"On TV And Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in programmatic TV and video.
Today’s column is written by Ted Dhanik, CEO at engage:BDR.
Publishers, here’s why fill rate is low. Advertisers, this is why viewability is dismal and campaigns aren’t serving effectively.
Picture this: A brand or agency creates two versions of its creative, Flash and an HTML5-supported video file. They upload the creative and think they’ve done their job. We’ve talked Flashpocalypse to death, right?
VPAID Wrappers Impact Publishers And Advertisers
The damage does not stop there. A publisher wants to monetize as much of its inventory as possible, so it may stop serving the demand source’s impressions entirely when it realizes that it is bidding on traffic but not actually filling it when it wins.
Let’s say I am a publisher with a video impression to fill. The user is in Chrome, where Flash is blocked. I call on a demand partner and that partner, an ad network, responds with its tag. Its VPAID wrapper is Flash-based. The ad cannot be executed, regardless of whether or not the advertiser used the correct file type. That impression dies.
Why am I, the publisher, going to keep working with someone who doesn’t fill the impressions they buy? I am going to automatically optimize that partner out, and then the advertiser ends up confused and frustrated when the campaign is not fulfilled.
Why Aren’t We Talking About VPAID Wrappers?
I don’t think most people realize the magnitude of this problem, or even its existence. In our fragmented industry, few players have a bird’s-eye view.
In The Meantime
Assuming they have updated their video player versions, there’s not much that publishers or advertisers can do while they wait for the industry to catch up. I suggest they audit their partners and start asking questions. If we can raise awareness about the issue, companies will be forced to make the necessary changes.
In my experience, the VPAID wrapper issue is responsible for at least half of publishers’ unmonetized inventory. Unfortunately, publishers often don’t have a voice in ad tech. Some publishers may circumvent this issue if they only sell media directly to advertisers, but to best serve the vast majority of publishers who rely on external solutions, the guys in the middle need to make some changes.
Again, it doesn’t matter if the brand or agency did everything right. If they buy from a trading desk that then buys from an ad network that ultimately purchases the publisher’s inventory, and there is a Flash VPAID wrapper somewhere in that chain, both the publisher and the advertiser suffer.
Ad servers, I implore you: Update your VPAID wrappers immediately.