Commentary

Don't Buy The Negative Hype About Video Ad Exchanges

Over half of the top 100 publishers in the comScore Video Metrix are available for real-time media buying, representing over 29% of biddable pre-roll volume.

Conventional wisdom assumes that video ad exchanges are comprised primarily of low-end inventory. At OMMA AdNets in July, for instance, Program Director Ross Fadner posed this question: "Will publishers ever put good quality inventory on exchanges?" Jason Krebs, Chief Media Officer at Tremor Media, quipped: "I don't think there is any great need, nor do I think it will happen."

Well it is happening, at least in part. Running an internal analysis of inventory available for real-time media buying across a five-day sample of over 200 million streams and cross-checking against comScore's top 100 publishers in Video Metrix, we discovered a few interesting facts.

-- 54 out of 100 companies listed in the comScore 100 have inventory available for real-time bidding on the top exchanges and supply-side platforms.

-- 29.1% of pre-roll impressions available for real-time buying are from comScore 100 publishers.

advertisement

advertisement

-- YouTube, despite its massive reach, only accounts for slightly over one-fifth of comScore 100 volume. Other sources, including top media companies, constitute a majority of sites.

Why might this be happening? Publisher-direct sales, often involving faxes and IOs, are not always perfect. Unpredicted viewership spikes can mean unsold inventory. Also, top exchanges and supply- side platforms are increasingly giving publishers more control over how they monetize, letting them set minimum CPMs, parameters on who gets access, line-item controls and much more, freeing up available inventory.

This is not meant to imply that premium video inventory is not scarce, or that video is in any way analogous to display, where a glut in inventory led to more rapid adoption of exchanges. Recent discussions about private exchanges, and the role they could play in the marketplace, indicate that many top-tier publishers want additional tools to maximize revenue before they will be willing to drastically increase the inventory onto real-time exchanges and platforms.

We obviously bring an agenda to this. But since only an aggregator can see across this inventory in detail, we felt obliged to publish these early numbers in the hope that a more nuanced discussion might take place about how real-time bidding fits into the broader video ad ecosystem.

Video ad exchanges may not be a "silver bullet," but there are several natural advantages that suggest criticism is premature. At its best, real-time audience buying leveraging third-party data can pinpoint any audience, on any device, at scale. It also promises to bring market-like precision and transparency to an industry where price and other variables are often difficult to understand.

So the next time you hear an ad network -- or anyone else -- malign real-time video, ask them where they are getting their numbers. Top-tier inventory is increasingly out there, awaiting bidding.

6 comments about "Don't Buy The Negative Hype About Video Ad Exchanges".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Alex Merwin from SpotXchange, September 16, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.

    Great article, Brett. As a video ad marketplace, we've seen rapid adoption from premium publishers as well. Advertisers are demanding more transparency, targeting and control from their media buys. Coupled with increased viewership and inefficiencies in legacy fulfillment models on the publisher side it's been a 'perfect storm' for growth in real-time bidding and exchange trading in the video space. As you mentioned, the key to sustained growth will be providing publishers mechanisms to avoid channel conflict and protect their brands as programmatic buying takes on a more prominent role in overall yield strategies.

    ---------------------------------
    http://www.spotxchange.com/

  2. Randy Kilgore from Tremor Video, September 16, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.

    Sorry, but i can't accept the comscore top 100 as a proxy for premium publishers. i just refreshed my memory with a look at the list and there are many names that are far from household media brands. looks to me like another case of using statistics to tell the story fitting the agenda. how about this instead. call a publisher you think is premium and ask them if they'd put their inventory into an exchange.

  3. Brett Wilson from TubeMogul, Inc., September 16, 2011 at 6:17 p.m.

    Agreed that the Comscore 100 is not a perfect proxy for premium inventory, but it's not a bad one either. Publishers that we see frequently include Hearst, Tribune and Business Week and I think they would consider themselves premium. In any event, since the media buyable through TubeMogul is completely transparent (as is the reporting) advertisers get to decide for themselves.

  4. Randy Kilgore from Tremor Video, September 17, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.

    Now Tim, as I recall at your former company you were the co-chair of the IAB Digital Video Committee. You and I have worked together on a number of initiatives to help grow this sector, so I know your true nature is to create a rising tide and not to throw spitballs. While I can't speak for other companies, we actually don't talk about inventory at all. We talk about viewers, about brand marketers, and how to connect the latter's message with the former in a manner that improves the prospects for advancing the brand's goal. I'm sure there are lots of conferences and panels for folks to spend untold hours mining the nuanced definitions of premium and transparency. All I know is we provide brand marketers treasure troves of insights into what drives their video advertising's success.

  5. Randy Kilgore from Tremor Video, September 17, 2011 at 7:18 a.m.

    Now Tim, as I recall at your former company you were the co-chair of the IAB Digital Video Committee. You and I have worked together on a number of initiatives to help grow this sector, so I know your true nature is to create a rising tide and not to throw spitballs. While I can't speak for other companies, we actually don't talk about inventory at all. We talk about viewers, about brand marketers, and how to connect the latter's message with the former in a manner that improves the prospects for advancing the brand's goal. I'm sure there are lots of conferences and panels for folks to spend untold hours mining the nuanced definitions of premium and transparency. All I know is we provide brand marketers treasure troves of insights into what drives their video advertising's success.

  6. Ari Rosenberg from Performance Pricing Holdings, LLC, September 19, 2011 at 6:22 p.m.

    Sorry just caught this post so I am late to chime in but you guys are looking at this the wrong way -- of course there is premium ad inventory available through networks and exchanges-- but that doesn't mean advertisers who buy through these channels don't end up on soft porn and or any other garbage that makes up the entire pool of inventory. If the exchanges/ad networks fulfilled campaigns on just the "top 100" as Brett points out, then sure there is great value but the truth no one is willing to share is that only a small portion of the campaigns appear on these premium sites and that the highest percentage of the buy gets fulfilled on garbage sites clients would never buy directly.

Next story loading loading..