Commentary

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:

Targeting
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.

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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.

Optimization
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!

3 comments about "Video Ad Platforms Begin To Add Value to Video Inventory ".
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  1. Tim Street from mDialog, January 19, 2009 at 11:30 a.m.

    There is a large volume of video inventory on video podcasts but for some reason most marketers have not yet discovered it.

    There are a handful of advertisers who are taking advantage of the targeted, intimate nature and engagement of downloadable video but there are hurdles in buying that media.

  2. Mark Garner from Planet Confidential Ltd, January 19, 2009 at 12:05 p.m.

    Would the author of this piece please go back and read it through. Does he really think that Media agency bods are going to be able to explain this to their forty and fifty year old clients, who then need to pitch a board? I have never heard such jumbled nonsense in my life.

  3. Tod Sacerdoti from BrightRoll, January 19, 2009 at 12:54 p.m.

    Mark, are you suggesting that complicated online media concepts should be dumbed down for the agency audience or that we should not pursue solutions that are hard to explain? Either road is full of problems, particularly as the platforms with the best products / technology will win in the marketplace. Btw, last time I checked, 95% of the readers of VideoInsider are vendors not agencies.

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