Video Ad Platforms Begin To Add Value to Video Inventory
It's an early sign of category maturation: video ad platforms are beginning to add value to video ad inventory -- value that goes beyond campaign execution or price efficiencies. The recent improvements in targeting, pacing, delivery and optimization suggest a bit about where the video advertising category is headed and who will ultimately win the majority of video ad dollars in the future. Let's explore each category:
Although some advanced targeting has always been technically feasible, few providers have aggregated enough inventory to deliver any meaningful volume for behavioral, geographic or content targets. As the category continues to grow, a few players have aggregated video inventory of enough scale (roughly 500M or more streams a month) to deliver niche targeted campaigns. Additionally, improvements in ad serving technology and combined display / video campaign execution is opening up many new opportunities.
Recent improvements of note: DMA / Zip targeting at scale, richer content targeting (broadcast vs. internet, contextual), video to display retargeting, ROI positive video campaigns.
And the winners are: Large inventory aggregators and video ad servers with proprietary technology.
Pacing / Delivery
Contrary to popular belief, pacing and delivery are still huge problems in the video category. Most publishers can't predict their future inventory volume well and have manual or rudimentary tools to manage pacing. Media buyers are beginning to demand more complicated pacing plans, including daily even, daypart even or bell curve pacing, and more complicated delivery plans, including storyboarding and fixed reach / frequency targets. As a result, video platforms and ad servers are increasingly addressing these issues.
Recent improvements of note: Multiple pacing options, inventory prediction and powerful storyboarding.
And the winners are: Video ad servers, inventory aggregators, large publishers and long-form content providers.
In plain and simple terms, optimization used to mean delivering the campaign in full, on budget. Now, media buyers are optimizing for cost per view, duration watched, click-through rates, creative and ad unit performance, CPC or CPA pricing. As a result, players with technology platforms that can provide dynamic optimization or can be tuned for specific advertiser requirements are beginning to separate themselves from the pack. Additionally, it is a huge advantage to see users in various video player, ad unit and Web site environments that offer enough data insight to allow for optimization decisions.
Recent improvements of note: Creative and ad unit optimization, CPC / CPA pricing, integration of engagement, impact or conversion data.
And the winners are: Players with multiple ad units, large volumes of inventory and the technology to optimize to metrics.
All of these important improvements continue to demonstrate a long standing-online media tenet: the lion's share of media spend goes to those with more inventory and more technology, as both lead to a data and product advantage that expands overtime. Let the video games begin!