Programmatic Video Advertising on the Rise, Says New AOL Study

/ Sep 15, 2014


Online video advertising is definitely going programmatic, according to a new survey of marketing and media professionals from AOL’s And the growth is being led by both the buy and sell sides.

Fifty-one percent of publishers surveyed by AOL said they now make their premium inventory available via programmatic channels. While only a 2% increase from the previous year, a more significant change is in the number of publishers who said they don’t make premium video-ad inventory available in programmatic environments — 36% in 2014, down from 64% in 2014. Overall, publishers said 30% of their inventory is now sold in a programmatic fashion.

Spurring the adoption are private marketplaces, according to the study, which reports a 60% jump in the number of publishers operating private marketplaces in 2014 (32%) compared to 2013 (20%).

Among buyers, brands are leading the programmatic charge, apparently. Some 60% brand video spending is allocated toward programmatic channels, compared to traditional or direct publisher sales. When professionals from agencies/trading desks and ad networks were asked the same question, respondents indicated that only 38% and 44%, respectively, of their video spend went to programmatic.

That said, there is still an issue of buying “premium” inventory through programmatic means. For instance, though brands purchased 60% of video inventory programmatically, only 23% of this was referred to as “premium.” Yet across all buyers surveyed, 60% found premium inventory to be available via programmatic means. This suggests a disconnect remains for buyers, who might be adopting programmatic but don’t view it as the primary method for accessing premium content. “Judging by their budgets, brands may have discovered that plain-old video performs just as well when purchased programmatically as does premium inventory,” the study argues.

Another issue: Ad viewability, which 62% of buyers and 58% of sellers cited as a chief concern in online video advertising, placing ahead of ad fraud like bot traffic (buyers: 60%, sellers: 41%) and ad verification/placement (buyers: 40%, sellers: 26%).

The whole study, which also goes into programmatic in TV advertising as well as how buyers are shifting existing budgets to move more into online video advertising, can be downloaded here.

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