Brightroll has released their latest numbers in regards to what US publishers are doing with online video and where they get their advertising. The thing they found that was really interesting was that 50% of publishers who responded state that they work with five or more ad networks! To me that means a big pain in the butt for managing it all and a fragmented online video advertising revenue channel.

Most Online Video Advertising Done Through Multiple Ad Networks

I am a publisher and I hate having to rely on a half-dozen networks to get a few pennies more in eCPMs. Of course, this is what the ad networks seemingly want, is for you to have to deal with them all so that you can get more revenue and they can make more off of your showing of the video ads. Perhaps that's just me, perhaps other publishers love having to constantly have a person managing the video advertising and finding those few pennies more and making sure that the ads that pay the most are being shown in place of those that are paying slightly less.

Me, I'd much rather a single place where I can get the best ad rates possible and not have to micromanage it all on a daily or weekly basis. A single source for all the advertising where I can check in now and again to make sure that things are in order and that we're monetizing properly. It seems a full 26% of people responding to the survey don't care at all for ad networks either as they stated they're selling 0 to 20% of their inventory through them. So, again due to poor reporting or rather, question asking, that could be 26% that are selling none of their inventory through the ad networks.

The other 74%, according to the report, are selling 20% or more of available ad space through ad networks.

Three out of four publishers surveyed stated they work with three or more ad networks with the top reason being to increase overall revenue.

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This is most likely because some advertisers choose a single ad network for their campaigns and that's where you need to be in order to get the best rates available for a particular time period.

Perhaps the answer is the video ad exchange as only 5-25% of all that inventory is being placed on exchanges by one in four publishers with another 50% of respondents stating that they put 5% or less on them. So just a quarter of the publishers are using the exchanges for more than 25% of their content. That means tons of inventory are not showing up on exchanges at all.

Pros and Cons in the Online Video Advertising Industry

Reasons for using ad networks covered a wide range of things with ad fill percentage being highest (44%), CPM rate being second (32%) and more technical issues being slightly less important.

On the flip side, many cited standardization, or rather a lack of it, as a major force that is inhibiting growth in the sector. 42% stated that it is a major problem, though, it seems odd with VAST and VPAID being strongly supported in the industry. Perhaps it's actually just a lack of education? After all, 80% stated they can serve VPAID-compliant ads. It all seems somewhat contradictory. 61% reported that the ads they are being served from other sources is VPAID compliant. So then how is a lack of standardization holding things back? Somewhere around 80% should be showing VPAID ads already yet the ad networks they're working with aren't all supporting it apparently hence the 19% difference in capable and receiving VPAID ads.

I think they might actually be referring to a lack of standardization on metrics, pricing and such and not the ad servers themselves though it does seem like there is a problem in those numbers above. 39% stated that user experience interruption was holding things back and 31% stated technical integration. Few stated lack of advertisers, metrics and cost (all 20% or less)

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I have to agree. The multiple ways of integrating video ads into your ad servers and video players can be daunting, especially for smaller publishers. I have seen everything from a simple video player plugin, to a full on recoding of how your video player is placed in the page to some Javascript that basically prevents the video from playing until the ad is played or closed.

Standardization for integration is definitely something that needs to be looked at across the industry. But with a diverse ecosystem of proprietary technologies it's no wonder really. Perhaps there needs to be something from the IAB about the actual integration so that publishers are less caught up in the technical aspects of showing video ads and better able to get them on their content. B

Here's an example of text that will make some publisher eyes glaze over:

VAST is designed for any on-demand video player where the ad response is parsed prior to play. For example, use of this standard would be appropriate within an Adobe Flash player if the ad response was requested and parsed in ActionScript but would not be appropriate if contained directly within a SMIL playlist directly sent to the player.

There are also some reporting things, in my opinion, that need to be standardized as well, the first of which is what constitutes a view and that needs to be done before anything else. Some ad networks say 100% of an ad played is a view which is great, but some others are far from that number. The same goes with standard video content view definitions. Perhaps if we can get one done the other would simply follow along.