TubeMogul’s Nick Reid: Video Needs to Learn from Display’s Mistakes with Viewability

Nick ReidTransparency – knowing where your ads are seen – and viewability – knowing if they were seen at all – are two of the most controversial and commonly discussed issues in digital advertising. TubeMogul platform, a video demand-side platform, have been working to solve both. Here Nick Reid, UK Managing Director for TubeMogul, discusses Open Video Viewability (Open VV), TubeMogul’s growth, and the possibility of video being used for direct response campaigns.  You can see Nick speak on the viewability panel at New Video Frontiers in London, October 24th.

TubeMogul has been one of the companies working on the Open VV viewability initiative. How is that going and how close are we to actually solving the problem once and for all?

Founding the Open VV solution has given us the chance to make a difference and learn from some of the mistakes display advertising made with viewability. From our side, the technology and solution is certainly there and has been thoroughly tested across publisher sites. TubeMogul created the open source code to provide an opportunity for a single solution across the video ecosystem. We want anyone and everyone involved in video to utilise the technology for free and thus help rid the sector of misrepresentative ads.  The Open Video View Consortium now comprises 20 members, having grown from the original four members (SpotXchange, Brightroll, Innovid, Liverail), with companies such as Nielsen, TRUSTe and many others now on board. The real appetite and uptake has been from media agencies, who have a vested interest in ensuring that the ads they buy on behalf of their clients are actually viewable.

One of TubeMogul’s big selling points is transparency. What’s the cost of being fully transparent?  And why do you think more providers don’t offer full transparency?

Advertisers should be able to expect transparency as an absolute minimum and it’s our responsibility as an industry to make sure this happens every time. When technology providers are less than transparent, the reason tends to be because they don’t have the inventory or the scale desired by advertisers.

There is a significant amount of site duplication in the market and not enough unique, premium content, so businesses hide behind their non-transparent veil by not giving advertisers control of their own buys, and not accepting accountability. That means, aside from a brand safety perspective, brand campaigns are often delivered over non-performing and irrelevant publisher sites. TubeMogul is an open book when it comes to optimisation; our solution is built on the principles of accountability and trust, giving the control to the buy side based on transparent foundations.

Which markets in Europe are you seeing the most growth in?  

We are now active in 15 different markets across Europe, with customers ranging from agencies, group trading desks and independent trading desks to direct brand clients – essentially we work with all parties with an interest in brand advertising through video. Each of these markets is different; all have their various nuances and publisher / inventory dynamics. However, what remains consistent across Europe are the changing developments in consumer video consumption and the increased understanding and maturity of programmatic buying.

This will continue to grow and develop further, as was illustrated by research brought out by SpotXchange and the IHS last month, which forecasts that the European programmatic video market will grow at an average 77% per year between 2012 and 2017, reaching €626.5m in the ‘Big Five’ European markets: the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. On top of this, one third of all European online video ad revenue is forecast to be generated programmatically in 2017, up from 4.6 per cent in 2012.

The overall picture of video in Europe is that the future is programmatic. Our own company expansion and our customer partnerships illustrate that. This growth is built on the combination of wide reach from global exchanges, blended with more local language exchanges such as our partnership with StickyAds in France. Also, private/direct publisher integrations mean we’re now combining RTB with direct to form more mature programmatic ecosystems.

Are brands working with you directly?  Do they bring it in house or are they typically asking you to manage campaigns for them? 

We have a number of direct relationships and partnerships, which are often managed by the client’s media agency. As an advertising software company, we look to provide the technology to give the advertiser or buy side the control to manage and buy their video across multiple devices at scale.

Some customers just use our technology, as they have spent time and resources structuring their businesses with the in-house capability to manage their programmatic offering. Other customers see the partnership as both technology and also service, so using our support resources as part of the partnership. Either way, our focus from both a product and account management perspective is being simple, effective and accountable – this is best illustrated by the awards we have one such as the iMedia ASPY Account Management award for 2013.

Will video always be about brand?  Is there any possibility we’ll see it being more commonly used by DR advertisers?

We say that video and TV are the branding mediums. They have traditionally always been about reaching the right audience and delivering the right message in an effort to empower, entice, persuade and ideally drive the purchase intent and consideration. This has not really changed, in that TV ads tend to be an emotive way in which to communicate to a target audience. This tends to be a top of the purchase funnel activity and used as a prospecting tool rather than as a conversion or acquisition mechanic.

That is not to say the two are not linked and that they do not affect each other – as any attribution study would illustrate. What has now changed is that there is far more accountability when it comes to buying video, in the sense that we have increased transparency on the sites where an ad runs, transparency on the price and even on the audiences being reached, through validation with Nielsen OCR. This accountability gives the advertiser greater control and greater confidence in the knowledge that they are spending their advertising budgets on the right content and in the right context, reaching their ascribed target.

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