New Outstream Mobile Adhesion Improves UX

man looking at a blog on a mobile device with outstream mobile adhesion

Editor’s Note: this post mentions autoplay settings in the Mediavine Dashboard. Autoplay options have been retired as of February 2023. See this article for more information.

The video adhesion unit is back!

Everything that’s old becomes new again, even ad technology.

Leif Lessons

  • Mediavine is excited to introduce the new and improved Outstream Mobile Adhesion, available now in your Dashboard! It stays on the bottom of the screen on a mobile device and competes against the traditional display adhesion unit. This unit plays a video ad only with no publisher content, so publishers don’t need to upload video in order to run this unit. 
  • Google AdX won’t bid on this inventory as it doesn’t currently allow “sticky” or adhesion outstream players. But rest assured we’ll be working with Google and hopefully they’ll bid on this inventory in the future. Regardless, enabling the Outstream Mobile Adhesion unit won’t impact your SEO.
  • The earnings impact from enabling Outstream Mobile Adhesion will depend on your overall video strategy. If you’re not currently running Mobile Autoplay, we’ve seen up to a 10% increase in mobile RPMs, so we recommend you enable it now.
  • If you’re currently running Mobile Autoplay, our recommendation is to enable the new Outstream Mobile Adhesion and disable Mobile Autoplay. While this could result in a small drop in mobile RPM, the huge improvement in user experience offers much greater longterm benefits.
  • Publishers can technically run both video ad offerings on mobile (our existing Mobile Autoplay or the new Video Adhesion), but we recommend you pick one or the other and our vote is for Outstream Mobile Adhesion.

Many Mediavine publishers may remember our original video adhesion — the smaller, mobile video player that competed against our traditional mobile display adhesion and would often render in the bottom of web pages on your phones and tablets.

It was widely popular, but due to policy changes beyond our control, we began running our traditional sticky video player on mobile instead.

This change positively impacted revenue, but user experience, not so much.

The smaller video adhesion was universally liked for that reason — it was just a better user experience — but our hands were tied by policy at the time.

The good news is they’re now untied!

visual comparison on outstream adhesion unit, adhesion unit, and mobile autoplay

Our Video Adhesion is Back!

Mediavine is excited to introduce the new and improved Outstream Mobile Adhesion!

We rebuilt the video adhesion from the ground up using our latest technology, namely the Mediavine Outstream Player, the Mediavine Exchange and some of the native technology discussed in our 2021 roadmap. (More on native soon I promise.)

The biggest difference in switching the player from instream to outstream is that the Outstream Mobile Adhesion will only play a video ad and no content.

In other words, you don’t need to upload a video in order to run this!

outstream mobile adhesion

What About Google AdExchange Policy?

As we said earlier, changes in Google AdExchange (AdX) video ad policy led us away from the adhesion in the first place.

AdX requires video ads competing alongside display ads, as our original Video Adhesion unit did and the Outstream Mobile Adhesion will, to run outstream instead of a traditional instream player.

Even though we’re now outstream, and a lot closer to compliance, AdX won’t bid on this inventory, as it doesn’t allow “sticky” or adhesion outstream players.

We will work with Google and hopefully they will bid on this inventory in the future. In the meantime, you will not risk Google ad violations as they aren’t bidding on it.

This also will not have any negative impact on search. Google Search and Google AdExchange are entirely separate products, teams and policies.

One more time for those in the back:

Google ad policy is not Google Search policy and has nothing to do with your Google Search rankings. This will not impact your SEO.

How Much Will You Earn With the Outstream Mobile Adhesion?

That all depends on your video strategy.

If you were not running video at all before this, or had mobile autoplay disabled, then turn this on immediately if not sooner.

During initial tests, we’ve seen mobile RPMs increase upwards of 10%.

As we always say, with any new ad unit it will take time for advertisers to learn your inventory. Over time you will likely see even higher increases. Going from no video to this (Run! Do it today!) will be a boon to your earnings.

