Techy Video Terms: What They Mean
Video Marketing

Techy Video Terms: What They Mean

17th July 2013

Dipped your toe into the world of video optimisation, advertising or editing but came away more confused than ever?

Some of the terms can seem baffling at first but once you know what they mean it makes it far easier to understand the semantics and the technology behind the way video is published, optimised and monetised. We take you through some of the more common terms in this handy little guide.

Ad Overlays

These are the semi-transparent ads you’ll see on many YouTube videos. They usually sit across the bottom of the screen and will show for around 10 seconds, appearing about 15 seconds in. Sold on a CPM and CPC basis, they usually look something like this:

ad overlay


Annotations are a great way to add interactivity to a video, particularly a good Call To Action. Encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel or link to other videos within YouTube. This video from Jamie Oliver shows the fantastic way this feature can be utilised (see also Interactive):


The term for a video that starts playing automatically without the user needing to click anything. Can be intrusive and annoying and not recommended as part of a good user experience.


Bumpers are branded introductions to videos. Ideally they need to be as brief as possible but long enough to allow the viewer to identify what they are about to watch. You can see one in action in this video:

Closed Captions

Closed Captions are, basically, subtitles for your videos. They show the user the transcript of the video and serve two purposes. 1) excellent for user accessibility and 2) they give ‘clues’ to YouTube about the nature of the video and so are one of (many, many) ranking factors on the site.


A video codec is a device or software that enables compression or decompression of digital video (COmpressor/ DECompressor). There are a number of CODECs, each designed for a specific purpose and include MPEG-4 Part 2, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, VP8/VP9 and H.264.


The action of changing the type of data from one format to another so it’s possible to display it on the desired device. This means changing it from one codec to another.


To embed a video means to take it from an online video provider (YouTube, Vimeo etc) and use it elsewhere online (websites, social media, emails etc) using a specific HTML code. The video remains with your original host but the code allows it to play anywhere that has the appropriate conditions.

This is an example of an embedded video taken from YouTube:

High Definition (HD)

Video that is of higher resolution than standard definition. This is usually display resolutions of 1280 × 720 pixels (720p) or 1920 × 1080 pixels (1080i/1080p).


Hyper Text Markup Language Version 5, specifies the standard way to embed a video/movie on a web page. It’s known as the <video> element, and is a way of delivering video content as efficiently as possible through a web browser.

In-Stream Video Ads

In-Stream video (or Pre-Roll video) is a platform that allows advertisers to place video ads in video content that’s streamed online. This type of format is used to monetise the video content that the publisher is delivering and these ads cannot usually be stopped from being played.

Interactive video

A type of video that can be manipulated by viewers just by clicking on it. The following is an excellent example:

Linear Video Ads

These type of ads are delivered in-stream, either before, during or just after the video content is consumed. Linear video ads take over the full view of that video.

Live Streaming

Live streaming delivers video content in real time over the Internet, usually seminars, concerts and other events. A very popular format for news and entertainment, it can be locked down and monetised.

Long form video

Long form video refers to clips over approximately over five minutes in length. Used mainly in reference to TV and films.


This type of Linear Video Ad appears in the middle of video content.

Mobile Video

As the name suggests, this type of video is optimised for viewing via second screen devices such as smartphones or tablets. Current formats for mobile video are 3GPP, MPEG-4, RTSP, and Flash Lite.

Monetised Video

Who doesn’t want their video content to generate revenue for them? Placing advertising content around your video is one way to monetise as is charging users to view or download your content.

Online Video

Basically, any type of digital video that is available for viewing over the internet.

Online Video Player (OVP)

An alternative to hosting sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, whose features can be limiting for many publishers. An online video player can be customised and usually comes with full access to analytics data. These days there are almost as many OVPs as there are videos. The biggies include Brightcove, Kaltura, Ooyala, Wistia, Flowplayer and JWPlayer.

Pre-Roll Ads

Pre-Roll ads stream before the video and are one of the most widely used forms of video advertising.

pre roll

Short form video

Video clips that are less than 5 minutes in length, usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes.

Video Format

A video file has two basic components; a ‘codec’ and a ‘container’. We’ve touched on codecs, and a container is a collection of all the files about that particular video and you can control what type of codec you wish to use for the container. Popular types are .avi (Microsoft), .flv. (Flash), .wmv (Windows) and .mov (Quicktime). Codecs can also be containers but that’s a whole other blog post.

Viral Video / Viral Video Ads

The holy grail of creators and marketers, viral videos can be thousands of times more effective than traditional advertising. To get a video to go viral relies on a huge number of different factors, but if you hit that perfect storm the benefits could last for years. As of today (16/07/2013), this video is #1 on the viral video charts for the UK with 10,988 shares in last 24 hours:

video shares

Video On Demand (VOD)

Video On Demand (VOD) allows the consumer to rent TV shows or films or other long form content. Individuals can select what they want to watch from a central server to view online or via a TV. Examples of VOD companies include Netflix, DirectTV, Hulu and LoveFilm.

Photo Credit


Written By
Carla Marshall is Director of SEO at
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