Understanding the Impact of IAB Tech Lab’s Revised Instream Video Standards

By Tyler Romasco in OpenX Innovations, Publishers|May 17, 2023

Understanding the IAB Tech Lab’s New Instream Video Parameters

The IAB Tech Lab has updated digital video definitions, which will have a significant impact on both publishers and advertisers. Specifically, it could reduce the amount of video that publishers can sell as instream and it will provide advertisers with greater transparency into what they are buying.

Moving Beyond Linear: The IAB’s Push for More Captive Viewing with Instream Ads

In recent years, millions of viewers have transitioned from watching linear TV to newer video channels, such as digital and CTV. The convergence of video and TV has resulted in the IAB revising their definition of instream video to better support clarity across the ad industry. 

Under the revised parameters, the IAB aims to ensure that instream ads provide a more immersive viewing experience, similar to traditional TV. Regardless of whether the video ad is a part of long-form or short-form content, by the updated definition, it needs to be a part of the core viewing experience with sound on or clear viewer intent to watch.

For example, a user visits a webpage to read an article about the New York Knicks’ playoff performance. As they scroll, a video player within the article begins to play content about the rise in online sports betting, featuring a pre-roll ad for a sports betting service. Although this video content might seem related to the Knicks and sports, it’s not directly about the Knicks’ playoff run, which is what the user originally intended to view. According to the new IAB definition, this would not be considered instream inventory. Instead, it would be classified as “Accompanying Content.”

The updated video definitions provide advertisers with more granularity and transparency into what they are buying and puts a spotlight on video in general. For savvy advertisers, there could be substantial opportunities to purchase high-quality video that may not be classified as instream (like that New York Knicks example). However, these changes may also mean additional efforts are needed for advertisers to strike a balance between CPM and performance when executing CTV and online video campaigns.

Big Business Changes: What it Means for Publishers

The key change many publishers will experience is a reduction of inventory currently defined as instream. This shift may affect overall revenue, making it more important than ever for publishers to partner with supply-side platforms with technical capabilities that can help them monetize all types of video inventory.  

Additionally, the reduction of inventory defined as instream video may drive up instream CPMs as brands compete for a smaller inventory pool. 

Ultimately, publishers will need to incorporate these market changes into their future video monetization strategies. With CPMs for non-instream video potentially decreasing, at least in the short term, publishers will need to be more creative about how they deliver value for advertisers willing to look beyond instream. 

One tactic that publishers can employ to increase the value of non-instream video inventory is to leverage advanced supply-side data-targeting capabilities. This will help advertiser’s eliminate waste within their buys and reach their desired audience. Publishers can also use contextual targeting to boost user engagement by pairing ads with relevant content. Both strategies can help publishers maximize yield while also providing advertisers with higher ROI. 

OpenX is Your Partner in Navigating These Changes

As part of an ongoing commitment to industry standardization and transparency, OpenX has implemented technical changes to support the new IAB video definitions. The new ‘plcmt’ field is currently available within the bidstream. Additionally, the team is monitoring and has begun to see publishers declaring the new field on their inventory. OpenX will continue to support the legacy placement field to accommodate all publisher partners during the transition, understanding adoption timelines will vary by organization and could be on the longer end for our publishers who have limited technical resources.

As publishers and marketers rethink their video strategies there are many ways that they both can positively impact their businesses with opportunities provided by the new IAB video definitions. Specifically, both publishers and marketers can work with OpenX to simplify the process of targeting campaigns through data-driven Deal IDs that can be activated in an advertiser’s DSP of choice. 

Reach out to our team to learn more about how we’re supporting the updated IAB Video definitions or about leveraging OpenX supply-side targeting capabilities to support instream or non-instream inventory.