Video ad network BrightRoll has launched a self-service ad exchange for trading video ad inventory, and hopes to introduce some of the data-driven ad buying practices now commonplace in the online display market to the video space.
The exchange will pool inventory from a range of sources, including online video sites, publishers' video players, ad servers, and ad optimization platforms into a single marketplace, allowing media buyers to efficiently select and purchase inventory based on dynamic bidding technology.
BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti said the exchange, dubbed BRX, is intended to make the bulk buying of video inventory a more efficient, less labor-intensive process. He added, however, that the major advantage of the platform is its ability to integrate targeting data into the decision process, either from an advertiser itself, or from a third-party provider.
Although ad networks such as BrightRoll and its contemporaries do offer behavioral solutions, Sacerdoti suggests a lack of scale of available inventory makes practices such as retargeting difficult. "If you ask advertisers, no one has really been using video retargeting because of the scale issue," he said, suggesting most "behaviorally targeted" video ads were being served within standard display ads, rather than as video pre-roll.
"If we can pool a large amount of inventory it will be a significant step. Buyers just don’t have that inventory access," he added, comparing the evolution of video advertising to that of the display ad market.
Indeed, the company says it plans to begin working with demand-side platforms, and has already begun targeting campaigns for clients using third-party data - an increasingly common practice in the display space with the emergence of Demand Side Platform firms such as Invite Media - which was sold to Google in June - and data brokers such as X+1 and Exelate.
According to Sacerdoti, BrightRoll's offering is the first platform to offer exchange functionality in the video space, but he expects Google's potential entry into the market soon, feeding video inventory from YouTube into its own DoubleClick Exchange.
"From our perspective Google is the only [competitor] out there that matters," Sacerdoti said, predicting that Google could begin moving YouTube content into its DoubleClick exchange. Google's acquisition of Invite Media suggests it recognizes further growth potential in such technology, unlikely to be limited to the display market alone. Google did not respond to requests for comment on its plans to introduce video into its exchange.
Over the past year video ad networks have shot up comScore's rankings of online video properties serving ads. According to the measurement firm, BrightRoll's network currently serves the third most video ads to U.S. users behind Hulu and Tremor Media, and served over 50 percent more ads than Google sites in June.
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March 19, 2014