Video Ad Serving Technology and Video Ad Servers Explained | Brid.TV
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Everything You Should Know About Video Ad Serving Technology

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Videos have been dominating the online advertising landscape as of late. But should that be surprising? After all, the demand for video content has risen by 54% over the last few years, thanks to the rising popularity of various social video platforms and video-sharing websites. That trend quickly transferred to the advertising industry, giving birth to new video ad serving technologies. 

But why have video ads proven so lucrative? One of the primary reasons is that they are more engaging than traditional advertisements. They also have better reach due to the already mentioned increase in video content consumption. According to the IAB Video Advertising Report, marketers have been investing more in digital video advertising over the past few years. That number rose by over $3 million between 2018 and 2019 alone!

So what lies behind the revolutionary ad technology that advertisers nowadays are using to advertise online? How does it enable you to get your video ads out there? That’s what we’re here to find out!

What Is Video Ad Serving

Video ad serving is the process of delivering a video ad to a user’s phone, tablet, or desktop screen whenever they watch a video. That happens when an ad server sends the advertisement to the target website or application. But how does it do that?

The video ad serving process can indeed be complicated for many reasons. One of them would be the number of SSPs, DSPs, and video ad networks included in the mix. But we’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.

How Video Ad Serving Works

Here is how the ad serving process works illustrated through four crucial steps:

  1. The user starts a video player on a site, which sends a request to the publisher for the video content in question. The server then sends a code to your browser that tells it where the video is located and how to display it on your screen. However, for that to be possible, the player must support VAST tags and HTML5 video.
  2. After receiving the content, the video player will send a video ad request (VAST request) from the publisher’s ad server. The publisher’s server will then determine programmatically which video ad to show and send back an appropriate ad markup.
  3. Once the player receives an ad markup, it sends an ad retrieval request to the advertiser’s server. Following that, the advertiser’s server notes an impression and returns a link that lets the player display the appropriate ad. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) will be in charge of distributing the ad in most cases, as it will most likely be hosted there.
  4. Finally, the player sends a request to the CDN, transporting the ad back to show it to the user.
illustration of how video ad serving works
Video Ad Serving Process

Depending on your online video platform or ad partner of choice, you may have additional platforms participate in the ad serving process. For instance, if you sell your ad inventory through real-time bidding, you will also have to include ad exchanges in the ad serving process.

Types of Video Ad Servers

Video ad servers play a vital role in the ad serving process and are essential pieces of video ad serving technology. They are in charge of placing ads on publishers’ websites, and there are two kinds of video ad servers:

  • Publisher Ad Servers — These servers only distribute ads to their respective publisher’s domain. Publishers sometimes also sign a contract with another third-party ad server to maximize their ad fill rates.
  • Third-Party Ad Servers — These servers can distribute ads over several different domains, giving publishers greater, more centralized control over where they serve their ads.

Publisher Ad Servers vs. Third-Party Ad Servers

There is no clear-cut reason one would be better than the other; it all depends on your needs and preferences as a business. If you’re purchasing ads only from a small number of sites, you’d likely be better off with the individual publishers serving them. But if you have a much more ambitious advertising campaign and want detailed analytics and performance analysis on it, signing up with a third-party server is probably your best bet.

But regardless of the differences between the two, the rise of third-party servers made online marketers’ lives that much easier. Before that, brands and advertisers had to send their assets to these publishers directly — that was a painstakingly tedious process. The emergence of third-party ad servers made it easier for advertisers to target their audiences better, come across as more credible, and deliver their message seamlessly. 

What Role Does a Video Player Have in Ad Serving?

Since a video player is an interface between the ad and the user, it is essential to the ad serving process. A player has to communicate with both the page or device and ad servers to display your ads. However, that wasn’t always possible since most OTT devices don’t speak the same language. 

Luckily for advertisers, the development of video ad serving technology brought with it VAST ad tags! VAST proved to be the perfect universal video ad serving template that addressed some of online advertising’s most pressing issues. The introduction of VAST paved the way for easy synchronization between ad servers and video players and is likely the reason most modern advertising innovations were made possible. Here are just some of the benefits that VAST brought to the industry:

  • Faster implementation times due to mass adoption of standardized macro-based ad requests.
  • Better mobile and OTT platform support.
  • Merging of audio and video standards, thanks to the introduction of the Digital Audio Ad Serving Template (DAAST).

This innovative video ad format became an invaluable part of video advertising history as it completely transformed the industry and is still widely used to date. 

Getting Started With Online Video Advertising

If you wish to start your online video advertising journey, you will need to find a fast and reliable video player. Getting a lightweight HTML5 player with advanced video monetization solutions like Brid.TV is an excellent way to get everything you need in one place. Aside from VAST and VPAID ad tag support and instream and outstream ads, we also offer advanced advertising options like video header bidding. And if you wish to monetize your content video having to deal with any hassle of looking for an advertising platform, check out our Brid.TV Marketplace — we can monetize all your videos for you!

If any of the above sounds appealing, have a quick talk with one of our representatives and let us help you get started!