In-Stream Contextual Targeting: Improving the Video Advertising Experience in 2014

Adrian MoxleyOnline advertising has benefited from contextual targeting for years now, but video advertising has tended to lag behind as most tools analyse the page’s text rather than the video content. Here Adrian Moxley, CMO and co-founder of WeSEE, a video classification company, discusses how the advertising experience can be improved with contextual targeting that takes the video content into account. 

Ask any consumer what annoys them the most about online advertising and the chances are you’ll invite a rant about “irrelevant ads”. With so much content available online, individuals are now only receptive to advertising that aligns with their needs and wants. Up until now, targeting contextually has been difficult with video, but in 2014 we’ll start to see new automated visual classification technologies making it much easier to deliver more relevant ads.

The opportunities are huge for players on both the buy-side and the sell-side. Advertisers will be able to significantly improve their planning and buying strategies with better contextual targeting – delivering the right ad to the right person and alongside the right content. Keyword search history, purchase data and site views all lead brands to form a comprehensive consumer profile to enable this personalisation. However, in order to improve contextual targeting in 2014 and target consumers even more accurately, advertisers will need to understand how to achieve an even better understanding of viewers and truly classify the web – both textually and visually.

What is Your Online Audience Really Watching?

So, if you’re an advertiser, you need to start thinking. What are your potential customers interested in? Are they watching funny cat videos or football highlights? Do they share this content on social media? With the web having evolved into a highly visual, social and dynamic environment, advertisers only need concern themselves with what consumers are looking at on one given web page in order to target them effectively.

Likewise, publishers must think about how they can monetise their properties by providing a better experience for advertisers. They should look to build visual classification tools into their online properties, which can be utilised by brand advertisers to place highly targeted ads via an exchange and in essence create new additional inventory gained from the theme and content of their video.

In an age when companies collect massive amounts of data on their customers, the onus is on advertisers to show how well they understand their audience. Measuring relevance by analysing page content is essential for any brand that wants to separate itself from the competition. Brands must pay attention to both the images that consumers look at and the words they read on a page – it’s all about understanding how to place ads that are authoritative and relevant.

Textual Ad Targeting isn’t Enough for Video

Put simply, textual ad targeting isn’t cutting it when it comes to targeting ads against video. For example, while keywords might indicate that a consumer has viewed a video about ‘sports’, visual classification technology can provide more sophisticated insights by identifying additional elements of the video content, such that what was once tagged merely as ‘sport’ is in fact classified more accurately as ‘skiing’ taking place at Les Arcs in France. Discovering these specific details, and being able to automate this discovery, can mean the difference between poorly placed and expertly placed adverts against video content.

Publishers need to build ways to automate their visual content classification. It’s the fastest and most accurate way to ensure that ads are targeted effectively. With the ability to interpret user-generated video content in this way everyone wins, brands are more likely to achieve direct engagements, increase click-throughs and publishers ultimately will increase their revenues.

There’s no denying that the advertising technology sector has been relatively recession-proof, due to the huge benefits that digital advertising offers brands and businesses. However, video advertisers are still to fully capitalise on the opportunity these innovations can provide. It’s a crowded market and the key players in 2014 will be those that build a more intuitive ad targeting strategy. Relevance and targeting should be the priority for all video advertisers in the coming year – it’s the only way to deliver the more sophisticated, highly targeted advertising experience that savvy consumers are looking for.

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