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In-Stream Video Ad

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We need to build a unit that replaces the current video interstitial (we call it the “foreplay”), and acts as a “platform” video solution - independent of our own editorial video programming.




Slack: Monetization-team

PM: Lauren / Price / Ryan

Design: Dustin + Etele

Front-end: Janos

Back-end: Likely N/A

Estimated completion time:

Target prototype date: 9/14

Product / Design description:

We want to create an opportunity for our clients to run video advertising outside of the current foreplay experience or video pre-roll.


We do not want to create an interstitial, overlay or pre-roll – the longstanding standard offerings for media video products - but we do need to meet client expectations that the video is “user initiated”.

The market for experiences like this continues to evolve, and we can take inspiration from recent executions of major players (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram), as well as ad-tech solutions in market (Genesis, Adcade, Google).


Technical Requirements:

VAST compliant: The Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) provides a standard XML-based ad response for in-stream video for on-demand video players where the ad response is parsed prior to play. (Link to IAB Definition) 


The video impression is delivered within a content consumption experience - it’s not at the very bottom of the page or an interstitial between two views.

The solution should be platform/device agnostic.

We should consider VPAID compliance as well, allowing for rich interactions inside the video experience (Link to IAB Definition of VPAID, and its benefits)


MVP for Video Player:

- Integrated with JW Player

- Placement in slot 9 on home pages where ads are enabled

- Full-width of content column

- Lazy load it based on user’s movement down the page (potentially when they reach slot 6)


- Video begins playing when it is 20% scrolled into view.

- Mouse over for animated embiggening of unit on desktop

- Var 1: Mouse over for three seconds to turn on sound desktop, sound should fade in. Var 2: Click to play sound.


- Var 1: Move mouse off of video to turn off sound, sound should fade out, video play continues Var 2: Click to disable sound.

- Play ends when video is scrolled 80% out of view or when user clicks to pause

- The player itself should have an advertising label that’s consistent with our treatment of the story-page 300x250 on mobile. (See Note 1 at bottom of page).


Out of consideration:

No full-width.

No hover required to start play.

Competitive Considerations:


Premium Video Ads are designed for advertisers who want to reach a large audience with high-quality sight, sound and motion. Each 15-second video ad will start playing without sound as it appears on screen and stop if people scroll past. If people tap the video, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start. People can expect to begin seeing these new ads over the next few months.



Once you tap the video, sound will turn on and the video will continue to play in an expanded view. If you turn the video to landscape mode, the sound will automatically turn on and the video will expand to fill the screen.


Other Publishers:

So far, the publishers using autoplay video ads don’t seem too eager to make life difficult for their readers. Both Reuters and Slate mute their autoplay ads by default, only playing the audio when users mouse over the ads for three seconds.


A few working examples from Etele are here: (they are wonderful!)



Provide enough “user-initiated” views that we can account for all inventory currently served by the foreplay (500k/day when max. sold)



User initiations

Users who reach five seconds (reaching Youtube’s standard for trueview)

Engineering description:

QA Testing Doc:

Note 1:

Helping build delightful tools for delightful people.

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