RTBs and Ad Networks Riding High for Online Video Advertising

RTBs and Ad Networks Riding High for Online Video Advertising

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In the recent Adap.tv Q4 State of the Industry Survey on Digital Video Advertising they looked at how video advertising is being bought and sold. Since it’s Black Weekend, or whatever the unstoppable retail machine is calling it these days, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about selling stuff.

As always I like to give you some methodology so you have some idea of the scope of the research we’re talking about and so we can analysis, albeit briefly, the validity of the information.


A survey of 700 digital marketing and media professionals was conducted in October 2012 on current attitudes and practices regarding digital video advertising. Participants were contacted via email, and asked to take an online survey. Participants were first asked to identify their companies as brands,
agencies, trading desks, publishers, ad networks or DSPs. They then answered a survey of roughly 20 questions regarding their perceptions and practices relating to the buying and selling of digital video advertising.

The results were then compiled, compartmentalized, analyzed and then reported to us. The hard thing to determine is what percentage of the overall industry does 700 digital marketing and media professionals represent? Since we don’t have a valid answer for that we have to simply attach a grain of salt to the reports.

Buy Buy Buy!

So how are those 700 representatives of the industry purchasing inventory for their video advertisements? Compared to last year there have been some drastic changes in exactly that. TV upfronts saw a massive dip this year compared to last as did direct buying. That’s because trading desks nabbed a pretty big piece this year, DSPs saw large-scale growth along with exchanges and ad networks got a good bump as well.

Direct seems to have lost a little steam along with the TV upfronts. Since more advertisers are starting to plan TV and online video campaigns together it’s a pretty telling statistic. It also shows that if you’re employing a full on ad sales force you might be better off having them use some of the automated tools that the trading desk, DSP and exchanges provide.

Earlier this month I talked about Programmatic Buying Key to Integrated TV and Online Video Ad I was also referencing this same report. But what is programmatic buying? Well, that depends on who you are, but a large portion of buyers and almost one-third of sellers think real-time bidding and remnant inventory. Buyers also believe it to be buying a particular “audience” while sellers think less so. Maybe sellers need to start rethinking what programmatic means in order to align their thinking with that of the buyers they’re trying to woo.

Where the Buying Gets Done

So if that’s really the case in terms of programmatic buying then it’s good to know where everyone is turning for their RTB transactions and who is doing it the most. As it turns out, the trading desks are all using real-time bidding while everyone else is far, far behind. Agencies have the second highest adoption rate of RTB and they’re just at 52% with brands a close third at 48%.

Now if we look at the above where we saw what everyone was using to buy video advertising, we can then compare it to where everyone is selling their video inventory and see there’s a slight disconnect.

Publishers are trying to sell more at the TV Upfronts, but the buyers are using them less.

Sales teams have taken a hit which lines up with the lower direct buying and ad networks are the clear winner with both buyers and sellers, which makes me believe that the RTB offerings that major online video ad networks rolled out early this year (and which I thought would be a major trend) have indeed had an impact.

That’s a Wrap

So, if you’re a buyer looking to find inventory, or a seller looking to fill inventory, you need to get on the same page. Ad networks and real-time bidding exchanges are definitely a strong force in the marketplace right now. If you’re not utilizing video ad networks or RTB exchanges, you are probably losing out and that could be why you’ve got 50% fill rate or lower. You’re selling in the wrong place, like ice cream in Antarctica. Sellers need to shift their focus to where the buyers are, and now, with this recent research, you can do that because you have a general idea of where they are looking when they want to buy ad inventory.


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