Where Humans Help in Analyzing Video Performance

April 29, 2019
By Vanessa Farrar

Programmatic is People-Powered

As digital video spreads across devices and screens, and more budgets are moving programmatically, publishers and advertisers rely on platforms like Rubicon Project to connect inventory and dollars best. Currently, too many dots must be aligned for buyers to access publisher video inventory. Meanwhile, tag-based integrations and their limitations are holding back full monetization. To ensure video ads achieve reach at scale, publishers and buyers need the aid of human analysis and support.

In a space that’s so focused on automation, how can digital advertisers learn from their linear predecessors when it comes to harnessing the power of people? Let’s take a look into the three buckets of video performance analysis and see why human vetting and service play such a critical role in the process.

The Lifecycle of the Video Ad

There are several stages of a programmatic video life cycle. From the initial request, to the auction, to the ad response, and finally, impressions, it’s teams of people who improve efficiency each step along the way. This all starts during the initial sales cycle.

Before integration, our teams must understand our buyer and publisher requirements to successfully render a video ad. For the publisher, what are the requirements of the video player and ad server? What specific file formats meet their needs?

On the advertiser side, are they set up to bid against those types of file formats? Are they agnostic to the environment? Before bidding even starts, buyers and sellers must be speaking the same language.

Getting on the Same Page

For buyers and sellers to successfully transact, specific information must also be passed in the ad request so that advertisers can respond to the inventory. Particular parameters like device type, device ID or domain URLs, and IP address need to be passed to facilitate the transaction. Understanding those parameters and identifying when they are not being passed requires human eyeballs. This is especially true in emerging environments like Connected TV (CTV). When working with publishers, our video team pays particular focus on the video language and zeroes in on areas where it’s not translating.

Pre-auction, it’s key to understand the factors that drive bidding. Be it player support, ad servers, or ad stitchers, many variables in the ad cycle influence why a buyer is bidding or not.

The breadth of analytics that Rubicon Project supports allows publishers and buyers to get both a holistic and granular look at the entire video funnel, to best understand why video ads are not rendering.

Post ad response, analysis teams focus on errors. This means using VAST error codes to pinpoint the source of chronic issues and then fixing them. Video errors cause latency issues which cuts revenue, since in video, the publisher only gets paid when the video renders. Industry adoption to the latest version of VAST is key as we continue to understand video error codes and troubleshooting digital video.

Customer Service is Paramount

Be it troubleshooting or customer support, exceptional customer service is crucial to unleashing the full power of programmatic video throughout this journey. At Rubicon Project, our service team provides granular insights to our video clients to help them improve their stack and better monetize their inventory.

Now that direct campaigns and sales teams are moving programmatically, we’re seeing more Private Marketplace (PMP) and Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) deals being transacted for video. With increased programmatic video ad buying, header bidding will continue to be the driving force across video, replacing tag-based integrations. This will introduce new standards for troubleshooting, understanding render rates, and monetization.

Ultimately, there’s certain expertise no machine can offer. While programmatic advertising has become synonymous with automation, digital video transactions are still hands-on, and for good reason. Human insight helps inform monetization strategy. Programmatic video is best improved by the power of people.

For more info about Rubicon Project’s Performance Analytics, reach out to us at

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