What’s Trending in Video Advertising: An Interview With Kevin Gentry

sovrnmarketing // November 16, 2016

outstream video advertising

Video advertising has seen incredible growth in 2016 and we get lots of questions from our publishers about the types of revenue opportunities and video advertising technology. During this interview, we ask Kevin Gentry, Product Manager and in-house expert for all things video at Sovrn, what is trending in video advertising and how can publishers benefit from these trends.

CH – Thanks for meeting. Let’s talk about what’s happening in the current industry for video. The stats say video views and advertising is increasing significantly but what’s the story behind this. What is really happening?

KG – Digital video is increasing rapidly because it’s easier to consume video, it’s easier to connect. Data is cheap to buy and mobile phones – which many people watch video on  – are relatively cheap to get. Combine this with the fact that video as a whole is just a more effective storytelling media. A lot of people like this. While people still watch on desktop, a lot more people are consuming video on mobile devices. This is where the growth is, that’s the takeaway here.

Now on mobile, latency is an issue. Yet, in the future, this will be overcome with the transition over to fiber. Both DSL and cable usage are in decline.  So, fiber is a cool thing. The jump in speed compared to fiber from cable is just enormous. The one takeaway there is if we look at connectivity speed with fiber, latency is going to be a thing of the past. Waiting for a video to load has been a major frustration for viewers. You develop and design for the intake of viewers and readers but once fiber takes over the slow factor will be gone.

CH – Talk a little about the type of content consumed on video. Are there trends here?

KG – If we look at content consumption, like what types of consumption per device that people like to consume such as on TV, more long form content or on tablets, it’s a mix of long form and short form. Yet, on phone it’s completely short form. If you are targeting mobile, keep it short and sweet; from zero to five minutes. PC is still kind of short form, but there is of course some long form in there.

As a publisher, you have to be aware of your audience’s consumption habits and your video speed or Mbps (megabytes per second). As the Mbps increase, the video minutes per viewer increases. That’s a really awesome takeaway, so with an increase in Mbps, internet video viewership increases and we see more eyes going towards video mobile, and it’s just going to continue to go up into the right.

CH – You’ve talked about how more people are watching videos because it’s more accessible, latency isn’t so much of an issue and it’s more engaging as a storytelling platform. How do these trends impact advertisers?

KG – Yes, there’s all these stats around why video is so effective. As a result, a lot of advertisers love video and they want to sharing their brands and products in this engaging format. Because of these reasons, advertising dollars are going to continue to go toward video.

For U.S. digital ad spend, mobile is the fastest growth rate. Desktop is growing, but not as much as mobile.

If we break down digital ad spend to just look at video spend specifically and you look at that versus display, that’s a really interesting graph because display is decreasing over time. Video ad spend is increasing and we think that’s because of these increase speeds and better tech.

CH – How much investment do you think it would take for a publisher to create their own videos?

KG – That’s a good question, because essentially you could do it for free, right? It’s the time. And that’s where it gets frustrating and challenging for publishers and content creators out there. It’s because they don’t have a lot of tools and a clear path and way to host video and display it online, right? There’s not a clear, easy thing to do. They have to go download a free player that they have to learn code to, install, and then they have to go host their video somewhere, and they have to then tie in advertising. There’s a lot of steps. If they go with one solution, a lot of publishers lean towards YouTube because they’re familiar and it’s easy. But then they don’t get advertising revenue and they lose control over their content essentially because they’re putting it into a walled garden.

CH – For publishers who don’t have their own content, is there a way to include video ads on their site?

KG – Yes, that’s where outstream video advertising comes in. It’s where we can deliver video advertisements to publishers that don’t have video content so that they can monetize and kind of dip their tail into that video experience.

CH – How hard is it for publishers to get outstream on their sites?

KG – Super easy. It’s just as simple as copy and pasting a tag. It’s as easy as that.

CH – It is as easy as creating a display tag?

KG – Yeah, that will be like the first kind of process that we’re doing with our publishers. It’s just allowing them to grab a tag with and place that wherever they want that outstream unit to show. Wherever they place this tag, that’s where the outstream unit will show. And what it will do is fit the width of the container that it’s placed in. So, if it’s placed in the header, it will take up the header. Same with the footer. If it’s placed in the body, it will match that width and display the ad.

CH – So what’s some hot technology within outstream video advertising.

KG – That’s a good question. The focus of outstream is to be for the viewer so that it is very viewer friendly by giving the viewing controls to them.

There’s a lot of user actions specific for the outstream video that are specific around ads. You can close and eject players, you can play and pause the content and you can unmute and mute. Some outstream vendors do this, some don’t have all these features. Some people will let you replay the advertisements, learn more and click through to the ad. A lot of outstream vendors are doing this to keep the video in use so it will pause when it’s out of view.

CH – One of the key concerns with outstream is that fits the interest and context of a webpage. Where do you think outstream is going to go in the future to match the content of a publisher’s site?

KG – I can see people evolving these units to scrape the page content, maybe take keywords, and kind of use that as keywords in the bid request to send to advertisers so that they fill contextually relevant ads. And maybe publishers can have some option there to select content relevancy as well, so that’s another option.

If we could want to make it more automated, I can see scanning the page and do it in that way, maybe scanning images as well. That will make the ads more contextually relevant, but with the user targeting nowadays, targeting on the cookie or email address or whatever have you, to fingerprint this viewer. That ad will be completely relevant to that reader, but maybe not to the content of the site.

Giving the publisher options to choose what they want to advertise, is a little more the direction. I think always, viewers want to have more control, but they don’t want it to be so complex. They don’t want to have to mess with code to get it to do what you want, right. So, making something with a really good user experience for both the publisher and the content creator, but also the viewer as well is very important.

CH – Thanks for sharing your insights on how video in general and more specific, video advertising, is evolving in our marketplace and beneficial to our publishers.

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