 1 campaign and bid/budget separately from YouTube. The set-up and audience targeting are almost the same as a In-Stream campaigns, so there’s no targeting advantages.”

How Outstream Video Works

Google designed this ad format exclusively for mobile apps and the mobile web. Here are some technical specifications advertisers should know about:


google adwords campaign create outstream ads


What is the cost for Outstream video ads?

The cost for Outstream ads are based on impressions.

Here’s what Google says regarding the cost for Outstream,

You’re charged for outstream ads based on viewable cost-per-thousand impressions (vCPM). You’ll only pay if your ad is viewable. An ad counts as “viewable” when 50% of the ad screen space is visible for two seconds or more of continuous video play.

Lewis Brannon says that a CPM-based cost structure could be important for some advertisers,

“Another key difference is that you bid on a CPM basis (Target CPM as opposed to Cost per View [CPV]). The CPM bidding option could be important for advertisers who prefer to bid based on cost per 1,000 impressions as opposed to per view. This indicates that Google views these ads are more useful for building brand awareness than for driving actions.”


The Big Picture: Video Proliferation Beyond YouTube

In many ways, video represents the future of digital marketing. More users are consuming content on mobile devices than ever before, and much of that time spent in apps or on the web is watching video.

Outstream video ads are another step into tomorrow’s video-centric world:


Lewis Brannon says,

“I think it shows Google’s response to the proliferation of video advertising platforms and video ad networks. They’re trying to address a need to go beyond just YouTube as the primary placement for video ads. This is Google’s attempt to offer an alternative option to smaller and medium advertisers to experiment with video ads outside of YouTube.”



Want to know more about Google’s AdWords video formats?

Check out our post on how you can use TrueView To Drive Users From YouTube To Your Retail Website.

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