Here’s something that we’ve needed in online video advertising analytics for a long time, the ability for the advertiser to know whether or not their ads are being played on user-initiation or automatically upon page load. Good old SpotXchange (‘sup Otto!) have announced that they’ve got this cool new feature to increase transparency and help brand advertisers get a better grip on their ad spends.

SpotXchange To Help Fight Video Ad Fraud

I’m sure some of you are saying “Yeah, so what?” The thing is that there has been, for quite some time, large amounts of video ad fraud. That can’t possibly be a surprise to anyone since both myself and Jim Louderback, of Revision 3, ranted about it in the past (‘sup Jim!) and TubeMogul did a whole study on it.

The problem was that no one was doing anything about it, until now. Alright, that’s not totally true, lots of places have been doing things about it and this is actually just another step in the process of whittling away at all the video ad fraud out there.

One of the major issues with video ad fraud is the placement of the player way, way down the page and then auto-playing to get the ads displayed and have the sound muted. That means the video player is then showing ads, off screen, with no sound and no eyes on the video.

This new feature from SpotXchange will help real-time bidders to determine who is auto-playing videos and who is not. They’re the first to do this on a real-time exchange. SpotXchange will offer its partners initiation type (auto-initiated versus user-initiated) information for video ad inventory in real time with every bid request.

Here’s what SpotX had to say:

There is a significant difference between auto- and user-initiated video ads, which results in two different user experiences.  An auto-initiated ad plays automatically when a user visits a web page, but the video ad does not block the user from viewing intended content.  User-initiated ads must be viewed by consumers before reaching their desired content, such as a video or game.  Because higher levels of consumer engagement are associated with user-initiated video ads, advertisers are willing to pay a premium for them.

Historically, however, user- and auto-initiated placements have been bundled together in brokered deals by ad networks and sold at a flat CPM.   With SpotXchange providing partners with initiation type information in real time with each bid request, SpotXchange’s RTB and direct buy partners can value each placement opportunity independently. This transparency coupled with robust audience data, leads to higher ROI for advertisers and increased yield for publishers, by providing high-quality inventory to the exchange.

It’s good to see the industry taking steps to change the way video views are determined, especially when it comes to video ads because that’s a lot of what ad buys are still based on. The better we can refine what a video view is and know when a video ad is actually being viewed, the better the industry will be as a whole and the more accurate all those studies about video ad effectiveness will be.