Much has been made of the “potential” of online video—the fastest-growing media segment poised to explode. Yet many marketers are needlessly standing on the sidelines. The rate that brand dollars from TV are migrating to video could be accelerated. There is chatter that the lack of sophistication and uniformity in video measurement is also restricting the flow of dollars.
One issue that hasn’t received much attention, but continues to be a significant hindrance to marketers and their agencies not entering the video market is the lack of agreement between publishers and video players on technical standards and guidelines.
One illustration is VPAID--the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Video Player-Ad API guidelines that standardize the communication between video players and in-stream video advertising. VPAID guidelines were rolled out in the spring of 2009. Yet three years later, only 54% of publishers are VPAID compliant.
Further, 75% of advertising requests now require VPAID integrations to properly execute the creative demands of the campaign. That leaves almost half of publishers unable to accept 75% of ad requests. What’s even more mind-boggling: VPAID is often required to run advanced-media creative formats, for which ad buys frequently secure the highest CPMs.
In another example, the IAB rolled out its Impression Exchange Solution in 2009, guidelines issued in response to the problem surrounding impression count discrepancies, which have long been an issue for digital media. Inconsistencies often arise as a result of advertisers and publishers using different systems to count impressions and clicks.
Despite endorsement by the 4As and ANA, many third-party ad servers and publishers are still reluctant to give up proprietary tracking systems and use the IES standard for a variety of reasons.
We have seen other media go through similar growing pains in their industry transitions to ebusiness, cross-platform measurement and asset identification. In almost all cases, the eventual transition led to improved efficiency and accuracy.
So why the bottleneck? Much of it may be due to short-term myopia.
If the reason is cost, think of the opportunity cost of not conforming as the VPAID example above illustrates. If it’s about holding on to a proprietary technology, consider how long that position will be tenable in an open-source environment of overlapping technologies. Winning in today’s environment requires knowing what to let go of, as well as what to make your own.
When marketers evaluate the decision to enter any new medium, video included, they look at media cost, but also cost in terms of ease of use, manpower and perhaps most importantly, their agency’s reluctance or enthusiasm to work with a particular set of vendors. Why would any player in the video ecosystem, reliant on advertising dollars, want to alienate potential customers?
These are hard challenges that marketers and agencies are still grappling with in terms of how to incorporate video into their media plans. Let’s get the easy ones out of the way. By making our medium more seamless, consistent and efficient to buy, we’ll free up marketers and agencies to focus on the bigger picture and recognize how good we really look.
The world is moving forward. Fast. With us or without us.