5 myths of programmatic video

Anything that can be automated in media will be automated. And increasingly, that includes video.

While the automation of display advertising went first, the same programmatic technologies are being applied to video. According to eMarketer, programmatic video ad buying is expected to be a $2.2 billion business this year. That’s up 204 percent from a year ago, although it’s still a relatively small slice of the $14.9 billion total programmatic ad market.

While many of the programmatic techniques are the same across media formats, there are nuances when it comes to programmatic video. Here are five big myths squashed by brands, agencies and ad tech firms at BrightRoll video summit on Thursday.

Programmatic is a time-saver.
Programmatic tech has helped media buyers achieve operational efficiency, buying large swaths of inventory with a few clicks. But across a company, it’s not necessarily less labor intensive than old-school media buying. Christine De Martini, global media and marketing director for Electronic Arts, explained that programmatic has streamlined the company’s media-buying operations and, consequently, increased the time it spends on data analysis. “We don’t save time, because it has unlocked so much more from the real-time metrics standpoint,” she said.

Programmatic will cut out publisher sales forces.
While most digital video inventory is still sold directly, programmatic doesn’t (necessarily) mean marketers and publishers stop talking to each other. Electronic Arts’ De Martini has found that the company’s programmatic video buys can be a first step into a deeper advertiser relationship. “It opens door with publishers,” she said. “We’ve identified which publishers are working better for us and treat their publications as ecosystems. It’s not that we want the lowest possible CPM and that’s it.”

Bots are a nuisance, not a real threat.
Brands investing in programmatic video are worried about ad fraud. And they should be: Global advertisers will waste $6.3 billion in ad dollars on bots (non-human traffic) in 2015, according to research by White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers. Video attracts an outsize portion of digital ad fraud because its high CPMs compared to display, said Wayne Gattinella, CEO of DoubleVerify.

Bots can be difficult to identify and root out, because they mimic human browsing behavior. “Bots shop, travel in the summer, they look like they’re going to be buying a car,” said Gattinella. “They do all the things that marketers and re-targeters want to spend money on. And their life cycle is 72 hours, so unless you’re quickly identifying who they are and immediately transfer that data, within 48 hours you’ve immediately missed the opportunity to prevent bot damage.”

Premium publishers are immune from fraud.
Marketers concerned about digital video ad fraud will often turn to well-known, reputable publishers with video inventory. But fraud affects those publishers, too. “We see fraud across the board. It knows no special place,” said Gattinella. “Even premium sites, based on how much retargeting they do, are buying inventory in the open exchange. They might have a very premium-looking visitor when that bot visited the site yesterday.”

Agencies aren’t keeping pace with the programmatic industry.
Media agency Universal McCann grew its programmatic business 50 percent for two consecutive years, according to David Cohen, the company’s chief information officer. Now the agency spends 15 to 20 percent of its total digital video budget through programmatic channels, he said. Why not more? “The thorny, tough topics are around fraud, brand safety and viewability,” said Cohen. “It is a little tiring, but in the programmatic video space, we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s a real issue and a real problem.”

Image via Shutterstock 


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