Still Site-Serving Video? It's Costing You

  • by March 27, 2013

Ninety percent of all display and rich media is served through third-party ad servers (3PAS). Ask any online marketer, and they’ll tell you any number of rational reasons for doing it this way -- such as the ability to optimize, retarget and assure valid and consistent data, not to mention the sheer hassle that's involved with site serving.

In the display world, 3PAS is a no-brainer. So why is it that 80% of the 11.3 billion video monthly ad views are site-served directly via publishers?

One reason is that the universe of video publishers is smaller, leading to an “I’ll just DIY” mentality for buyers. Another is a perceived cost savings by working directly with the publisher. While reason number one will rapidly lose its luster as video continues its meteoric rise in consumer popularity and advertiser demand, reason number two is simply bad math. The costs of site-serving video can actually be huge -- in lost opportunity, increased risk and wasted impressions.



Digital and traditional agencies who continue to site-serve their clients’ videos are missing out on a lot of value from their video campaigns.

A little thing called optimization

One of the core benefits of online advertising is the ability to leverage real-time reporting to optimize targeting in a fluid cycle that continually ratchets up performance and ROI.

Optimizing and retargeting video -- let alone DCO -- when it’s being site-served is a nightmare proposition, not only because of the manual work associated with re-trafficking, but also because of reporting latency and the inability to scale across multiple publishers/or networks.

Using 3PAS, performance information is collected across sites, making continual performance analysis, targeting optimization and even complex DCO campaigns highly manageable.

Checks and balances

The vast majority of publishers and ad networks are reputable and trustworthy partners. But any time there’s an incentive for the misrepresentation of data and a lack of objective oversight, there is risk.

For example, agencies that use site serving for in-stream video will typically employ tracking pixels to feed data back into their ad server – as many as 13 for a standard pre-roll ad. The pixels must implemented correctly by the publisher in order to report accurate and reliable data, and there is nothing to prevent a publisher or network from reordering (intentionally or otherwise) pixels to record higher completions. For example, the “completion” pixel is moved to the video’s five-second mark. When billions of dollars of media is at stake, that risk is significant.

Using a certified 3PAS eliminates any competing interest between ad server and advertiser.

Interactivity pays

Research shows that when there is interactivity in your video (including site driving call-to-actions,) site visits resulting from exposure to ads grows by nearly 70%. In addition, interactive video garners a 2.5 times higher engagement rate than standard pre-roll.  If that wasn’t enough; video ads with high interactivity see average completion rates of over 90% (benchmark average is 70%) in a 10M impression campaign.  That’s 2 million more people that watched the whole spot. Right now, managing site-served VPAID ads is next to impossible.

Who’s in control?

Your data is valuable, so why leave that asset in the hands of your publisher? Site-serving deprives you of the ability to compare insights across publishers, campaigns and creative units. You’ll have no big-picture understanding of campaign reach and frequency and no power to use historic and holistic analysis to inform future campaigns. With 3PAS, your data is your data.

As the consumer use of video across connected devices continues to proliferate, agencies will be expected to drive improved performance through optimization and better targeting. The most efficient way to get there is by leveraging a platform that can execute and manage all types of video content; permits advanced targeting, optimization and interactivity; eliminates the risk of biased performance data; and empowers you to control your own data destiny.

Marketers who embrace 3PAS for video, as they have done with display, will get far greater ROI from video campaigns today and tomorrow.

2 comments about "Still Site-Serving Video? It's Costing You".
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  1. Lou Covey from Footwasher Media, March 29, 2013 at 12:45 p.m.

    The problem with this is that most video technology lacks the basic means to be truly interactive, a subject I wrote about last year on the Linkedin B2B Publishing group. Luckily enough the CEO of a startup called me!box Media contacted me through Linkedin and offered a test ride of their technology. The results I've had with me!box justifies everything in this article. Because the platform allows direct links to other content, including to the sponsors site, we've been able to triple and quadruple engagement on all our video content. A five-minute video can garner an average of 15 minutes of viewing time as the viewers scan through associated content. We've almost given up on text content (which has been our bread and butter for decades).

  2. Scott Clark from Innovid, March 29, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

    Hallelujah praise Mike Caprio, ha! Great article, well articulated, and a must-read for agencies, pubs, and 3PAS to keep the dialogue around this going. The challenges described herein are only getting worse in this cross-device world where pub and platform specs and analytics are so varied and inconsistent. And to Mr. Covey, I'd encourage you to visit and see the advances that have been made around interactive video for advertisers, at scale, fully integrated into ad serving and analytics.

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