We’ve discussed making OTT content profitable, but we haven’t yet explained how to further improve monetization through advertising, which can also be turned into a major revenue stream that helps grow your business.
The forecast of global spending on TV advertising is counting with $192 billion by 2022 (a $19 billion increase compared to 2018), which means more opportunities for monetization—which can also be more lucrative if the ads are sold for popular VOD or high-viewership live content.
Let’s see how you can leverage the benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion to drive the monetization of your OTT content.
What is Dynamic Ad Insertion and What Does It Do?
Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) is the server-side technology that enables you to include advertising within video streams. If the goal is to insert video advertising pieces into VOD or live linear programming content, this is the best tool out there that you can utilize.
It generally functions like this: based on embedded protocol info, the video streams are transcoded and conditioned for ad insertion by an encoder. Then cues for the ad elements are inserted into the playlist at points of your choice. During ad breaks, for example, the viewing devices will receive the inserted ad chunks from your network in a transparent manner.
However, DAI can also be utilized in targeted advertising. Since advertising can target several levels in generals (e.g., demographics, content, user, device, behavior, geolocalization), a DAI solution can intertwine targeted ads and video content into a single stream. This results in a seamless experience for viewers—one that doesn’t rely on a web page or app to work.
The Value of Dynamic Ad insertion
DAI holds tremendous value, and its benefits can be grouped according to five main areas: personalization, dynamic adaptation, data, analytics, and, last but not least: unblocked ads.
With the saturated OTT market, it’s hard to stand out even with original, unique content. The competition is fierce, and personalization is the key to securing viewers’ attention—and later, the loyalty—. But it’s one thing to differentiate your content and another to differentiate ads inserted into your video stream. So how can you add a personal touch to ads and make them resonate with individual viewers? The way DAI operates allows you to understand better those who are watching your streams, gathering data, and analyzing that to give you insight into their behavior as well as the things they like. If you tune into that and provide them with ad pieces that match their preferences and interests, you’re on the right path to secure them as loyal viewers of your content. This becomes possible through DAI.
In general, DAI plans with ads inserted to specific time slots; however, those slots can be switched instantly and dynamically. It uses predefined data that enables the dynamic reaction to the customer’s ad-viewing habits and preferences. When an ad best matches a relevant theme at the right time, customer engagement increases, resulting in higher conversion rates.
Today, media players can offer advertisers much more targeted audience segments thanks to emerging, new tech in big data, cloud-based video processing, and behavioral analytics. It means that with smart advertising being the prize, advertisers will enjoy better cost per thousand (CPT) rates. (CPT is the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand views or impressions of an advertisement.)
By analyzing the collected data to gain insights into your viewers, you can create thematic channels where content and advertising are synergized. And advertising that’s woven into the dominant theme of the channel will be seen as less disruptive, ultimately translating into higher CPT rates as well. Moreover, since the CPT with DAI is already higher, it is actually viable to reduce the ad load and become more liked by your audience due to fewer ads.
DAI can actually make advertisements look the same as the content in the eyes of adblocking software. This means that those ads will surely get through to your viewers.
As within the cloud, you can scale several workflows to run parallelly. A DAI solution that is up there and is equipped with manifest manipulation will enable the real-time creation of custom manifests per user. Specifically, DAI offers solutions that can be interfaced with ad decision servers to supply users with targeted manifests based on user location, device, or other criteria.
These cloud-based DAI solutions that can do this are generally capable of supporting multiple targeting scenarios and delivering unique playlists with targeted ads included for any device.
The DAI use case can be further expanded to operate with blackout management and video content replacement with the cloud. It is crucial to distribute content anywhere, to any device. For impeccable blackout management, a solution needs to be event scheduling and provide a notification interface service.
Preparing for DAI Utilization
DAI is an amazing tool, but its implementation cannot be rushed. As with all things worth investing in, it requires care and proper preparation to work in your favor.
Ad Trigger Normalization
Ingesting several live channels from multiple providers can be somewhat problematic, as providers usually implement in-stream ad triggers differently. The solution here is to normalize these ad triggers and enrich them with external data to enter the platform at the intended time and place.
Quick Ad Ingestion
To mitigate the risk of undesired latency, DAI platforms should ingest ads as quickly as possible. For seamless ad-stitching, the ad will have to be transcoded to match pre-configured, live transcoding profiles. Be cautious with the ad-transcoding process; however, if it’s too drawn-out and the ad isn’t ingested in time, the ad insertion may not occur or be inserted at the wrong time.
Accurate reporting of ad impressions and data is a basic expectation of advertisers. It’s the same in the case of DAI, regardless of the content type (VOD, live, catchup, etc.). So make sure that impressions of every ad are counted and reported accurately to the ad server.
A manifest should be calculated and served to each viewer in a server-side architecture, allowing you to present different ads to your users. Unfortunately, the Content Delivery Network is not ideal for distributing the manifest in this case. A such, the DAI must ensure to process and serve the manifest to each viewer. Thankfully, the scalability provided by the cloud makes DAI deployment highly efficient.
Compliance with Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)
Make sure that VAST—the standard protocol for interfacing a DAI video-stitching platform with third-party ad decision servers (ADS)—is implemented.
Coupling the Cloud with DAI
DAI—specifically server-side ad insertion (SSAI)—is also great for ad replacement in the live stream without disrupting or ruining the viewers’ experience. Furthermore, the technique of intertwining ads with the content itself on the server-side is a surefire way to circumvent adblocking.
However, by utilizing the advantages of the cloud, workflows become streamlined and simpler. For instance, processes such as ad and ABR transcoding, manifest generation and manipulation, and packaging can all be synchronized within a single, seamless architecture that will greatly ease deployment.
Our full-scope OTT solution, ENT.360, is an enterprise-ready, software-only AWS native architecture with DAI and SSAI implementation included. With it, we architected and developed a global, monetized content distribution platform for a market-leading streaming service provider that was available in 50+ countries across more than 15 devices. ENT.360 is Well-Architected Solution.
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