LiveRail

Published by: Talia Carr , HealthiNation, us
Published on: January 12, 2012

Hey all,

We're currently in the process of evaluating ad-servers, (we ad serve both video and banners - not always together) and LiveRail came up. Has anyone worked with them as a video ad-server? Or in any capacity? Any insight would be much appreciated!

Thank you!

Comments

Hi Talia,
I'm Ronan McCarthy - Head of Ad Operations at Perform Group. We have been using LiveRail for over a year now. We have a worldwide video offering through our ePlayer product (http://eplayer.performgroup.com/), this is a syndicated delivering over 400 million video streams a month.

We have complex reporting requirements to deliver stream and revenue reports by publisher and content level. We have been able to use system variables in LiveRail outside just their content tags. This allows for reports on partner/publisher to be pulled from front end reporting tool. For more complex reporting requirement we have built a data warehouse which download via API daily feeds from LiveRail.

We have found LiveRail to be intuitive system to use and the ability to set rules around certain inventory has simplified complex campaign set up, specifically around VAST integrations.

I’m based in the UK but I have members of my Ad Ops team worldwide. A useful feature of LiveRail is ability to limit access to certain IPs or inventory sets for Ops teams , this has ensured greater control by my central team.

Thanks,

Ronan

Paid Member

Hi Talia,

You are doing the right thing by reaching out to others to learn of available solutions and get an idea of some of the pros and cons, but keep in mind everyone's experience can be different. As you can see from the various replies, there are a lot of great solutions out there, and the key is finding the one that is best for your organization.

Definitely make sure you focus on the specific needs of your organization and document (and prioritize) your requirements, as that'll really be the test of finding out what solution is best for your specific needs. We work with a lot of folks evaluating various solutions (ad servers, contract management, video, etc.) and the key is to make sure you go into the decision making process knowing what's really important to your business.

You'll get lots of good information from your peers, but you'll need to sift through it to make sure it's meaningful to you as what may be terrific for 1 person, may not work well for you, and the reverse also holds true that something could be a disaster for someone else, but ideal for you.

Good luck with the decision making process, and as always, don't hestitate to contact us if we can help in any way.

Brian
AdMonsters Professional Services
blineweaver@admonsters.com

We've been using LiveRail for over a year and I've found them to be hit and miss at times, but generally pleased overall. Some of it can be confusing if you're diving into something that has already been set up (as I did), as you're not setting it up from the ground up.

It is very much self-service and they are constantly making enhancements to their reporting capabilities as well as the overall platform -- I have a bigger interest on the reporting side. If you have a large international presence, I do believe that the LiveRail team is focusing on bringing on international ad sources for their exchange (which is great for us!)

As far as reporting goes, depending on how your site is set up, you can actually use "Verticals" for "tags", you can run reports much quicker, but are limited to, I believe, 50 that can be defined -- so if you're looking for a roll-up of a section for a quick overview, this would be the route you'd want to take and then set up a different scheduled report for the more granular content tags that are subsets of the verticals. Again, depends on the set up of your site. The UI can be a little slow at times -- when you're trying to build/run custom reports.

Their tech support is really good and responsive and if an email exchange isn't enough, they'll even request a number to reach you at! The account manager that we have has become more proactive in the past two-three months (relaying information on over to us) and is great for getting insights into what's going on in the market place as well as providing insights to improving set up.

The downside I've experienced with LiveRail is the latency (I haven't used additional video ad servers, so I don't know if it's something more general, or if it's specific to LiveRail) between video starting up and your site fetching a pre-roll (has to do with the way that LiveRail is inherently set up I believe)

Here's a link to an interview with their CEO via AdExchange: http://www.adexchanger.com/digital-tv/liverail/

Google (of course) will be rolling out their own version (I believe it's in BETA at the moment), which will be interesting to the video ad serving market -- I think it's quite slick and intuitive (especially if you use DFP already) and they also plan to alleviate the latency issue.

Cheers,
Mony

Thanks Mony! That's a really helpful summary. I'm relieved to hear that so many people are having a good experience with them given that I had never heard of them initially!

Talia

Hi Talia,

I believe the Adap.tv platform is worth further evaluation. We successfully support some of the very largest video content syndicators and video ad networks, and we assign fully-dedicated account managers & tech support to larger partners like HealthiNation. Our available marketplace -a separate but tightly-integrated business unit- is great for both buying and selling video to extend your audience or help fill any unsold video ad opportunities.

The Adap.tv video ad server -already robust- has been rebuilt from the ground up on even lighter code and has zero points of failure (POFs). And from a useability perspective, our UI is unmatched in its design and ease-of-use.

@Ravi: Regretfully I was not aware of any trouble you were having with our platform .. Let's reconnect this week so I can get a better understanding.

Thank you,

Daniel

Director, Platform Sales
Adap.tv
daniel@adap.tv

Hi Talia,

I remember working with Healthination when I was in Operative, small world.

I've been using LiveRail for about an year and went through the evaluation process like you before. We started off with Adap but have to change the server within two months due to several issues with their platform. So within two months re-evaluated all the servers again :). We started off with LiveRail at that point as they have amazing technical support. I would say most important feature is very simple to use but still you can customize rules and scenarios for content, domains, geo, cookie targeting and any possible scenario that you'll come across - this becomes very handy.
We did close to a billion impressions with LiveRail in past year, have over 300+ rules and 500+tags and never came across any issues.

Best luck in your search!
Ravi Tijare
SVP, Operations - Kitara Media

Great - these comments are really helpful. Thanks guys!

Talia

Liverail is a good solid platform. I agree with Byran that it does get a bit cluttered when you have alot of active campaigns. There is some work that could be done to help navigate this.

It doesn't forecast inventory down to a content tag level, but you can handle this by managing it at a vertical level amongst others.

I've got them running in a network capacity integrated into a number of different players without any real issues.

Support has also been great from the team in AU.

Hi Bryan,
I'll have one of the team reach out to you and we can dive in to examine your use of tags. Content tags are only one of the methodologies for targeting/reporting against within LiveRail and if you feel you have too many tags setup in the system and it's become unweildy, perhaps it would make sense to consolidate into broader content categories or use some of the other functions like URL or partner targeting instead. I'll ask the team to connect with you today, we'll re-examine your use cases and can probably come up with some recommendations to streamline your implementation...

Mark

Hi Talia-

My name is Kory aburke and I represent the Adobe Ad Platform (formerly Auditude). We are also a video ad serving platform working with numerous clients across multiple devices including MLB, Comcast, DailyMotion and numerous others. I think you would find our ad server to more than fit your needs and be extremely efficient and easy to use.

Please feel free to reach out to me at kburke@adobe.com at your earliest convenience.

Thanks!
Kory

Paid Member

We've been using them for a couple years as a video ad server for PBS. It's been hit and miss. Solid and reliable for serving, and easy to traffic, but if you have a lot of tags to target against (I'd say 50+), it gets overwhelming quickly as the UI becomes inefficient.

Hi Bryan-

If there's an opportunity for me to speak with you about the Abobe Ad Platform (formerly Auditude) to see if we can be more "hit" than "miss" for your needs, I'd certainly appreciate it. Please feel free to ach out to me at kburke@adobe.com if so.

Thanks!
Kory

Rocket Fuel