Getting Started With Video Advertising

by Aug 9, 2018CMMA Blog, Media0 comments

As video advertising spend continues to grow (predicted to grow by 22% in 2018), more and more publishers have been pivoting to video content in order to delight their audience as well as drive new revenue streams. However, the world of video advertising is not always an easy one to navigate. Outside of the Brightcove video player and its IMA3 advertising plugin, there are five basic necessities that publishers should have before embarking on this journey.

  • Engaging video content 
  • Audience
  • Ad operations team
  • Video Ad server
  • In-house sales team (optional)

Create Engaging Video Content

The first item, engaging video content, may seem patently obvious. After all, how can you show “pre-roll” ads when there is no “roll,” but the reality is that not all video content makes a great fit for advertising. In 2018, advertisers and agencies have been growing ever more selective about which content they put their brand behind . Videos that focus on violence, mature content, drugs or other controversial subjects simply may not have a lot of success drawing advertiser interest. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but those will largely rely on publishers striking up direct deals with relevant advertisers. An important factor to keep in mind is that the video content should be truly compelling to your audience. Remember – a typical preroll takes anywhere from 15-30 seconds. If you expect your audience to sit through an ad to get to the content, that content must be worth the wait!

Know Your Audience

This audience will also be crucial in getting your video ad business up and running. The size of the audience is clearly important (the more eyes see your ad, the more money you make), but it is not the only thing that interests brands. Factors such as the geo location of your viewership, the devices they are using, how they engage with your content, among many others make a huge difference to your CPM and fill rate. For example, an advertiser may be trying to reach a demographic such as “female users, located in New York City, using iOS as a platform.” If your audience is primarily male Android users based in the Midwest, it is unlikely your ad space will receive many bids from this particular advertiser on the programmatic exchanges. Audience is closely related to your content which will partially dictate the types of traffic your properties will be seeing.

Ad Operations Team

Perhaps the most important step a publisher should take when starting its ad business is hiring a resourceful ad operations team (AdOps) to oversee its monetization efforts. A critical mistake some publishers make is to assume one person can both oversee the advertising strategy AND actually implement the technology while keeping track of metrics and resolving technical issues. Do not make this mistake! Troubleshooting discrepancies, implementing plugins, and monitoring campaign pacing add up to a full time job. And this is not even factoring in high level strategic planning and tracking performance against company revenue goals. An effective AdOps specialist needs an analytical mind, a deep understanding of ad performance metrics; (Can they distinguish CTR from CPV? Do they understand the relationship between CPM and fill rate?), and a respectable amount of technical aptitude. AdOps will frequently need to parse JavaScript, put together complex Excel tables, and trace ad calls via Charles Proxy or web console. Do your due diligence in finding an ad operations team you are comfortable with, as they can make or break your monetization efforts.

Selecting the Right Ad Server

Now that you have video content ready to be monetized, a large and engaged audience, and an experienced AdOps team, you will need the last piece of the puzzle – a tech stack that can actually serve the video ads to the player and its IMA3 plugin. This component is called an ad server – selecting the right one for your business is one of the most critical decisions a publisher needs to make. An ad server allows you to segment your inventory, create campaigns, target line items, review analytics, and connect your site to advertising exchanges and networks. The industry standard ad server is Google Ad Manager (formerly known as Doubleclick for Publishers or DFP) and is used by the vast majority of Brightcove customers. Ad Manager is the leading ad server mainly due to its robust integrations, relative ease of use, and close ties to Google Ad Exchange. Ad Manager has both a free and a paid “Premium” version that has more features specific to video ad serving. Publishers do have other options beyond Google Ad Manager, including Brightcove partners SpotX and FreeWheel . Each has advantages and disadvantages and finding the right ad server will involve a modicum of trial and error. However, it is very important to find the tech and company you feel most comfortable trusting with your ad revenue.

Advertising Sales Team

Last but not least, larger publishers should consider having an in-house sales team. Video advertising is generally split between two main business models – direct sales and programmatic. Programmatic is simply a digital ad exchange where a computer crunches the numbers and determines which ad is served where based on bids, targeting, and CPM floors. While this option does not require any interaction with agencies or advertisers, it does mean that you are at the mercy of the open exchange as well as supply and demand. This will fluctuate and may not always be reliable in terms of ad quality and consistency.

Alternatively, direct ad sales operates via agreed upon prices, signed insertion orders, and the human element for campaign management. You will also need an ad salesperson (or a team of them) to actively engage agencies and advertisers that would make a good fit with your inventory. Many publishers use both programmatic and direct sales to bolster their revenue while using their ad server to determine which type gets priority.

The landscape of video advertising can often feel fragmented and complex, but with these basic requirements you will have a great launching point. At Brightcove, we’ve helped publishers of all sizes succeed with video advertising, and we are ready and willing to be your trusted advisor through this process and set you on the path to monetizing all of that amazing video content your team works so hard to create.

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