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Please look directly into the camera: why all eyes should be on video

Steve Wing, Managing Director UK/Nordics, Rubicon Project
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The growth of video has been on everyone’s minds recently. Yes, a lot has changed since the time when there were only three terrestrial channels to choose from. And, probably, most people under the age of 20 have never heard of a TV guide. But what is all the fuss really about? And importantly, how can media buyers and sellers keep up with the shift in video consumption, and make programmatic work for them in the future?

 

Video is advancing on all fronts in Europe

There’s no question that ad spend has started to shift in the direction of video, with IAB announcing that video ad spend grew by 64.6% in 2017 compared to 2016. What’s more, nearly three quarters of video (74.1%) was traded programmatically that same year.

So, with all the change over the past half-decade, the near-total monopoly that traditional linear TV once enjoyed over all moving image media buying is dwindling. Today’s digital era brings many new forms of video for buyers and sellers to consider and, out of these, connected TV in particular means serious business. If you want to put a number on it, SpotX has found that connected TV advertising across the five largest TV markets in Europe could be worth up to €825 million in 2020.

The industry’s movement towards video is a clear reflection of the way in which consumer habits are becoming more independent. People today seek to watch content when they want, where they want, and on the connected device they choose, whether it’s a smart TV, desktop, mobile or tablet. A plan for the continued rapid pace of change ahead is most definitely needed.

 

How do media buyers and sellers keep up with the pace of change?

Advertisers are rushing to get on board, and now demand appears to be outstripping supply. The question remains, however: with inventory in short supply, how can we match demand sources with their target audiences as efficiently as possible?

Header bidding is a major innovation that’s helping to open up the trading of digital ad inventory, including video inventory. By opening up more demand sources, this can result in higher CPMs for sellers, and help advertisers reach the right audiences through video. And today, open source technologies like Prebid.org allow media owners to integrate the necessary header bidding technology for free. It’s this sort of community-driven innovation that means no one should be left behind in the movement to video.

If header bidding is going to work smoothly with video, however, then reducing latency must be front of mind for the industry. This is particularly important for video header bidding because videos take time to load, meaning any additional load time for ads needs to be kept to a minimum. The good news is that header bidding is moving server-side, helping to tackle the latency issues that came with client-side header bidding.

It’s also worth considering Private Marketplaces for video inventory, which give more control to premium publishers and media owners over which advertisers’ creative they will show. This is yet another way to drive CPMs, as well as increase transparency for advertisers trading programmatically as we move into the future.

Indeed, the industry is continually shifting more and more attention over to video. But now it’s time to look directly into the camera.


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