Video Advertising


Video Advertising: What It Is and How It Works?

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Team Storyly
May 22, 2023
0 min read

What is Video Advertising

Video advertising is a marketing strategy that uses short, engaging video clips to promote products, services, or brands. Typically distributed through digital platforms like social media, websites, and streaming services, it aims to capture audience attention, convey messages effectively, and drive action such as clicks or purchases.

Video ads are often more engaging and memorable than other forms of advertising, and can help brands connect with audiences in a more emotional and impactful way.

The Journey of Video Advertising

Marketers have been using video ads for a long period now. So, here is a brief overview of the evolution of video advertisement through the years.

The first-ever video commercial appeared in 1941 on television, and the duration of the ad was ten seconds. TV commercials gained maximum popularity during the 1950s and the 1960s. That was also the period when brands had control over television programs. Hence, it is known as the golden age of television advertisements; however, it lost its glory over the years.

Instead, TV was gradually replaced by alternative advertisement platforms such as Google-owned video-sharing platform, YouTube. Right now, YouTube streams advertisements in different forms, such as skippable and non-skippable ones.

Advertisements were limited to televisions, radios, classifieds, and computer screens for years. However, video ads eventually reached mobile screens, thanks to iPhones by Apple. Dedicated video streaming applications such as YouTube and Apple’s Safari internet browser made this easier for all.

Fast forward to 2013; video advertising took an unexpected turn with the arrival of social media platforms. Twitter’s video-sharing platform, Vine, was the first to gain popularity; however, it was short-lived.

It was the same time when Facebook came up with the video-sharing option and included advertisements along with it. And if we look into it, Facebook is one medium that remained consistent in advertising throughout these years.

Then came Snapchat, with an option to post video stories for 24 hours. Instagram followed the same trend and became one of the most popular applications for video advertisements in no time.

TikTok was the last to join the club, yet it managed to become a potential space for video advertisements within a short while.

Recently, Storyly enabled video ad stories in mobile apps other than social media giants and made it possible to monetize different apps through Google AdMob and AdManager integrations.

Why is Video Advertising Important?

Video advertising has become an increasingly crucial component of digital marketing strategies for several compelling reasons. The shift towards this medium is driven by its effectiveness in engaging audiences, the evolution of consumer media consumption habits, and the technological advancements that have made video content more accessible and impactful.

Enhanced Engagement and Retention

Video advertising stands out for its ability to capture and retain the attention of viewers more effectively than other forms of media. The dynamic combination of visual and auditory elements in videos makes them inherently engaging. This engagement is not just about capturing attention; it's also about retaining it. The storytelling aspect of video advertising helps in creating a narrative that viewers can connect with, making the message more memorable. When a brand tells a story through video, it's not just selling a product or service; it's sharing a message that viewers can relate to on an emotional level.

Adaptation to Changing Consumer Habits

The way people consume content has drastically changed, with a significant shift towards online and mobile platforms. Video content has become a dominant form of media consumption, especially among younger demographics. This shift is partly due to the rise of social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, where video content is the primary mode of communication. Advertisers are adapting to these changes by creating content specifically tailored for these platforms, ensuring that their messages reach their target audience where they are most active and engaged.

Improved Conversion Rates and ROI

Video advertising is not just about visibility; it's also highly effective in driving conversions. Studies have shown that video ads can significantly improve conversion rates compared to other forms of advertising. This is because videos can convey a lot of information in a short time, and they do it in a way that's easy for viewers to understand and relate to. Moreover, the persuasive power of video helps in influencing buying decisions, leading to a better return on investment (ROI) for advertisers.

Advancements in Targeting and Personalization

With the advancements in digital marketing technologies, video advertising now offers unparalleled targeting capabilities. Advertisers can use data to target specific demographics, interests, and even individual behaviors, ensuring that their message reaches the most relevant audience. Furthermore, the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning in advertising has enabled a more personalized approach to video content. Advertisers can create different versions of a video ad tailored to different segments of their audience, making the ads more relevant and effective.

