Commentary

Why Advertisers Need To Embrace Adaptive Streaming

What’s the best part of online video? That it’s video.  As new multiscreen habits take over TV consumption, online video has become increasingly significant for advertisers to reach and engage their audiences. It was a key bit of technology that brought us here, coupled with the drive of broadcasters who recognized the demand for a TV-like experience online.

It’s time for advertisers to start caring about the experience as well.

Streaming video has been around a long time. In the early days, it offered our once nascent Internet connections a means to move beyond pictures and excessively long video downloads.  But the real tipping point was the introduction of adaptive streaming video.  For the first time, not only did the same broadcast and cable content on TV show up on your desktop, but watching it was like watching TV!

Full screen, on-demand HD video had arrived. Skips and stalls were a thing of the past, as was buffering.  Best of all, the video was responsive – constantly adapting to deliver the optimal picture and sound, regardless of the screen size or the quality of the connection.  The only thing missing was a set top box with a bad program guide and outdated software. In other words, it was perfect.

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Ad-supported programming goes mainstream

On-demand HD video resulted in skyrocketing online audience viewers.  The major broadcast and cable networks were putting up entire catalogs of content without a paywall and audiences couldn’t wait to gobble it up.  It may have been free, but, more importantly, it was good. 

Fast-forward to today, when networks and pay-TV operators have gone one step further by pushing ad-supported programming to every device imaginable – smartphones, tablets, and even connected TVs.  And if this year’s NewFronts are any indication, there’s going to be a whole lot more original programming coming online.

If consumers get it, why don’t advertisers?

When it comes to the experience though, advertisers have missed one big mark. The majority of online video advertising today still uses progressive downloads with fixed formats and resolutions. To try to ensure the “best” viewing experience, publishers have opted for placing file size constraints on the ads they serve.  

This is madness. It’s time for marketers to demand, and publishers to embrace, adaptive streaming for advertising.  Simply look at the benefits it brings to smartphones, tablets and connected TVs:  regardless of whether you have a 4-inch Apple iPhone or an 80-inch Samsung UHD TV, adaptive streaming is the one technology that ensures audience experiences are optimized for the right environment, and a brand’s message and image are shown with absolutely clarity.

Jumping in, head first

Adaptive streaming is an effective way to reach consumers, but it also opens the door for much more efficient and advanced campaign management.  Suddenly, advertisers can deliver a single tag to publishers to support all devices, with the continued benefit from all the intelligence, optimization, flexibility and efficiencies granted by third party ad serving.  

With major publishers starting to open up adaptive streaming for advertising, there’s never been a better time for marketers and their agencies to begin exploring some of these real-world opportunities.

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