If you already run mobile autoplay, the answer is more complex, so follow me here.

Our recommendation for new publishers is to run the Outstream Mobile Adhesion and keep autoplay on mobile disabled. Counterintuitive as it may seem in the second Decade of Video, we believe it’s the best strategy overall.

If you have the close button (AKA the “x” button) disabled for your adhesion units, the Outstream Mobile Adhesion will automatically show a pause button instead. If you have the close button enabled, the reader can “x” out as with other adhesion units.

adhesion close enabled vs disabled

This is still video, just outstream instead of instream. It will still earn those high video CPMs, albeit slightly lower, due to current demand for outstream.

It also replaces the display adhesion, whereas the Mediavine Video Player ran on top of it, leading to a decrease in total ad impressions.

As for whether this course of action — disabling mobile autoplay and switching to the new Video Adhesion — will hurt your RPMs… well, that depends.

If you were already optimized with video, by having multiple short-form videos uploaded to your dashboard that perform well, you may see a dip in earnings.

If you’re less optimized, e.g. you have a single video uploaded, or multiple longer-form videos, then you may not see much of a decrease — if any.

We’ve seen a 5% average drop in mobile RPM for publishers who disabled mobile autoplay and switched to the video adhesion.

Why is an ad management company recommending you do something that could cause an RPM decline (albeit a small one)? Three words:

Better. User. Experience.

Ads are always a balance of user experience and maximizing revenue.

We believe that enabling the new and improved Outstream Mobile Adhesion instead of mobile autoplay will lead to superior user experiences, offsetting a slight drop in earnings and offering much greater benefits.

Yes friends, running the autoplay mobile ads may make a higher RPM but this is why we don’t encourage comparing RPMs. They never provide a clear, complete picture.

We know it’s easy to assume any revenue lost from an ad unit is bad. But does a better user experience for your readers mean longer session durations in the short term?

Does it mean greater engagement with things like Grow and more newsletter signups, garnering more repeat visitors over the long term?

We believe so, which makes the video adhesion a net positive gain.

How many times do you X out of the sticky mobile player as soon as you see one? How much do you hate that unit on all sites that aren’t your own?

We can all admit that it’s not great for audiences, and our long-term goal is to build bigger and better audiences.

User experience is always the best value in the end.

infographic comparing mobile autoplay and oustream adhesion units

Can You Run Both?

Technically, per policy, you could because Google is not competing so the rule of only two videos per page would not apply. However, refer back to the last 12 paragraphs.

How many videos do you — and your readers — really want playing at once?

We know that the competition encourages publishers to run mobile sticky autoplay while also allowing video inside their sticky display ads via partners like GumGum.

We recommend you pick one or the other and vote for the Outstream Mobile Adhesion.

Ultimately, it’s your decision. Mediavine has always put the publisher first and come up with innovative solutions to optimize whatever approach you want to take.

Just promise us you won’t compare RPMs to those of other publishers. This is a fruitless endeavor that doesn’t offer true insight into your business.

In our view, squeezing every cent from every conceivable ad potentially harms not only your website but the industry overall by encouraging things like ad blocking.

Focus on the big picture, lead by example and the revenue will come — more sustainably, for years to come — in due time.

The web will follow Mediavine publishers, as it always does.

What Mediavine Publishers Need To Do

  • If you don’t have your own video content and/or are not currently running Mobile Autoplay, enable the Outstream Mobile Adhesion unit NOW!
  • If you’re currently running Mobile Autoplay, you have a decision to make. While you can enable Outstream Mobile Adhesion with Mobile Autoplay, we recommend disabling Mobile Autoplay and only running the Outstream Mobile Adhesion unit. You might see a small decrease in mobile RPM, but the increase in UX is worth it!
  • For more information and instructions on enabling the Outstream Mobile Adhesion unit, check out our Outstream Ad help doc.

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