It's time to shine a light on misconceptions surrounding video ad serving and see it as a logistical step in the campaign activation workflow, writes James Levy, Vice President, Strategic Sales at Extreme Reach
A video ad server is the foundation of the advertising technology stack. It’s also one of the most misunderstood, incorrectly veiled in an illusion of complexity and sophistication. In large part, this is due to the rapid evolution of the digital ecosystem and its swift coupling with the complex art and science of programmatic media buying and data-driven audience decisioning.
It has been a tumultuous couple of decades as the internet changed the face of marketing — and thank goodness it did. Reaching consumers today across any screen is nothing short of game changing.
But the act of playing an ad on a screen should not be shrouded in myth. It’s time to shine a light on some of the misconceptions surrounding video ad serving and see it clearly, as a non-subjective logistical step in the campaign activation workflow.
Here are four myths about video ad serving and why they need busting:
1. Choosing an ad server requires an extensive amount of planning, buying, and ad ops expertise
Video ad serving is not so mysterious. At the core, it is the mechanism to play precisely formatted creative assets from the cloud in response to an ad call, according to the media plan and based on targeting parameters. It is the essential system that powers the magic of brilliant digital teams.
2. The right solution depends on one’s digital media plans and buying strategies
Along the rapid blur of change, ad serving was understood to be - and viewed as - part of the media buying process. The reality is that it comes into play after the plan is approved and the buys are in place. It’s time to welcome more stakeholders to the table when selecting a video ad serving solution because there are inherent dependencies on other critical workflow steps, like preparing the creative assets and ensuring rights compliance.
3. Video ad serving is inseparable from the demand-side platform (DSP)
Ad serving has become conflated with other parts of the tech stack, when, in reality, it stands on its own as the mechanism for associating the correct marketing message with each media opportunity. It is simply the technology that instantly reacts to an ad call from the DSP to play the right, perfectly formatted creative.
In fact, there are many benefits to selecting a video ad server-of-record that becomes the independent, single source of data no matter how plans and buying strategies shift or change.
4. Selecting a video ad server only affects the digital video ad ops team
The digital experts should absolutely lead the discussion regarding digital ad technology, and the video ad server should stand up to the most robust selection criteria. But it is fair to expect other tangential benefits from a video ad-serving solution that impact other parts of the organisation.
For example, teams should consider the power of a seamless connection from the brand’s creative asset library straight into the video ad server campaign setup software. And while digital teams are not traditionally accountable for rights tracking, one can well imagine the value of leveraging simple technology to track assets across every screen to prevent unnecessary infringement of rights agreements. In addition, that connection to creative assets enables deep insights, including: engagement metrics and enabling optimisation in near real time, understanding which assets were used the most, and which were not used at all, and a full view of ROI on production.
Expect more from a video ad server
Selecting a video ad serving solution must meet the requirements of the digital activation team. They will be the day-to-day users, working in the software to set up, launch, and optimise plans. Marketers of course want their external and in-house agency teams doing just that - flawlessly executing campaigns and continuously optimising them. Marketers also want their teams to deliver on a creative messaging strategy, not spending days or weeks hunting down the right assets, waiting on digital transcodes, or dealing with endless file rejections. And, marketers want to avoid costly rights infractions from far flung assets playing across an untethered media landscape that take dollars away from working media. Our own research shows that those fines can run as high as six, or even seven, figures.
Video ad serving is a vital and foundational piece of omnichannel campaign activation workflow, and a critical component of the entire convergent TV creative activation process. Seeing it as such, and expecting more from your ad server, can open opportunities and solve widespread issues of speed to launch, and risk of non-compliance in one fell swoop.
Whether you’re a marketer or agency looking to advertise on any digital or linear screen, Extreme Reach brings speed, accuracy, and deep insights to every campaign launch. Reach out to talk about what that would look like for you and your team.
Posted on: Friday 10 March 2023