What it takes to load, play and monetize
The video player has come a long way. Ongoing improvements in standards, advanced integration and delivery technologies and the transition to html5 have all contributed to a spectacular leap in performance. And none too soon.
Changes in viewer habits, mobile growth and the emergence of programmatic video created ripple effects on audience-seeking advertisers and revenue-seeking publishers.
With video consumption predicted to reach 80% of Internet viewing by 2020 (Cisco), and video advertising spend surpassing 67% over the last two years (IAB), the play button has become the most compelling call-to-action on the web.
The ability to quickly upload video, seamlessly deliver an immersive experience across all devices and formats, and maximize yield in a programmatic environment, demands a stellar video player.
Below we listed five major developments contributing to the evolution of the modern player and its transition into a powerful performance engine.
1. Seamless cross-device and platform delivery
Consumers are living cross-device lives, and today more than ever in video. They have grown to expect a seamless video experience regardless of device, platform or format. To capitalize on the new reality, advertisers have been exploring ways to target the video viewer journey from device to device.
So, how can marketers and publishers reach the right video audience at the right time in an increasingly complex cross-device environment? Several player technologies emerged to address cross-screen video complexities on mobile, desktop and apps but stopped short when it came to some of the mobile formats and modes, particularly concerning the popular autoplay mode.
Advanced cross device player technology is making it possible to rapidly reach viewers across all browsers, devices and formats and is finding innovative ways to monetize in new native formats such as instream and outstream.
2. The shift from flash to HTML5
This month has been earmarked as the deadline for transitioning to HTML5 from Flash by the IAB. Flash, the go-to-software for video and gaming content has been renowned for its stability, performance and power consumption shortcomings.
Already dropped in mobile, Flash in video is phasing out of Desktop browsers in favor of HTML5 media playback. The new video players are waving goodbye to flash and making measures to deliver the more stable and powerful HTML5 video. Many of them come with HTML5-ready APIs that are designed to rapidly render video across all devices, platforms and formats.
3. The evolution of the optimized video player
Common video yield optimization solutions rely on a simple sequential waterfall, usually managed by the ad server. However, programmatic transactions in video are complex and error rates are still comparatively high. Recurrent VPAID errors and missed opportunities dramatically reduce the effectiveness of waterfall-based optimization while degrading latency and compromising viewing experience.
A more effective approach relegates more yield-optimization capabilities into the player, while tightly integrating it into the backend stack. This approach is much more resilient to video errors, with lower latency and far better yield and fill rate performance. The modern player overcomes complex challenges and errors and optimizes revenue per impression.
One of the reasons the modern player keeps getting better is because it offers a growing number of customization options. To some extent, customizing video player’s look and feel has become a relatively simple and straight forward task that does not require coding. Being CSS and HTML5 driven as well as VAST/VPAID compatible, many options including play button sizing, event triggers, and in-page interactions are possible.
Modern players that are integrated within a backend stack offer support for auto-play across all devices, video ad safety and more control over ad requests. With multiple options for player settings, publishers can select better ways to improve viewability, branding and revenue.
5. Metrics and Reports
Video ad metrics supplied through the player can open up publishers to advanced tracking and monetization options. Visual dashboards are making it possible for publishers to track performance in real time and optimize revenue through one control center. Reporting tools can include multiple data pivoting metrics with parameters that drive optimization to the next level. Finally publishers and platform providers can access insights that can provide in-depth reports across desktop, mobile, apps and connected TV.
In sum, the modern video player, as a primary building block in a seamlessly integrated tech stack, opens up a whole range of new transaction and optimization possibilities. Unlike previous generations, it offers more simplicity and flexibility while amping up the smart factor. To unleash the full potential of the programmatic video stack, it’s crucial to choose the player wisely.