3 Ways AppNexus Is Creating a Better Video Internet

Last month, AppNexus SVP of Video Technology Eric Hoffert took the stage at the Online Marketing Rockstars conference in Hamburg. You couldn’t have picked a better speaker for this event — in the ‘70s, Eric was an actual rockstar whose band, The Speedies, had a hit song. Eric even interspersed some of the band’s music videos into his presentation, but that’s a story for another blog post. The real focus of Eric’s talk was creating a better video internet.

Video is one of the fastest-growing channels on the internet. Stats show that the average U.S. adult spends one hour and 12 minutes a day watching online video, compared to just 46 minutes in 2013. As a result, ad spend for digital video has increased rapidly. But to continue on this trajectory, we need technology that improves the way video ads are served.

With his pro musician days behind him, Eric’s focus is on building that technology. During his speech, he talked about some of the latest tools and techniques that are making video better for publishers, advertisers, and end users alike. We’ve broken down three of our favorites below.

1. BannerStream


By now, you’re probably familiar with outstream video ads. In a nutshell, they enable a publisher to source video ads and reap the higher CPMs they come with, even if that publisher doesn’t have video content of their own.

But the in-banner outstream format – a normal banner into which a video ad can be placed – has led to problems for publishers. Unscrupulous advertisers can put video ads into display slots without a publisher’s knowledge or approval. Not only does this slow down page load times, but it’s also a form of arbitrage – the advertiser is paying display prices for video ads, which typically have much higher CPMs.

BannerStream solves that problem by giving publishers total control over how and when video ads are served in-banner, guaranteeing that they receive the full CPM. It also lets publishers configure video ads for the best possible user experience. For example, many publishers choose to:

  • configure ads in HTML5 for smoother, more reliable playback
  • play ads without audio unless the user mouses over them
  • have video ads only play when they're in view in the user's window


That last technique isn't just good for publishers and users. It also benefits advertisers by guaranteeing their content only plays when users can actually see them. You can see these tactics at work in our BannerStream demo here.

2. Client-side video mediation


While text publishers need outstream to serve video ads, video publishers can monetize with pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads served to the publisher’s video player.

Latency is a huge issue here. If an ad takes too long to load, there’s a good chance the user will simply choose not to watch the video. When that happens, both the publisher and advertiser lose.

Client-side video mediation greatly reduces the risk of latency by enabling the publisher’s site to make a call for video ads to all of its demand partners – both direct and RTB – simultaneously. Publishers can also have their pages start making these calls before the user has actually played the video and set deadlines for each partner to respond with a bid, speeding things up even more.

And it’s not just about speed. We’ve found that calling all these demand sources at once increases fill rate as well.

3. Header bidding for video


Header bidding has taken adtech by storm, and it’s not hard to see why. With a piece of JavaScript, it enables publishers to open up auctions to all their demand sources at once. By having direct-sold ads compete directly with programmatic, publishers can monetize more effectively.

But lots of publishers don’t realize that they can use header bidding for video too – it’s not just for normal display. The only wrinkle is this: Each winning bid needs to be passed to the video player within the page, and not just to the page itself.

That might sound complicated, but it’s actually a relatively simple bit of code. The community at has even put together a nifty guide on how to implement header bidding for video. That’s one of the benefits of open-source solutions like Prebid – if you’re trying out a new technique, chances are someone else has figured it out and can show you how it’s done.

A better video internet helps everyone


Each of these tools helps publishers reduce latency, try out new formats, and serve better video ads. While that leads to better monetization, it also improves the user experience and keeps audiences coming back, which ultimately helps advertisers get better results as well. That virtuous cycle is driving the future of digital video in the right direction, and it’s all thanks to cutting edge new technologies.


Want to learn how publishers can start using header bidding for video? Check out our guide here.

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