Brand Building and Storytelling

Video advertising plays a significant role in brand building. A well-crafted video ad can convey a brand's values, personality, and message in a way that resonates with viewers. This storytelling aspect of video advertising is powerful because it can create an emotional connection between the brand and the consumer. When consumers feel connected to a brand, they are more likely to trust it and become loyal customers.

Overcoming Limitations of Traditional Advertising

Traditional advertising methods like print and radio are limited in their ability to convey complex messages and emotions. Video advertising, on the other hand, can deliver detailed and nuanced messages with ease. It combines visuals, sound, and motion to create a richer and more engaging experience. This multi-sensory approach is more effective in conveying a message and leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

In summary, the importance of video advertising lies in its ability to engage viewers, adapt to changing consumer habits, drive conversions, offer targeted and personalized content, build brand identity through storytelling, and overcome the limitations of traditional advertising methods. As digital technology continues to evolve, video advertising is expected to become even more integral to marketing strategies across various industries.

The Psychology Behind Video Advertising

The psychology behind video advertising is a fascinating blend of art and science, involving an understanding of how human emotions, cognition, and behavior are influenced by moving images, sound, and storytelling. By tapping into these psychological principles, video advertisers can create content that resonates deeply with viewers, driving engagement and influencing decision-making. Here are key aspects of the psychology behind video advertising:

Emotional Connection and Storytelling

Humans are naturally drawn to stories. Effective storytelling in video ads can evoke a range of emotions in viewers, from joy and laughter to empathy and inspiration. Emotional engagement is crucial as it creates a stronger connection between the viewer and the brand, making the message more memorable. When viewers feel an emotional tie, they are more likely to remember the ad and, by extension, the product or brand.

Visual and Auditory Stimulation

Video advertising uniquely combines visual and auditory elements, making it a potent tool for capturing and retaining attention. The human brain processes visuals much faster than text, and adding sound layers deepens the impact. This sensory stimulation can make video ads more engaging and effective compared to other forms of advertising.

The Power of Faces and Eye Contact

The human brain is wired to respond to faces. Seeing a human face in a video ad can trigger mirror neurons, leading to empathy and a sense of connection. Eye contact, even through a screen, can create a sense of direct communication and engagement, making the message more persuasive.

Influence of Music and Sound

Music and sound effects play a significant role in setting the tone of a video ad and influencing the viewer's emotions and mood. The right soundtrack can enhance the narrative, evoke specific emotions, and even create a sense of urgency. Music can also aid in brand recall, especially when it's used consistently across a campaign.

Color Psychology

Colors have the power to influence perceptions and emotions. Different colors can evoke different feelings — for example, blue can convey trust and security, while red can create a sense of excitement or urgency. Using colors effectively in video ads can help reinforce the message and elicit the desired emotional response.

The Principle of Reciprocity

This principle suggests that people are more likely to engage in a favorable action if they receive something of value first. In video advertising, offering valuable information, entertainment, or an emotional experience can create a sense of reciprocity, making viewers more open to the ad's message or call-to-action.

Social Proof and Influencer Marketing

Seeing others, especially influencers or relatable figures, endorse a product or service can be highly persuasive. This is due to the social proof principle, where people tend to emulate the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior. Influencer marketing leverages this by using popular personalities to validate a brand's message.

Anchoring and Contrast

These psychological principles are often used in pricing strategies within ads. Anchoring occurs when the first price presented serves as a reference point for all subsequent pricing. Contrast can be used to show the value of a deal, making the final price seem more attractive in comparison to a higher initial price.

Scarcity and Urgency

Creating a sense of scarcity or urgency in video ads can prompt viewers to act quickly. This could involve limited-time offers or highlighting limited stock. The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a strong motivator in decision-making.

Types of Video Ads

Video advertising encompasses a diverse range of formats and styles, each tailored to different platforms, audiences, and marketing objectives. Understanding the various types of video ads is crucial for marketers looking to leverage the full potential of this medium. Here's an overview of the prominent types of video ads:

In-Stream Video Ads

In-stream video ads are perhaps the most familiar format. They are played before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) the main video content, primarily on platforms like YouTube or during streaming services. Pre-roll ads, often short and compelling, play before a viewer's chosen content, capturing immediate attention. Mid-roll ads, similar to traditional TV commercials, appear during breaks in the main content, and post-roll ads play after the video ends.

