A Brief History of Online Video Advertising | Brid.TV
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The History and Evolution of Online Video Advertising

history of online video advertising

Online video advertising has been the focal point of the digital marketing industry for a few years now, and for a good reason. Video ads are more engaging, actionable, and profitable for both publishers and advertisers. That is evident from the increase in video ad demand over the last few years. Today, global video ad spend reached 80.1 billion dollars, and experts predict it to grow to 120 billion by 2024. It’s safe to say that few industries are seeing such unprecedented growth.

However, the development of online video advertising has been long and arduous. What is now a multi-billion dollar industry had a rocky start and even went through multiple trends over the years. Nevertheless, these have all been crucial to the industry’s development and have become an inseparable part of its history.

Today, we look back on the history of online video advertising and how it got to where it is today. Let’s begin with its inception or the “prehistoric” era of online video advertising.

The Prehistoric Era

A long time ago, when Google Ad Manager was still called Doubleclick for Publishers (DART), there were no industry standards for video monetization. Back then, publishers had a lot of trouble effectively monetizing their video content, and they had to do it with custom XML templates. Publishers had to use various XML nodes with multiple tracking pixels, which were quite a nightmare to deal with in the then non-standardized industry.

Luckily for publishers, the introduction of VAST in 2008 was the first attempt to bring some order into the chaotic video advertising landscape of that time. These changes carved the way for various video platforms and services like Brid.TV to enter the online video advertising landscape and create products to help publishers monetize their video content effectively.

The Flash Era

Although VAST was an excellent step in the right direction, it still lacked the interactivity of contemporary digital advertising forms. VAST had no flashy animations to grab users’ attention and entice them to engage with the ads. Luckily, Flash came in to save the day!

The now obsolete Flash player was the king of online advertising back in the early 2010s. Despite being the ruler of the most hated ads on the web at that time, Flash brought with it a new, innovative advertising format — VPAID.

Thanks to VPAID, the internet was graced with some of the first video ads. These ads were short-form videos, often nothing more than simple animations, but they made ad interactivity and user engagement go through the roof!

Although VPAID was an incredible innovation in the online advertising industry, it had its fair share of problems. The most notable one was that its early iterations were challenging to implement. Also, many developers back then failed to adhere to VPAID’s preset standard, turning many of the earliest VPAID creatives into barely functioning abominations.

Another problem that arose was that there were always many different versions of Flash floating around the web, meaning you could never program an ad that would show up on every user’s PC. These problems made it clear that publishers and advertisers needed a new, more reliable solution to their problem. That is where the HTML5 players came in!

The HTML5 Era

If Flash was the Hummer of the online video advertising industry, HTML5 was a Tesla with a defect (JavaScript). With the appearance and mass adoption of various HTML5 video solutions, Flash went out of favor quickly. HTML5 was much lighter on the code, and it paved the way for future developments in the online video industry.

But despite Flash being outmatched, it was still widely used on the web. Because of that, most online video solutions back then had to have two versions of their players — one for Flash and one for HTML5. Maintaining and developing two players proved troublesome, especially with the rapid growth of many online browsers at the time. That makes this period one of the most detested ones, at least from a developer’s point of view.

However, not all was doom and gloom then, as this period gave birth to VPAID 2. This ad format was the same as its predecessor, except that it didn’t rely on Flash but worked on JavaScript instead. And yes — that made all the difference!

Once VPAID 2 emerged, advertisers could now serve animated and interactive ads without the Flash player. That meant these ads didn’t put any unnecessary stress on websites, making VPAID 2 the most appealing choice for advertisers and publishers alike!

Overall, the HTML5 era had some of the highest CPM to date since there were next to no rules or standardization within the industry. Unfortunately for advertisers and publishers, these prosperous times would soon come to an end.

The Google Era

It wasn’t long after the beginning of the HTML5 era that Google monopolized the online video advertising industry with its Google Ad Manager and Google Chrome products. The start of Google’s reign marked the end of the chaotic state of the industry as Google introduced some of the first industry standards (and had the tools to enforce them). Here are some of the changes the company introduced:

  • It removed Flash
  • It prohibited ads from auto-playing on mobile
  • Video ads launching with sound were banned
  • Introduction of Google AMP (and its dozens of limitations for mobile advertisers)
  • Banning mid-rolls for short-form video content
  • Chrome’s Heavy Ad Policy
  • Removal of third-party cookies

Although all of the above changes were fantastic news for consumers, they meant publishers and advertisers lost many video advertising options. Due to these new limitations, publishers and advertisers were forced to look for a way to recuperate their revenue losses. That is when many turned to the video header bidding technology.

Header Bidding Takes the Helm

Video header bidding or video prebidding is not something new in 2021, but many publishers have yet to realize its full potential. We at Brid.TV have been following its development since it started gaining traction for display banners and slowly but surely adopted it and optimized it for video advertising.

Header bidding technology allows publishers to auction off their ad inventory through real-time bidding and maximize their CPM. This tech proved to be the best way for publishers to get the most bang for their buck from their available inventory. It also enables advertisers to serve their ads on the most relevant websites with premium inventories. 

Video header bidding has proven time and time again as the most cost-effective video monetization solution for publishers. We’ve seen a 20%–60% revenue increase for publishers across the board from our network-wide analytics of over a billion monthly ad impressions after implementing our video header bidding solution.

The widely underutilized potential of video header bidding is one of the primary reasons we created our Video Ad Performance Platform (VAPP). We designed this solution to make setting up video header bidding at scale seamless through an intuitive and user-friendly CMS. We understand that header bidding’s time-consuming implementation is one of the biggest deterrents for publishers and is likely the primary reason many still settle for inferior video advertising methods.

If these challenges are what’s stopping you from starting with video header bidding, why not give VAPP a try? Stop wasting time and start making more money. Let’s talk!