Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at Streaming Media West in beautiful Huntington Beach, California. Throughout the engaging two-day conference, much of the conversation revolved around the ongoing convergence of the digital and linear worlds. In particular, my panel, The Future Of Server-Side Ad Insertion, addressed how this trend is projected to affect SSAI today and into the future. Intrigued? Read on for an overview of the major themes we discussed during the session.
Before we dove into the future of SSAI, we opened the conversation with an overview of the technology. Server side ad insertion is a mechanism that dynamically stitches targeted ads into your content on the server — allowing you to deliver one continuous stream.
SSAI has three main value propositions: improved user experience, ad blocker prevention, and increased device reach. By leveraging this technology, you can prevent ad blockers from detecting your ads and eliminate undesirable buffering. In turn, you can deliver a better viewing experience to your audience and preserve your revenue. SSAI also gives you improved reach to connected devices like set top boxes and game consoles, where the concept of a client may not exist.
Monetization and measurement
As panelist Michelle Abraham (senior research analyst, media & communications, S&P Global) explained, current industry data supports the notion that audiences like choice. In this way, presenting tiered business models can be crucial to your success. During the panel, Abraham shared her belief that advertising will take a more native form within the content itself (as more content-driven creatives take hold of the marketplace).
Well, what about measurement? Amit Shetty (senior director, video & audio products, IAB Tech Lab) discussed the newly released VAST 4.1 and some key highlights of the new spec including standardization of the ad request, the SSAI spec — and splitting VPAID into verification and interactivity. He also expressed enthusiasm for expanding the Open Measurement SDK beyond mobile and into CTV down the line. Stay tuned for more major advancements in this area!
What does the future hold for SSAI?
There was agreement amongst all panelists that in order for the advancements in measurement and targeting to be successful, the OTT marketplace needs to expand and catch up. Without the appropriate buyers in place, these advanced targeting and measurement standards and technologies are worthless. Once buyers are more comfortable driving their decisions based on these new metrics, the possibilities will be endless. This industry shift will pave the way for exciting innovations like interactive creatives and in-content or in-app purchasing.