Social Media Video Ads

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter have their unique video ad formats. These platforms offer a mix of in-stream and standalone video ads. Standalone ads appear in the user's feed as they scroll, making them highly visible. The success of these ads often depends on their ability to blend seamlessly with organic content, offering entertainment or valuable information in a concise format.

Outstream Video Ads

Outstream video ads are designed to appear in non-video environments, such as websites or in-article spaces. They usually start playing automatically when they come into view and often pause or close when the viewer scrolls past. This format is beneficial for advertisers as it doesn't require a pre-existing video to be placed in, allowing for a broader range of placement options.

Interactive Video Ads

Interactive video ads encourage viewer participation, increasing engagement and memorability. These ads might include clickable areas, quizzes, polls, or other interactive elements. They are effective in not only capturing attention but also in providing valuable feedback and data on viewer preferences and behaviors.

Shoppable Video Ads

Shoppable video ads take interactivity a step further by allowing viewers to make purchases directly from the ad. These ads typically highlight products with embedded links or hotspots that viewers can click to learn more or buy the product immediately. This direct path from advertisement to purchase shortens the customer journey and can significantly boost conversion rates.

360-Degree and Virtual Reality Ads

These innovative ad formats offer immersive experiences, allowing viewers to engage with the content in a more dynamic and interactive way. 360-degree videos let users control their perspective by dragging the video to look around, while virtual reality (VR) ads offer a fully immersive experience, often requiring a VR headset. These formats are particularly effective for storytelling and product demonstrations.

Native Video Ads

Native video ads are designed to match the look and feel of the content surrounding them. They are less intrusive than traditional video ads and can be found on social media feeds, news websites, and blogs. The key to their effectiveness is their subtlety and relevance to the viewer's interests, making them more likely to be watched and engaged with.

Each of these video ad types offers unique advantages and can be used effectively in different contexts. The choice of format depends on the target audience, the platform, the nature of the product or service being advertised, and the overall marketing objectives of the campaign. By understanding and utilizing these various formats, advertisers can create more effective, engaging, and successful video advertising campaigns.

How Does Video Advertising Work?

Different media have different working principles. So to understand how video advertising works, you must know about the popular video streaming platforms. Here are the current popular media channels serving video ads. Take a look at how each medium works:


YPP (YouTube Partner Program) allows the content creators to be a part of high revenue earning community on YouTube. However, all the YouTube content creators are not a part of YPP since the platform has set some eligibility criteria. Creators satisfying those conditions automatically become a part of YPP and become eligible for a revenue share.

The basic requirement to become a member of YPP:

  • A minimum of one thousand subscribers
  • 4000 hours of viewed content in the last 12 months.

The list does not end here; however, if you meet both these conditions, you are eligible to be a part of YPP. Once you are a part of it, you will get:

  • Ad revenue: Any YPP member of the age above 18 creating advertisement-friendly content is eligible for that.
  • YouTube Premium revenue: You will get a share of the premium subscription amount of the users who watch your content.
  • Selling channel membership: Any YPP content creator above 18 years with 30,000 subscribers can sell their membership to subscribers.
  • Merchandise shelf: You will be a part of the YouTube merchandise shelf and sell your products on YouTube. Any YPP member above the age of 18 with 10,000 subscribers can sell their merchandise through this shelf.
  • Super chat payments: The super chat payment option allows the fans of a creator to pay them to highlight their message on live chat during live sessions. Any YPP content creator above the age of 18 can use this as a source of revenue.

YouTube is the most outstanding choice for marketers to advertise their products because of the ease of procedures and result assurance. All a marketer has to do is create their own channel, produce a video ad, set their goals, and start the campaign. YouTube will be there to back you on all steps of the campaign.


People often say that Facebook advertising has lost its glam and glory, but the truth is that it is still one of the most used media channels for video ads. Another perk of Facebook ads is that Facebook business guides you through all the procedures to make your job easier.

Here is how you can set up a Facebook video ad campaign:

  • Determine your goals.
  • Set your target audience.
  • Set budget.
  • Prepare a video for the campaign.

