Iggy Fanlo of adBrite Discusses Online Video Advertising

Last week, adBrite, an independent ad exchange, won a Stevie Award for the Most Innovative Company of the Year based on its 2010 launch of video pre-roll ad units. AdMonsters asked adBrite’s CEO, Iggy Fanlo, a few questions about online video advertising, video standards like VAST and VPAID, video ad spend and operations.


Q: Does digital video have enough scale to be a significant part of audience targeting buy through an exchange?

Fanlo: The simple answer is yes. However, the video inventory available through ad exchanges is much smaller than display inventory, which is why it’s important to work with an exchange that supports both. That way, advertisers can use audience targeting intelligence from the larger display inventory to inform their video campaigns.
Ad exchanges that support both pre-roll video and display campaigns open up a lot of opportunities for advertisers to retarget their creative across both formats. For example, an advertiser can target banners to anyone who watches their full pre-roll ad, or decide to only deliver pre-roll ads to people who have already seen multiple banners. This dual campaign tactic opens another door for online ad exposure, in addition to being scaleable for the advertiser.

Q: How has VAST and VPAID compliance helped your company operationally? Are you seeing a lot of VAST compliant publishers/video players out there?

Fanlo: adBrite is a big backer of VAST and VPAID, and we’ve seen its adoption increase quickly among publishers and video players. It’s been very useful to work with a single standard, rather than trying to integrate and troubleshoot hundreds of proprietary players. There’s still room for growth in VAST and VPAID – it hasn’t become as ubiquitous as IAB banner sizes, for instance – but it has already paid big dividends in our operations.

Q: How does digital video do in terms of performance compared with display?

Fanlo: That’s a good question and the answer depends on what performance metric an advertiser cares about. The CTRs on pre-roll video ads are definitely higher, between three and ten times greater as compared with display ads. I wouldn’t say clicks are the best representation of a video’s effectiveness, but they still matter.
Also, advertisers should recognize that video isn’t the best medium for direct response at this point. Pre-roll video CPMs are much higher, and the value comes with the sight, sound and motion of its branding effects rather than its direct response impact.
Q: In your opinion, what can we as an industry do to move TV dollars to digital?

Fanlo: This is something we’ve been thinking about at adBrite. First, simplify the buying process for advertisers. The ad tech landscape is intimidating for any media buyer, much less those used to TV ad buying. Second, cater to what TV buyers are familiar with, such as ensuring brand safety and packaging like-minded content into “channels” they can purchase together.
Q: What are some best practices you have for advertisers looking into working with an ad exchange on digital video campaigns? Do you have best practices for publishers looking to monetize their video inventory through an ad exchange?
Fanlo: Absolutely – we’re trying to level the playing field for both sides.
For advertisers, I recommend trying not to over-target their video campaigns. There isn’t enough premium video inventory on exchanges to micro-target at a large scale yet. Also, make sure exchanges are running your pre-roll ads in actual pre-roll placements. There have been examples of networks and exchanges placing videos in-banner or in below-the-fold players, and passing them off as pre-roll to the advertiser. Finally, don’t limit video advertising solely to short-form or long-form video content – the formats can complement each other well and bring different benefits to the table.
Publishers should make sure their video player is VAST-compliant, which will open their content up to many more ad buyers. Publishers should also test ad inventory in a variety of formats and placements across different pages – the best monetization strategies are unique to each website, so testing is the best way to find what works for them. Because advertiser demand for premium inventory exceeds supply, top publishers can benefit from the auction format so I’d encourage them to test the CPMs they can achieve from an ad exchange like adBrite.