Start-Up Aims to Improve Ad Targeting for Online Video Content

As both consumer-generated video and premium content gain popularity on the Web, marketers are casting around for ways to better target ads in the streaming media landscape. Start-up YuMe Networks thinks it has an answer with a new ad network that purports to target marketing messages based on video transcripts, geography and other factors.

Media buyers can dynamically vary creative based on time of day, content, and geography, inserting up-to-the-minute or regional promotions for instance. A spot for a car manufacturer could list the closest dealership, according to the company. Ad formats include pre-roll and post-roll units, as well as in banner units outside the video player.

Metacafe signed on as a publisher in the network, and national advertiser HouseValues is an early advertiser. Both participated in a YuMe beta test that saw 300 x 250 Flash-based units appear in 15 U.S. cities, and expressed happiness with the results.

“What YuMe has, the ability to target creative based on the market, is critical to us,” said Nikesh Parekh, VP of consumer marketing at HouseValues. “We’re going through some flex in the real estate market, and to be able to test the creative, customize creative by geography, and get reporting back, is critical for the long term strategy for us in video.”

YuMe has put in place measures to safeguard against ads running on inappropriate material, particularly with regard to CGM, and also to prevent brand adjacency mishaps. YuMe has software that looks at metadata, speech and other elements and then categorizes the content. The software, along with a team of 23 in India, cull through the videos to verify the content within them and make sure it is safe for advertising.

Buys are made by category type, with both premium and CGM content separated further into categories like sports and news. Publishers have the ability to scale price based on content type, top viewed videos and other classifications.

YuMe is not a blind network; advertisers are provided URLs where their spots will run. “It’s a measure of confidence,” said Jayant Kadambi, co-founder and CEO of YuMe Networks. “It makes the creative more valuable, targeted to the customers [advertisers] are trying to reach.”

HouseValues’ Parekh said knowing where the ads will run is “extremely important.”

YuMe also reports back to advertisers on when ads ran and how many were clicked.

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