Member blog: Who can make video buying simpler?
James Oyedele, Programmatic Solutions Lead, Adform
The video marketplace remains a tricky environment to navigate. While supply is continually increasing, sourcing and measuring quality video placements remain a challenge for programmatic buyers. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that unlike standard display and mobile formats, video is still primarily traded directly or in programmatic guaranteed deals.
Supply will always be a concern; the IAB Europe Attitudes to Digital Video Advertising report states that, “publishers are still establishing their supply and strategy; only 16% state that more than 81% of their ad inventory is video”. However, what issues are buyers experiencing within the existing video opportunities?
Firstly, video has become the umbrella term for the growing number of channels now available for programmatic trading. One of the most exciting developments this year has been the availability of TV supply in DSPs. Yet, understanding the true reach and technical capabilities remains a challenge for most buyers, especially considering the nuances between connected and linear content. Measurement and reporting are also issues. As the value of clicks continues to decrease, should DSPs instead incorporate support for traditional TV reach metrics like GRP?
Across other channels, there is still a lack of guidance or benchmarks on the optimal way for brands to reach their audiences. Should buyers set up and compare performance between pre, mid, or post-roll? Where does out-stream fit? Should you only target skippable inventory? Facebook and YouTube have experimented with micro video length formats and increased mid-roll ads (potentially the most user-unfriendly placements). YouTube are now adding multiple pre-rolls, a move which is quite unprecedented among premium content. The rise of ad-blockers demands we carefully consider matters of placements and intrusion in any assessment of video best practice.
Then there are the continued technical limitations throughout the video player/publisher landscape. Despite great efforts by the IAB Tech Lab to establish consistent specs, there is still considerable confusion over VPAID availability (45% of the publishers surveyed for the IAB report stated that less than 20% of their inventory was compatible with VPAID).
Further problems arise when trying to incorporate third-party measurement and verification tools, as many of the household names are not compatible with video (especially VPAID) or require custom implementation. This is particularly troubling when you remember that in HyphBot, one of the largest bot networks ever discovered nearly 90% of the fraudulent requests were for video inventory.
For the buyer, this all represents continued difficulties to plan and execute video campaigns effectively. Regardless, there is plenty of reason for optimism. We know that premium publishers are committed to creating and improving video availability. We know that TV is fast becoming a new normal in programmatic trading. Video is also the standard format for DOOH. Irrespective of programmatic challenges, video remains the most engaging way for brands to communicate.
The onus to solve these problems is now on tech providers, who must justify their fees by connecting supply and demand more efficiently. Both buy and sell side tech should not merely facilitate trading, but also provide clear differentiation between the different video opportunities we now have. DSPs especially should also offer precise tools to pair video with other formats, for richer storytelling and communication. Ad-servers, DMPs and other measurement partners should be able to attribute video views and completions to conversions and sales. A buyer needs a platform that can forecast, plan and execute against all video options. The need for every video impression to be properly measured and verified is equally important. We can’t rely on publishers alone for this, but instead require tech partners to provide buyers with the tools to support data-driven video investment across all available formats and environments.
IAB Europe invites the industry to share their thoughts on digital video advertising in its latest Attitudes to Digital Video Advertising survey to elevate understanding and identify areas for guidance to help with strategy development. Take the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PFBXC9X
 IAB Europe, Attitudes to Digital Video Advertising, March 2018 – https://www.iabeurope.eu/research-thought-leadership/programmatic/iab-europe-report-attitudes-to-digital-video-advertising/
Ibid. (page 4)
 Ibid. (page 4)
 Sloane, G, ‘YouTube beings showing twice as many ‘pre-roll’ ads, AdAge, Nov 2018
 Ibid. (page 13)
 Adform Fraud Protection Whitepaper, How Adform Discovered Hyphbot, November 2017 – https://site.adform.com/media/85132/hyphbot_whitepaper_.pdf
 HubSpot Inc. The State of Video Marketing in 2018,