How can publishers make the most of Programmatic video within the Private Marketplace?

Yair Miranda

It’s a chaotic scene in the publisher video marketplace; advertisers are demanding more transparency, market gorillas – Facebook and Google are flexing more muscle and delays in video ad delivery are driving down monetized video views. Nevertheless, video is everywhere and video consumption is growing exponentially.

With the proliferation of video and the quest for automation, programmatic video is evolving into the the promised land for real time targeted video transactions. Already this year most video ads in the US will be transacted programmatically (eMarketer) and by 2019 video will account for 55% of total programmatic ad spend (Magna Global).

If programmatic video is key to the promised land of video monetization, then the Private Marketplace is the golden egg.

The growth of programmatic video combined with the availability of better quality video offered in short supply, has been contributing lately to the return of the Private Marketplace (PMP).

Within the confines of this online “VIP room”, marketers and publishers privately engage in an “Invite only” club where tailored deals are made and where control, a much coveted value on both sides, is finally possible.

Oddly not too long ago, the popularity of the private marketplace was in decline. PMP implementation by publishers was considered unscalable and advertisers weren’t exactly flocking to enter their ‘pearly gates’.

PMP deals tended to trickle down the publisher waterfall into an inventory abyss.  Casted to the bottom of the waterfall, publishers couldn’t tell which impression was desired by a PMP and which impression would be monetized on the open market at a much lower rate. In this bidder Armageddon no publisher wanted to offer their premium merchandise on the market for a watered down fee.

So what changed? How come the PMP for display, and ultimately video inventory, regained popularity?  And why is video in particular a good candidate for PMP?

Video header bidding helps place PMP back in the headlines!

With the introduction of video header bidding, video inventory was no longer trapped within the confines of bidding silos, or limited only to direct deals. Similar to display, header bidding in video unleashes a flat-level playing field, where all inventory is fair game within the private marketplace and beyond. Finally, yield optimization which is the single most important point for publishers considering programmatic video, can be realized.

How is it possible to activate video header bidding in the PMP?

Although video header bidding significantly increases publisher’s yield optimization in real time in the programmatic private marketplace, two main pre-conditions must exist for it to realize its full potential:

Firstly video header bidding needs to be built for video specific transaction processes. Video header bidding as opposed to display must account for an additional layer of complexity. The code is in the player, not the publisher’s home page header, as in display.

Bidding doesn’t even begin until the player has begun loading, which raises the risk for latency.  Worse still, VPAID validation, a common error elimination process, occurs only on the client side. To truly provide the level of yield optimization expected from programmatic PMP deals, video header bidding must transact both over the server and the client side. If demand partners are paying premium fees and expecting high returns, then a compromised viewer experience, dwindling eCPMs and the failure to possibly deliver may sour the deal.

Another pre-condition contributing to video transaction success within the PMP is the site’s ability to produce a certain volume of traffic.  After all, the secret sauce of programmatic trading is audience data. Data insights help advertisers improve their audience targeting, which influences their likelihood to pay premium rates. Data insights also empower the publisher with the leverage to raise inventory rates.

Advertisers have a lot to gain. Publishers have even more.

Once armed with the necessary data, publishers, within the controlled confines of the PMP are better able to control their inventory, measure their revenue from their inventory and apply predictive modelling and forecasts while fostering more trustworthy relationships.

Knowing how many impressions will be served and what video will be loaded for which audience further helps publishers to optimize their workflow and makes it easier for them to control the context of their website. For publishers it gets even better when you throw in the ability to automate insertion orders, ad code configuration and eliminate human error.

In summary:

The PMP model has in many ways created an automated version of the traditional transaction scene prior to the programmatic era. With the meteoric rise of video viewing, and the limited supply of video inventory, publishers are justifiably favoring video transactions behind the velvet rope.

However, although these select trading havens come with a lot of attractive offerings for advertisers and publishers, compromised video technologies and processes can seriously disrupt the programmatic machine’s yield. It pays to team up with a technology partner with the right private marketplace infrastructure on one hand and expertise in video yield optimization on the other, to truly benefit from the modern private marketplace.