Once you gather all the information and create your video, you can submit your ad for an ad auction on Facebook. It is where the Facebook algorithm analyzes your goal, target audience, location, and budget and delivers your ad to the right audience.

In simple terms, whenever an advertisement pops up on your screen while scrolling down on Facebook, an auction takes place at the back end. And the ad you get is specifically targeted to you on different levels.


Instagram is currently the most popular platform to advertise products to increase brand awareness and reach. As the application is a hub for the young audience, it is a good medium for targeted ads.

Here are the different options for video advertisement on Instagram

  • Instagram application: You can advertise your own posts with the promote option on your business account. However, this is not the right method if you want to generate new leads from the campaign.
  • Facebook ad manager: You can set your ad campaign on Facebook and set Instagram for ad placement. It is one of the easiest and result-assuring ways of ad campaigns on Instagram.
  • Instagram Partners: If things seem complicated to you, you can take the help of a digital marketing team to do the campaign for you. They will create content and do the campaign while you focus on the business.
  • Influencers: There are Instagrammers with thousands to million followers who offer paid partnerships. Being a content creator, their job is to create relevant content for their followers and deliver it pleasingly. So, if the product or service is relevant to their audience, they create and post a video about it. The amount they charge varies according to the number of followers and reachability of the post.

There is a long list of video advertising platforms not mentioned here; however, they all are quite similar in functioning.

Paid partnership with influencers is a result-assuring method of video advertising on all those platforms. All you have to do is to find content creators capable of pulling off a creative video for you and start the campaign.

Measuring Success in Video Advertising

Measuring the success of video advertising is crucial for understanding its impact and optimizing future campaigns. Unlike traditional advertising, where metrics might be limited to reach and frequency, digital video advertising offers a plethora of data points that can provide deeper insights into performance. The effectiveness of a video ad campaign can be evaluated using various metrics, each offering a unique perspective on how the audience interacts with the content.

View Count and Reach

One of the most basic measures is the view count, which indicates the number of times the video has been watched. This metric is often the first layer of understanding the ad's visibility. Reach expands on this by indicating the total number of unique viewers who have seen the ad, giving an idea of how widely the video has been distributed across the target audience.

Engagement Metrics

Engagement metrics go beyond mere views and provide insight into how viewers interact with the video. This includes:

  • Watch Time: The total amount of time viewers have spent watching the video. A higher watch time suggests that the content is engaging and holds the viewer's attention.
  • Completion Rate: The percentage of viewers who watched the video all the way through. A high completion rate often indicates that the content is relevant and interesting to the audience.
  • Likes, Shares, and Comments: These social interactions are valuable indicators of how the audience perceives the video. A high level of positive engagement can signal strong content resonance.

Conversion Metrics

The ultimate goal of most video ads is to drive action, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or visiting a website. Conversion metrics help in measuring this aspect. Tracking tools and landing page analytics can provide data on how many viewers took the desired action after watching the video. Click-through rates (CTR), for instance, measure how many viewers clicked on a link associated with the video.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is a critical measure in determining the financial viability of the video ad campaign. It involves comparing the revenue generated from the campaign against the costs incurred in creating and distributing the video. A positive ROI indicates that the campaign is not only reaching its audience but also effectively driving profitable customer action.

Brand Awareness and Sentiment Analysis

For campaigns focused on brand building rather than immediate conversions, measuring changes in brand awareness and sentiment is important. Surveys, brand mention analyses, and sentiment analysis tools can gauge how the video has influenced public perception of the brand. Increases in brand searches, mentions on social media, and positive sentiment are indicators of success in these cases.

View-Through Rate (VTR)

VTR measures how many viewers watched the entire ad or a significant portion of it. This metric is particularly useful for longer-form video ads where maintaining viewer interest is crucial.

Audience Insights

Demographic and behavioral data about the viewers can provide insights into whether the video is reaching the intended audience. This includes information like age, gender, location, device usage, and more. Understanding the audience helps in refining targeting strategies for future campaigns.

