Which Devices Are Being Used for Viewing Video?

It’s no secret that digital video consumption is soaring. Last year, Zenith estimated that viewers globally spent around 67 minutes a day consuming online video. In 2020, that figure is expected to hit 84 minutes a day. Ad spend will undoubtedly follow those eyeballs.

But where is this digital video watching taking place? As viewing time has increased, so have the the types of devices used to access online video. Let’s take a look at at these platforms and devices to provide an overview of the technology behind their ad experiences.


Many viewers experienced their first video ads on desktop. Typically, these ads occur in a video player on a publisher’s website while the viewer is accessing video content. The content executes code which requests a video ad. If the request is successful, the ad is returned and begins to play.

The request, exchange and execution, which used to take minutes, now happens in a matter of milliseconds. Desktop also has the advantage of having a large variety of implementations, due to having been one of the first testing grounds for digital ads.


Mobile digital video ads have a beginning similar to desktop digital video ads. That is, in the early days of mobile, ads were delivered to users within a web browser with video content. As time went on and mobile devices became more affordable and ubiquitous, developers began creating large swaths of mobile apps.

This set off a surge of app use, which in turn shifted a large portion of mobile advertising to in-app video. According to eMarketer, the result is that digital ad spend for mobile is projected to exceed $146 billion in the U.S. and almost $400 billion worldwide by 2023.


OTT (over-the-top) video has opened the floodgates for digital video ads to be delivered to the family living room. OTT provides a connection between the viewing device and a streaming service. The devices could include desktops, mobile devices or connected TVs (CTV). These TVs have their own native apps or use an external OTT device.

OTT content is specific to streaming media being sent to the viewer, whereas the OTT device is what displays the media. Examples of OTT devices are Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Google Chromecast, Apple TV or even gaming devices like a Playstation 4 or Xbox One. CTVs are TVs that have native streaming apps or use a connected OTT device to access streaming services.

What’s next?

This has been a simple overview of the devices that can deliver video ads. With more and more consumers cutting the cord and using these alternative methods to view content, the field will continue to expand. Publishers need to look for ways to improve their video monetization by taking advantage of video solutions that work across these devices.