3 Video Ad Strategies From The Top Publishers

Updated on: January 5, 2024
Are you looking forward to increasing your Video ad revenue? Here is an article with the best Video Ad Strategies of top publishers that you may want to try!

6 in 10 advertisers are investing in videos to build brand awareness and gain a competitive advantage. As a result, publishers (we believe you, too) have embraced video formats to support growing advertisers’ demand for video inventories. 72% of publishers say that video ads drive higher revenues for their business compared with other formats.

But the results can differ from expected if you place the videos inefficiently. Such video ads can be disruptive and increase page load time. Thus, you need to spend a little more time to identify ideal video ad placements and implementing different video strategies. Here are some examples to help you get started. 

Vice Media’s Video Ad Formats

Let’s see how Vice Media is growing engagement and revenue with different video ad formats. In Q3 2019, Vice Media’s video ad revenue grew by 120% globally and video CPMs jumped b/w 10% – 20% (Src). How did the publisher make that happen?

Vice Media’s ‘Watch’ is a perfect example of a landing page that is solely focused on videos (attracting traffic, conversions, etc.). As the page is tailored to the videos only, it’s well optimized to implement more robust video ad strategies, and this consequently generates more revenue.

The publisher allows advertisers to embed their video ads and lets them choose the ad layout that works best for them and the audience, whether that means implementing a pre-roll ad or a series of mid-roll video ads to capture users’ attention. 

Some ads are 30 seconds long and unskippable, while others are 90 seconds long and skippable. By delivering the optimal video ad length and right ad content to match the video content, Vice Media significantly increases the time-in-view duration and click-through rates.

Further, the publisher is leveraging the out-stream video ad format that powers the advertisers to place their video ads inside articles without hosting the video content. Here’s an example:

Video Ad on Vice Media

The ads are 6 sec – 10 sec long, and the user can play or pause that. In addition, Vice Media has implemented lazy-loading to mitigate the impact of these out-steam video ads on page speed and provide an optimal user experience. For mobile users, video ads take over the user’s viewport in order to maximize viewability. 

Video Ad on Mobile (Vice Media)


For getting started with video advertising, having video content is not mandatory. You can start with out-stream video ads and engage with the audience. Page position matters, but it isn’t always the best indicator of viewability because not all above-the-fold ads are viewable. 

So, analyze the layout of your website, use data-driven methods to find the best ad placement, and then create a video ad strategy. Implement smart loading video ad strategies such as lazy loading to ensure that the ads at the right time and also don’t affect the page loading speed.

The New York Times Video Ads Strategy

The publisher finds more opportunities to couple video with its editorial content, and this makes videos one of the most important parts of The New York Times’ ad strategy. Back in 2013, when video advertising was nascent, the publisher charged the advertisers anywhere between $25 and $40 for video (pre-roll ads) on its website (Src). And for premium video ads, advertisers had to pay $50.

“We are able to command a premium and sell a vast majority for it. Our challenge is making enough to satiate video and consumer demand for it.”

– Meredith Kopit Levien, Advertising Representative, The NYTimes (Src)

Wondering what ‘premium’ means? The New York Times defines the premium inventory based on the type of video ad (pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll, or out-stream), size of the video player, viewability, and engagement rate of content.

For video advertising, the video player is crucial. And the larger the size of the player, the higher the eCPM of the video ad. As of today, the publisher has a video player that is 4x larger than the previous one and aims to run ads that cover the NYTimes’ homepage from edge to edge.

NYTime Video Ad Player

“Video has grown on an aggressive upward track, which is why we continue to invest in it. The big player is a commitment to that investment and belief in the video.”

– Rebecca Howard, General Manager of Video, The NYTimes (Src)

The 15-second ads are non-skippable and contextually relevant, users can pause/play the pre-roll video ad accordingly. Also, The Times’ video content team, instead of creating new video content every time, reuses old video content in the articles in order to boost the revenue with the existing content. 

“As long as you’re upfront about what the video is, viewers really embrace it. That has been a very effective tactic for us, and it’s a great way we can use our library.”

– Bruce Headlam, Managing Editor for Video, The NYTimes (Src)


Video player size matters. As said earlier, the larger the player, the higher the ad viewability. Hence, eCPM and ad revenue. But, viewability can be higher for web videos when you emphasize the player size and serve the ads at the best location. Besides, the video supply is lesser than the demand, as said by the publisher. And this increases the CPMs of video ads.

Viewability Rate of Video Players

The Washington Post’s Video Ad Strategy

The Washington Post has been doing video advertising for over seven years. However, instead of running common ad formats, The Post leverages its proprietary video ad service known as FlexPlay. By using this, the publisher enables the advertisers to run their custom video ads anywhere on desktop or mobile devices. 

While this might sound generic, what makes the video ads different is their ‘vertical alignment’. Inspired by Snapchat’s vertical format, The Post requires video creative assets from advertisers. And then, The Post’s team converts the assets into different formats to make them perfect for desktop and mobile.

“The technology we built was out of convenience to help our advertisers and brands enter a creative realm that otherwise would be hard for them to get into,” 

– Jarrod Dicker, Head of Ad Products, The Washington Post (Src)

Vertical video ads have become a core part of The Washington Post’s video ad strategies. The publisher has also launched its own vertical video player to define new ad opportunities for advertisers.


Vertical video ads are becoming prevalent on mobile devices as visitors (especially millennials) consume more content on their smartphones. Not only can you serve such ads on mobile devices, but you can also run such ads in the half-page vertical position for desktop users, just like The Post does. Creating your own video player provides better control over the video content. So, if your current video player doesn’t match your website layout and fulfill your demands, you can build a player by using the open-source platform, Video.JS. However, it requires technical expertise. So, make sure you’ve enough tech resources and skills.

Closing Thoughts

To find an ideal video ad placement, you need to look at various factors such as page location, video player size, ad size, the context of the page, and so on. That’s why we’ve put together the most up-to-date insights on video advertising from a few top brands, so you can decide to start and find the right video placements for your website. If you’re still confused, reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to address your questions.

For more content like this and learn about the unique growth strategies of top publishers, visit our Becoming series today!

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