By analyzing these metrics, advertisers can gain a comprehensive understanding of their video ad's performance. This data not only measures success but also informs future strategies, helping advertisers to continuously improve their video content and targeting for better results.

Best Practices In Video Advertising

Achieving success in video advertising involves more than just creating visually appealing content. It requires a strategic approach that considers various best practices to ensure the effectiveness and impact of your video ads. Here are some key best practices to follow:

Know Your Audience

Understanding your target audience is critical in video advertising. It's important to know who they are, what they like, what problems they face, and how your product or service can help them. This knowledge helps in creating content that resonates with your audience, making your advertising more effective.

Craft a Compelling Story

Storytelling is a powerful tool in video advertising. A good story can captivate viewers, evoke emotions, and make your message memorable. Focus on creating a narrative that connects with your audience on an emotional level. The story should be relatable and align with your brand values.

Keep It Short and Engaging

Attention spans are short, especially online. It's crucial to make your point quickly and effectively. The first few seconds of your video are particularly important to grab attention. Ensure that your videos are concise, engaging, and deliver the key message early.

Optimize for Mobile and Silent Viewing

A significant portion of video content is consumed on mobile devices, often without sound. Your videos should be optimized for mobile viewing, with clear visuals and legible text. Including captions or subtitles ensures that your message gets across even when the sound is off.

Strong Call-to-Action (CTA)

Every video ad should have a clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA). Whether it's visiting a website, making a purchase, or learning more about a product, your CTA should be unmistakable and easy to follow. A good CTA can significantly increase conversion rates.

Consistency in Branding

Maintain a consistent brand voice and aesthetic across your video ads. Consistency helps in building brand recognition and trust. Your audience should be able to immediately identify your brand in any video content you produce.

Test and Optimize

Always test different versions of your video ads to see what works best. A/B testing can provide valuable insights into which elements of your video are most effective, whether it's the messaging, the visuals, the CTA, or even the length of the video. Use these insights to optimize future campaigns.

Leverage Social Media Platforms

Different social media platforms have different audiences and norms. Customize your video content for each platform to maximize its effectiveness. What works on YouTube may not work on TikTok or Instagram, so it's important to understand the unique aspects of each platform.

Focus on Quality and Professionalism

While the content of your video is important, so is its quality. Poorly produced videos can harm your brand's image. Invest in good production values to ensure that your video looks professional and is pleasant to watch.

Stay Up-to-Date with Trends and Technologies

The digital landscape is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in video advertising, such as interactive videos, AR/VR, and AI-driven personalization. Adapting to these changes can keep your advertising strategy fresh and effective.

By following these best practices, you can create video advertising campaigns that are not only visually appealing but also strategically aligned with your marketing goals and audience preferences. This approach can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your video advertising efforts.

Future Trends and Innovations in Video Advertising

The landscape of video advertising is continuously evolving, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer behaviors, and innovative content strategies. As we look towards the future, several key trends and innovations are poised to shape the next era of video advertising. Here's an overview of some of the most promising developments:

Personalization and AI-Driven Content

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming increasingly sophisticated in analyzing viewer data and preferences. This advancement is leading to more personalized video ads that cater to individual tastes and interests. AI can analyze a viewer's past behavior, demographic information, and even mood to present the most relevant and engaging content. This level of personalization not only improves viewer engagement but also enhances the effectiveness of the ads.

Increased Use of Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) offer immersive experiences that take video advertising to a new level. AR ads, for example, can overlay digital information onto the real world, allowing users to see how products might look in their own space. VR ads, on the other hand, can transport viewers into a completely different environment, offering a deeply engaging and memorable experience. As the technology becomes more accessible, expect to see more advertisers experimenting with these formats.

Shoppable and Interactive Videos

The integration of e-commerce into video advertising is set to deepen, with shoppable videos becoming more sophisticated. These videos allow viewers to purchase products directly from the ad, seamlessly blending advertising and shopping. Interactive elements like hotspots, quizzes, and polls are also becoming more common, increasing viewer engagement and providing valuable feedback to advertisers.

5G and High-Quality Streaming

The rollout of 5G technology is expected to revolutionize video advertising by enabling faster and higher-quality streaming. This will open the door for more high-definition and even 4K video ads, which can be streamed smoothly on mobile devices. The increased speed and bandwidth of 5G will also reduce loading times, making video ads more efficient and less disruptive.

