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Top 3 challenges of integrating programmatic video for publishers

By Luis Sastre-Verzun,
Head of Tech Support
July 6th, 2018

The future might be programmatic, but it’s also video, and very much so. Today’s publishers cannot hope to maximize their advertising revenue without leveraging video inventory, however, video monetization may come across as complex, bloated, slow, and cumbersome.

First of all, use cases and video player choice vary drastically between publishers, from smaller publishers with one-man development teams only requiring very basic video monetization, to enterprise level publishers using third-party players for long-form content monetization overseen by teams specialized in digital video.

Let’s boil everything down to the three major challenges of integrating programmatic video and how they can be overcome.

Complexity of integration

The complexity of integration is not only about publishers considering which video player they intend to place on their website, but also how the video player and their ad stack plugs into exchanges or demand sources to maximize revenue.

Some of the considerations which publishers need to make when implementing digital video monetization strategies are:

  1. Player Support: Supporting VAST 3.0+, VPAID 2.0 and handling multi-layer video redirects.
  2. User-experience: Stacking up a bunch of videos on a page or enabling in-banner video may seem like easy money, but it won’t be if users end up leaving your website due to a poor experience.
  3. Adhering to any SSP or Exchange guidelines.

BDUs (Broadcast Distribution Undertakings) with large libraries of video for monetization may also have to consider things such as:

  • DRM
  • Rights Management
  • Video Playlist Handling
  • Importing and Handling Cue Sheets
  • Desktop/Mobile Behavior
  • Server Side Stitching (and when to allow hybrid situations i.e. Client Side VPAID)

Common video players are able to handle a number of these use cases, but for larger publishers, additional enterprise software and customization may be required.


Trust is at the forefront of the programmatic industry’s concerns, on the publisher side as well as on the advertiser’s. Publishers should always ensure that the exchanges they deal with won’t run nefarious advertisements, which can be anything from javascript bitcoin miners to re-selling (or arbitraging) their inventory.

Advertisers, on the other hand, want to make sure they are buying the inventory shown in their DSP, hence why we’ve seen technologies such as VPAID viewability wrappers become very popular in the digital video space, as well as other directives like Ads.txt.

Access to demand

Accessing remnant video demand for publishers may sometimes be difficult to implement in an organized way. Publishers using DFP with AdX and Exchange Bidding may exploit dynamic allocation, but this only offers access to AdX demand and SSPs integrated with Exchange Bidding.

Video SSPs offering Standard Tags may not see inventory early enough in the ad stack. Additionally, if the tag fails to return demand these will often redirect back to the publisher DFP, but with enough redirects and a player incompatible with the number of redirects, there is a high chance of wasting the impression, and instead getting a 302 Wrapper limit reached error at the player.

Newer options such as Prebid Video are available, allowing publishers to expose inventory before a request to DFP is made and giving SSPs access to video inventory without using price priority line items… unless of course, they win.

Despite the challenges that integrating programmatic video can pose, publishers can still leverage its amazing power to increase their revenue. The first step is to look to partner with a vendor that supports a variety of integration, such as district m demand in Prebid video or A9.

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