Publishers Need a Tech Stack Built for Video: Q&A with Dvir Doron, Cedato, July 20, 2017

Out of the challenges publishers face, being technically prepared for the complexities video presents is at the top of the list for such a valuable revenue channel. Dvir Doron (pictured below), CMO, Cedato, speaks with ExchangeWire about the importance of tightly integrated technology and the advantages of video header bidding.

ExchangeWire: What are the key pain points for publishers in the video marketplace?

Dvir Doron: Video definitely represents the most promising revenue opportunity for publishers these days, and is probably the most sought-after format by marketers. Yet video is complex to deliver, manage, and monetize, as viewers consume video content and ads on myriad devices, expecting a seamless viewing experience on every screen.

Furthermore, video requires a set of tech stack components working in concert in order to run effectively: high-quality delivery and playback across mobile and desktop, specialized ad serving, yield optimization, in-stream and native formats, video header bidding, and the list goes on.

Larger publishers usually have the necessary resources and technical expertise to effectively tackle these challenges with house-brewed solutions or by painstakingly integrating various pieces of the puzzle. However, midsized and smaller publishers are much more limited in their budgets and capacity to implement, integrate, and manage fast-changing video ad tech pieces. Traditionally, these publishers relied much more on SSPs and media partners to keep them on top of these tech challenges; but in video, this approach is significantly disadvantaged.

What are the ways for publishers to reclaim control and profit using video?

Based on our experience with publishers, we’ve seen how important it is to tightly integrate video delivery and yield optimization to achieve the best business results, while maintaining a great viewing experience and keeping users on site. And, as the world is rapidly becoming mobile-first, this is getting more and more challenging to achieve with older, display-age technologies.

To realise the full opportunities of modern video advertising, which intelligently places video within any type of content and feed, publishers would be wise to look for a technology stack purposely built for video. Furthermore, it’s worth noting the tectonic shift towards SaaS-based fees, which keep revenue chains simple and transparent.

How can publishers, especially smaller publishers, help to alleviate poor viewing experience and video quality?

A large part of the problem results from the age-old waterfall (a sequential optimisation model originally launched in the 1990s) which is still the most widely used yield-optimisation mechanics for video for most publishers today. It comes built into their ad servers, and it’s very easy to set up.

Moving to video header bidding can dramatically improve latency and deliver a much better viewing experience, but this will only work for header bidding solutions purposely built for video, with predictive optimization that enables you to effectively cut through long monetization chains.

Everyone’s getting caught in the rush of header bidding, and for good reason. Once considered a ‘publisher hack’, it’s now become a fully standardised practice in the industry, expanding demand visibility, yield, and fill rate for publishers.Do you see header bidding taking off or video? Are there too many technical complexities? Will players in the space be supportive or try to squash header bidding momentum for video?

Video, as usual, is more complex, and we’re seeing recent debate over ‘server-side’ versus ‘client-side’ implementation practices. This is exactly the type of discussion that keeps the smaller publishers away, as it further adds perceived layers of complexity for an over-burdened team.

Yet, the benefits of video header bidding are overwhelming, especially considering that conventional RTB techniques don’t perform well enough for video. When video header bidding is an integral part of the video stack, tightly integrated into the ad server, the video player, and the yield optimization layer, it becomes simple enough to replace the waterfall. When video header bidding intelligently runs on the server side, and on the client side, it will provide the optimal results for all modern video opportunities.

What lies ahead for programmatic video trends?

Programmatic is the fastest-growing sector of video advertising, with the majority of video ads last year being transacted programmatically. We’re seeing header bidding as the next generation of programmatic, reshaping the value chains. If you’re a publisher, media platform, SSP, or DSP, your business will be impacted.

In the next two years, we expect more and more publishers of all sizes to embrace programmatic video – new tools, platforms, and technologies will ease this migration.

Finally, a big component of programmatic growth is the evolution of artificial intelligence and big data. Machine learning is bringing us closer to complete personalisation, where each user’s ad experience is fully tailored and customized to their tastes. AI is being widely adopted to help create efficiencies that streamline overall processes, enabling user targeting and segmentation to be smarter than ever.