Focus on Storytelling and Authenticity

As consumers become more selective about the content they engage with, the importance of storytelling and authenticity in video ads will grow. Brands that can tell compelling stories or present their values in an authentic and relatable way will stand out. This trend might see a rise in documentary-style ads, user-generated content, and partnerships with influencers who resonate with the brand’s ethos.

Programmatic Video Advertising

Programmatic advertising, which uses algorithms to purchase ad space in real-time, is becoming more prevalent in the video ad space. This approach allows for more efficient and targeted ad placements, ensuring that ads reach the most relevant audience at the optimal time. As machine learning algorithms become more sophisticated, programmatic video advertising will become even more precise and effective.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental and social issues, and this is reflected in their response to advertising. Brands that can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility in their video ads are likely to see a positive response from socially conscious consumers. This trend encourages brands to be more mindful of their messaging and the impact of their products and operations.

Ethical Use of Data and Privacy Regulations

With increasing scrutiny on data privacy and the ethical use of consumer information, video advertisers will need to navigate a landscape of tighter regulations and changing public sentiment. Transparency in data usage, adherence to privacy laws, and ethical targeting practices will become critical components of successful video advertising strategies.

These trends point towards a future where video advertising is more immersive, personalized, and intertwined with technology. Advertisers who can adapt to these changes and harness the power of new tools and strategies will be well-positioned to engage their audiences more effectively and drive meaningful results.

Ethical Considerations and Challenges For Video Advertising

The realm of video advertising, while offering immense potential for engagement and impact, also presents several ethical considerations and challenges. As technology evolves and consumer awareness increases, advertisers must navigate these issues carefully to maintain trust and credibility. Here are some of the key ethical considerations and challenges in video advertising:

Privacy and Data Usage

One of the most significant concerns in digital advertising is the use of consumer data. With the ability to collect detailed information about viewers, there's a fine line between targeted advertising and invasion of privacy. Advertisers must be transparent about what data they collect, how it's used, and provide options for consumers to control their data. Complying with regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is not just legally necessary but also critical for building trust with consumers.

Misinformation and Manipulation

Video ads have a powerful influence on viewer perceptions and decisions. This power comes with the responsibility to avoid misleading or manipulative content. Advertisers should ensure that their videos are honest, accurate, and do not exaggerate or falsify the benefits of their products or services. Misinformation can lead to a loss of consumer trust and potential legal repercussions.

Stereotyping and Cultural Sensitivity

Advertising has a long history of perpetuating stereotypes and cultural insensitivities. Video advertisers must be mindful of the messages they are sending and the potential impact on various groups. This includes avoiding stereotypes, respecting cultural differences, and striving for diversity and inclusivity in their ads. Failure to do so can lead to public backlash and harm to the brand's reputation.

Impact on Children and Vulnerable Groups

Video ads can have a significant impact on children and other vulnerable groups who may be less capable of critically evaluating advertising content. Advertisers need to consider the appropriateness of their content for all potential viewers, especially when advertising on platforms popular with younger audiences. This includes avoiding misleading claims, inappropriate content, and ensuring that any marketing to children is responsible and ethical.

Advertising Saturation and Viewer Experience

The digital landscape is saturated with ads, which can lead to viewer fatigue and annoyance. Overwhelming users with too many video ads, especially if they are intrusive or irrelevant, can harm the user experience and lead to negative perceptions of the brand. Advertisers need to balance their desire for visibility with respect for the viewer’s experience.

Ethical Use of AI and Automation

As AI and machine learning become more integral to video advertising, ethical considerations around these technologies come to the fore. This includes concerns about bias in AI algorithms, the potential for deepfakes and other deceptive content, and the broader implications of automated decision-making in advertising.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of digital advertising, including video advertising, is an emerging concern. This includes the energy used to store and stream video content, the carbon footprint of digital marketing campaigns, and the life cycle of products being advertised. Advertisers are increasingly being called upon to consider and address the environmental impact of their campaigns.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.