What Is Overlay Advertising?

by Emily Retherford

1 min read

Overlay advertising is a relatively new way to market products and advertise your brand through social media. An overlay ad usually runs on the bottom of a video on a streaming service, such as YouTube, while the main video plays. Such ads are often transparent and have a small box to click for closing them, Overlay advertising is meant to be unobtrusive, but the ads are undeniably effective. The primary reason overlay ads get a lot of views is that they piggyback on – or overlay – content that viewers have already decided to watch. Unlike full-screen ads at the beginning of a video, which are frequently muted, or at the end, where they can just be skipped, overlay ads coexist with videos and must be seen – even if it’s just for the time it takes to recognize them, get annoyed, and close the window. This alone makes them ideal for brands that need better name recognition.Another advantage overlay ads enjoy is in the audience itself. While billboards and TV commercials are hard to target on a single key demographic, Google tracks enough user data to make finding your ideal customer easy. With social media content, the audience is largely self-selecting, and the people who see your ads have already chosen to watch a video related to the subject you’re publicizing. Running ads for hiking boots over a video about nature trails or advertising a video game magazine on a video game playthrough video are two examples of getting your message to the very people who most need to see it. This concept – of only showing customers ads for things they’re very likely to buy – converts your marketing messages from an intrusion on viewers’ content to something like a public service. Overlay advertising just points people toward something they will genuinely find useful.

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