Leading Operations Online

The prognosis for programmatic video looks pretty bright: eMarketer estimates that ad spend will hit $5.37 billion in 2016, which is more than 50% of total predicted digital video ad spend ($9.59 billion). However, the current situation is a bit cloudier: issues with latency and standards are making premium publishers wary of the channel, especially when their pre-roll inventory is already limited. 

To improve delivery and efficiency, tech providers like VertaMedia have developed algorithms to avoid dreaded VPAID errors and improve fill rates. Advertising Director Alex Volker took me on a trip through the weeds of programmatic video, while also discussing the potential for outstream and what makes him giddy about the latest VAST update.

Gavin Dunaway: Issues with VPAID errors have long been a thorn in the side of publishers jumping into programmatic video waters...

According to Nielsen, the 2016 Super Bowl had a peak audience of 115.5 million and an average one of 111.9 million viewers on broadcast, cable and satellite TV – a slightly smaller figure than the previous year. However, 4 million unique viewers streamed the game through various digital mediums – desktop Internet, mobile apps and connected TVs – compared to 2.5 million the year before. The average viewer session time was 101 minutes and the average audience per minute was 1.4 million. Part of this surge could be attributed to CBS’s expansion of streaming to popular OTT devices like Roku and AppleTV.

Four million uniques might seem pretty puny next to 115.5 million, but at the same time we’re talking about the most popular live televised event in the world. The audience streaming the Super Bowl nearly doubled from the previous year, suggesting that when given access across platforms, consumers will diversify their viewing habits for live television just like they have for video. This is a harbinger of what’s coming – fast. 


There are few topics getting digital publishers chattering right now quite like header bidding. In a marketplace where many publishers long perceived buyers as having the upper hand, header bidding pits demand sources against each other, giving publishers a clearer idea of the true value of their inventory and how to quickly optimize. The practice is changing the programmatic landscape—publishers are seeing increases in CPMs, advertisers are getting closer to the inventory they value the most, and vendors in between are being challenged to re-think the ways they integrate and operate.

However, few would call existing header bidding solutions easy or straightforward. Integrations can be arduous. Implementation can cause technical issues, like page latency. And there’s a sense among many entities that current header bidding solutions are something of a temporary fix on the road toward...

Theorem’s 2015 survey of viewability trends, conducted for InSkin Media, show that challenges in measurement abound on both sides of the Atlantic. We asked Theorem VP of Digital Strategy Dominic Finney about differences in viewability between North America and Europe, how publishers can avert the effects of divergent measurement methods between viewability providers, and how the industry moves past viewability into qualifying engagement.

GD: I noticed in your report there seem to be a lot of people who are not happy with the current viewability standard. What in particular do you think is lacking?

DF: I think there are two fundamentals. Firstly, they’re okay with the standard as a starting point. The standard benchmark in the UK and Europe is at 50% pixels in view, and it’s very focused on standard display. That’s quite a...

As the ultimate destination for advertising and interface for users, digital publishers have long borne the responsibility of preventing malvertising and other nasty business from sneaking through. However, quality control is imperative for all the players in the advertising chain – and in the last few years, exchanges and p have begun to pick up the slack. 

The Media Trust CEO Chris Olson expounds on growing ecosystem-wide diligence (as well as where it’s still lacking) as well as the current state of ad quality and how user experience concerns are changing the entire digital advertising industry.

GAVIN DUNAWAY: What does ad quality mean in 2016, and how has it really changed in the past couple years? 

CHRIS OLSON: Ad quality is one important component of how user experience is faring. From The Media Trust’s perspective, ad – as well as site and app – quality is made up of four components: security; performance; first-party data control, privacy and compliance; and the “visual” experience....

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