The Most Overused Words In Online Video
Adapting to the evolution of the media industry often requires new vocabulary, and online video is no exception. While agencies and brand execs are often spared the intricate technical talk of wrappers, tags and HTML code, there is still a set of words that comes up in every sales pitch. Unfortunately, most of these words are either vague marketing language, or have been used so often they’ve lost all meaning.
While it’s important for the entire industry to be fluent in the language of online video, all of us can do without hearing certain terms again. The following words should raise some red flags and prompt questions from every agency buyer in the room.
Everyone selling video ad inventory talks about the “premium” nature of their video content and/or their publishers. We’ve reached a point where this word has become so widely contorted that even the exchanges talk about how they only deliver media within “premium” streams.
Truth be told, content and environment still matter for video ads, and the last thing any brand wants is to find out that their definition of “premium” is different from the seller’s. Rather than take the p-word at face value and hope for the best, ask for as much information about the content and its adjacency as possible.
This term is used hand in hand with “premium.” Vendors tout their exclusive relationships with name-brand publishers and content producers, but one word can’t tell the full story. Does the “exclusive” claim imply that the network sells all available inventory for a publisher? Does it provide access to all streams on the site, or only certain channels?
The market has evolved to the point where, aside from a select few live streaming events, there is simply no such thing as exclusivity. Savvy buyers (or even those who take a few minutes to do their due diligence) can figure a way onto any video platform through the growing backchannels in the online video marketplace,
No one ever objected to more value, so the industry loves throwing this term around. The eternal question, though, is if the brand or agency is getting any tangible lift out of so-called “added value.” Bob Garfield recently detailed how an ad-serving partner bragged about serving 60,000 additional views, which sounded good, until it was revealed the partner was serving incentivized views. In other words, people were paid to watch ads, so there was no value in the extra impressions.
Bottom line, “added value” is typically leveraged as a distraction from another part of the media plan that experienced a shortfall. For a real sense of what was “added,” if anything at all, you have to be willing to ask the hard questions.
RTB, DSP, SSP, etc.
The rise of real-time selling technology has created a poorly understood alphabet soup that is nevertheless ladled out in every pitch meeting. RTB (real-time bidding), DSP (demand-side platform) and SSP (supply-side platform) are the three most common, often tossed around by sellers trying to demonstrate technological prowess. Half the time neither the seller nor the buyer fully grasp what these acronyms stand for, but both are too embarrassed to admit it.
Smart buyers can’t be hypnotized by this tech-speak. Rather than jump on the RTB, SSP or DSP bandwagon because it’s the latest shiny object, ask for the specific campaign contribution and if the technology aligns with your client’s holistic video strategy.
Possibly the most overused word in all of digital marketing, transparency has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for years. We know what consumer-facing transparency means, but business-to-business transparency is still cloudy. Sometimes it means that a network will show a seller a list of sites where an ad might run, which fails to give advertisers a complete picture of what they’re paying for. After all, I might sit next to Kate Upton on my next flight to L.A., but I won’t pay more for a ticket when the odds are that I’ll sit next to another business traveler.
As an industry, we’ve grown tired of hearing all of these terms. Rather than listening to (or tuning out) these words yet again, ask for the clear definition, or at least some form of specific clarity on the broad and vague reference. If the explanation feels at all murky, it’s likely you’re dealing with someone who is either exaggerating the truth, or (if you are asking the question) has outkicked their coverage.