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Common publisher video advertising problems and how to fix them

5 minutes read
Common publisher video advertising problems and how to fix them

This massive increase in digital video advertising budgets means that publishers should consider their video monetization strategy very carefully and make sure they are partnering with the right companies so that they can fully exploit this market opportunity.

Fill rates, CPMs and revenue are the critical KPIs that publishers should look at when evaluating video monetization partners, but there are also many other potential problems that the partner should be able to help with to ensure that the publisher's day-to-day video ad operations and monetization continue to operate and perform according to expectations.

Let's take a closer look at some of the common problems in programmatic video advertising that publishers are facing today and how choosing the right partner can help in avoiding these problems.

Inventory Quality

Advertisers are always looking for video inventory that has a high video completion rate and a high viewability rate, so measuring these KPIs should be done regularly to identify potential problematic ad placements. Ad placements that have a low completion rate should be fixed by changing the characteristics of the placement, or the placement should be assigned a lower floor price that reflects the value of the placement more accurately.

Fraud continues to be a problem across the ad tech ecosystem. Many advertisers have, quite understandably, become even more sensitive to fraud in the past 6 months because there have been several high-profile fraud-related cases reported in the media (Methbot, 3ve, Cheetah Mobile, HyphBot etc.).

Most advertisers are now using third-party tools to measure the amount of fraud within the inventory that they buy, which makes it very easy for them to stop buying from publishers that have high levels of fraudulent traffic. As a consequence, publishers should also have an efficient way to measure fraud across their inventory to avoid nasty surprises and the tools that enable them to work proactively to decrease fraud.

Ad Quality

For publishers, the end-user experience of their web and mobile sites is critical. Unfortunately, it is straightforward in today's programmatic advertising ecosystem to unknowingly serve low-quality ads to users that result in poor user experience and ultimately drive users away from the site. The most common problems seen in video ad creatives are broken ads, malware, and client-side auction (arbitrage) tags that run inside VPAID ad units.

Publishers should deploy both automatic tools and manual processes to continuously scan the ad creatives that are served to their users and block creatives that are likely to cause problems. Publishers should also have very granular controls available to them to block specific buyers, brands, ad-types, and ad technologies.

Video Ad Errors

Serving video ads is much more complicated than display, and as a result, more things can go wrong in the ad serving process between the advertiser down to the video player that is rendering the ad on the end user's browser.

The ability to measure the error rate within the ad serving process is critical for publishers so that they can identify problem areas and fix things that are not working. Getting rid of video ad errors can typically increase revenues by 10%-20%, in some cases, even much more than that.

The most common video ad errors are caused by creatives that lead to an empty VAST XML, creatives that time out when rendering, are incompatible with the publisher's video player or have too many VAST wrappers. All these errors cause the publisher to lose revenue and harm the end-user experience of the site.

Finding the causes of these errors usually starts with a report that shows VAST error codes for each ad placement and advertiser/creative. Publishers should run these error reports regularly to identify problem areas.

Sometimes the error codes won't tell the whole story, however. In some cases, the video player can choose the corrupt media file from the VAST XML, causing it to fail. Also, the ad request sent by the publisher can contain incorrect information about the video player's rendering capabilities such as maximum bitrate.

Ads served through SSP video ad managers are increasingly common today. These ad managers are advanced VPAID ad units that execute their Javascript code inside the publisher's video player and sometimes fail without any apparent reason. Because of the black-box nature of the ad manager code, it is almost impossible for publishers to figure out why the creative is not rendering correctly.

Flowplayer approach

How does Flowplayer address these problems on behalf of their publisher's partners?

As a full-service monetization partner, we help our publishers generate the best possible yield from their video inventory, in addition to providing all the necessary customer support and tools to address the day-to-day operational challenges that are a normal part of any video publisher's life.

We continuously measure the quality of our publishers' inventories, including all the key KPIs such as completion rate, viewability, and invalid traffic. Based on these measurements, our operations team can help the publisher improve the performance of their ad placements and ultimately their yield since advertisers are willing to spend more on high-performing inventory.

Ad quality is a high priority, and we have deployed a process that includes both automatic and manual monitoring of incoming ad creatives to make sure that low-quality or unwanted ads are not served on our publishers' sites. Publishers can also choose to block specific advertisers, buyers, or ad technologies from serving on their sites.

We run video ad error reports on behalf of our publishers regularly to identify problem areas within the ad serving chain. We are often able to help publishers fix their player configurations so that the number of errors stays at an acceptable level, which in turn improves yield and end-user experience.

We are also in constant dialogue with all our demand partners and their tech teams to figure out how we can make the ad serving process more efficient and proactively address the constant changes happening in the technology of programmatic advertising.

Digital video advertising is complicated, but it can also be a significant source of revenue for publishers of any size.

If you are interested in discussing what Flowplayer can do for your video monetization, please contact our monetization team here: