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What Are Overlay Ads and Why They Are Effective

how effective are overlay ads

With the slow but steady decline of traditional advertising, many brands worldwide have been turning toward online promotion methods. But out of all the digital marketing options out there, none has proven as effective as video advertising. Although promoting your brand through video can be quite costly, there is a way for brands on a tight budget to use this medium’s popularity to grow their businesses. They can do that by making the most of overlay ads.

But why would you even use video in the first place? There are a few excellent reasons.

First, video is one of the most engaging mediums out there, which makes it a consumer-favorite. That means your ads on videos will have higher engagement rates than on other types of content.

Second, experts estimate that 80% of global internet traffic will consist of video by 2021. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering that YouTube alone has over 2 billion monthly users. But what does that mean for advertisers? That means video is the content format with the highest reach nowadays, which can translate into incredible amounts of exposure for your brand!

Last but not least, there are ways to advertise on videos without breaking the bank. That means brands of all sizes can use this medium to grow their business. 

Now let’s take an in-depth look at one of the most cost-effective ways of promoting your brand through video — overlay ads.

What Are Overlay Ads

Even if you’re here wondering what an overlay ad is, we’re sure you’ve come across them before if you’ve ever watched an online video. An overlay ad is a small banner-like ad that takes up the bottom 20% of a video’s screen without obstructing the user’s view. These ads can contain images or text, and users can interact with them or turn them off at will. Clicking on one of these ads will take users to a landing page assigned by the advertiser. 

Note: Publishers only get paid for user interactions with the ad.

Here’s a quick example of an overlay ad:

overlay ad example

These in-video overlay ads are excellent at grabbing your viewers’ attention without disrupting the user experience. That makes them one of the least-intrusive video ad formats out there.

Publishers that don’t feel overlay ads are effective enough and want to maximize their exposure can pair them with another useful ad type — companion ads.

What Are Companion Ads

Companion ads are optional banner ads that publishers can opt to display alongside their in-video overlay ads and appear on the right side of their video player. These ads will increase the likelihood of inciting user interaction. Here’s an example of what a companion ad looks like:

companion ad example

As you can see, these ads will appear above the recommended section and are significantly larger than overlay ads.

YouTube Overlay & Companion Ad Specs

Here are YouTube’s specifications for overlay and companion ad sizes and formats. Do keep in mind that these specifications are widely used across the industry, even by platforms other than YouTube. So if you are using an online video platform other than YouTube, you should aim to make your overlay ads within these parameters even if it enforces no strict limits.

Ad TypeOptional / MandatoryAd SizeFile TypeMax. File Size
Overlay AdMandatory480×70Static .GIF, .JPG, .PNG150 KB
Companion AdOptional300×250.GIF, .JPG, .PNG150 KB

Benefits of Overlay Ads

Now that you know what overlay ads are and their recommended ad specifications, let’s illustrate why overlay ads are such a potent advertising tool and when you should use them. Overlay ads excel in multiple regards:

  • They Introduce Plenty of Targeting Opportunities — By using targeting techniques like contextual targeting and behavioral targeting, publishers can deliver only the most relevant overlay ads to their users. Showing ads that coincide with your viewers’ tastes and preference helps maximize conversion rates.
  • They Offer Better User Experience — One of the biggest advantages of overlay ads over their video ad counterparts is that they don’t disrupt the user experience. These ads aren’t intrusive and even give viewers the option to turn them off, making it unlikely to prove annoying.
  • They Can Be Highly Engaging and Interactive — Overlay ads can complement the video they appear in greatly. These ads have plenty of potential to engage users or ad to their viewing experience by including polls, quizzes, tweets, or similar in the ad.
  • They Are Excellent for Building Brand Awareness — If there has ever been an effective way of building brand awareness, it’s through overlay ads! The primary reason for that is that these ads are pretty cheap, and despite not having impressive conversion rates, they’re the best way of getting your brand’s name in front of many eyes quickly.

If the above benefits were enough to convince you to give overlay advertising a shot, let’s go over a few tips to help you get started.

Overlay Ad Creation Tips

If you want to boost the impact of your overlay ads, here’s what you can do to maximize their performance:

  • Include an Eye-Catching Call to Action — Although this one should be a given, it’s still worth emphasizing. Having a compelling CTA that will get your viewers to click your ad is crucial for success. Consumers need guidance — if you don’t tell them how to act, they are unlikely to engage with your ad. So make sure your CTA is up to par!
  • Use Contrasting Colors — Another excellent way to make your CTA pop is to use contrasting colors. By doing that, you can divert your viewers’ attention from the image on the ad to the CTA, making it less likely that they miss your message.
  • Strike a Balance Between Text and Visuals — Hitting that sweet spot between text and visuals on your overlay ads is challenging but pivotal to success. If you dedicate too much space to your ad image and too little to the CTA, it might go unnoticed. But making text take up 80% of your ad will make it uninteresting to engage with. So testing a few different options and finding the perfect balance is vital! 
  • Make a Dedicated Landing Page Optimized for Conversions — Even when your viewers click your ad, your job’s not done yet. You will have to create a dedicated landing page designed specifically to convert them. Since they’ve already clicked your ad, it’s safe to assume they’re interested, so it would be a shame if your landing page were underwhelming. That could significantly impact your bottom line, and that’s something you want to avoid.

As you can see, overlay advertising can be incredibly potent. And the best part is that you don’t need much to get started!

How to Get Started With Overlay Ads

If you’re looking to get into overlay advertising, YouTube will likely be the first place to come to mind. Although we cannot argue that YouTube is a video sharing platform with incredible reach potential, it doesn’t offer the best ROI. That is particularly true for large publishers who have large followings and favor security above all else. 

That is why settling for an enterprise video platform like Brid.TV is a better solution if you have a website and wish to maximize your ad revenue. Besides having access to all the industry-standard video advertising features, you can set up in-video overlay ads in just a few steps at Brid.TV.

Implementing Overlay Ads at Brid.TV

Our user-friendly video content management system (CMS) lets publishers set up overlay ads quickly and seamlessly. Here’s how you can do it in just three steps:

Step 1. Select your website in Brid.TV CMS, click the PLAYERS tab in the left navigation bar, and create a new or select one of your existing video players. video cms screenshot 1

Step 2. Navigate to the Monetization section. video cms screenshot 2

Step 3. Click on the Overlay section in the top-right to open its window. From there, all you have to do is insert your ad tags and ensure your monetization is on, and you’re all set! video cms screenshot 3

If you don’t have a Brid.TV account yet, you can sign up for one of our plans and make one immediately! We have multiple plans in place for publishers with various needs, so you’re sure to find one that suits you.

If you’d like to try out our platform and all of its features first, send us an email and start your free premium trial today!