Author: Kevin Magee, chief technical officer and founder, Vidiro Analytics Changes in the marketing world over the last five years have been astonishing. Whilst the traditional broadcast advertising market, worth approximately $200 billion globally, has altered little in its use of ratings as the metric by which it both measures and trades advertising, switching to the online video world poses a set of startling complexities that ratings cannot address. Unlike traditional marketing and advertising, audiences are fragmented in a way that is difficult to capture online. The consumer audience is active across multiple platforms, screens, devices and networks including the most popular ones, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – they are driven to consume content. For brands and advertisement buyers, this is problematic, as they rely on neatly packaged audiences (in traditional advertising models, these are usually based on standardised demographic detail). These do not exist in the same way in digital video. Whilst content is available, the context of this content is often absent – or even purposely misconstrued. Obtaining the videos that matter to their business for optimum ad placement can be overwhelming for marketers, as they rely on incomplete tech solutions or have their ad displayed on irrelevant content.

Industry challenges

In traditional broadcasting, brands know the content (i.e. the TV programme) against which they are placing their ads. They know and understand the demographic they are targeting. In the online video world, the content and the audience are not so easily identifiable. It is the available video inventory that is key to finding audiences; this content then acts as a proxy for demographic information. This is a hot topic for online marketers, as with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and the tidal wave of video inventory attracting over four billion daily views, there are few ways to gain transparency on the existing and newly uploaded video stock. The objective for online marketers is to actually get their ads shown on content relevant to their products, but this is like finding a needle in a very big, constantly moving haystack. In order to be found online, video must be labelled by the video publisher – this is how advertisers find the type of content on which they want to advertise. But without checking the content of each individual video, it is not definitively possible to ensure that the video is being labelled correctly. This means online marketing and advertising buyers are subject to fraud, misrepresentation, inappropriate content and a lack of transparency on their ad-campaign spend. The growth of programmatic video (bulk ad buying) is suffering as a result – with little confidence the video inventory they run their ads against will be viewed by their intended audiences, marketers are reticent about programmatic ad buying (with only 12% of the digital ad spend going on programmatic ad buying in 2014). Brand marketers struggle with the ability to ensure that their advertising is reaching the correct audience online, a limitation of the current pre-roll advertising model. Pre-roll advertising are ads that are served at the beginning of a video clip; often these are skippable. The Holy Grail of online marketers then, is the ability to find a tailored audience that wants to watch specific content. By aligning relevant ads to this content, the ads become part of the experience – this is a theory that Vidiro calls the ‘Vanity Fair approach’ because, as the high-fashion magazine beautifully blends content and adverts, the consumer buys a seamless experience. Vidiro has worked on solutions over the last two years which enable brands to do this, the technology can identify relevant, appropriate and brand safe content to place ads on – and most significantly, an adaptive programmatic ad buying option, which means brands can adapt their programmatic ad spend as they are running their campaigns in order to generate maximum value.

Solution - Mad Tech

In the online video domain, the advertising technology business is firmly ‘inside the tornado’, to quote author Geoffrey Moore – this is a period of hyper-growth experienced as new technologies are embraced in an industry with significant impact on established incumbents. The technology developed at Vidiro is on the cusp of both marketing and advertising technology – what we call ‘Mad Tech’. It is an analogy apt for the advertising business as, for those familiar with the Mad Men TV series, the digital advertising world contains many of the same hallmarks of that dramatic period. Outstripping its nearest competitors in scale, Vidiro scans and analyses the entire YouTube universe, estimated at over two billion videos. The enormity of a network like YouTube dictates the need for skilled and specialist big-data skills and Vidiro’s engineers have evolved an automated approach, utilising a blend of machine learning based on Naïve-Bayes concepts and bleeding-edge information retrieval expertise. Creating relevant touchpoints for marketers used to the familiarity of traditional advertising, the technology supports the full suite of 230 advertising categories as outlined by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, unlike Google, which categorises video according to just 32 categories. Sucking in multiple data points to offer consistent quality data on the top one million channels, containing 122 million videos, the system intelligently gathers social signals on individual videos to create actionable insights for marketers. It overlays this with a deep dive on how videos are shared across social media networks in real-time – what Vidiro terms ‘audience engagement’ and ‘audience amplification’. Audience engagement is a measure of how the audience has responded to a video on YouTube, for instance by taking the time to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on it. Amplification measures the level of sharing that a video achieves across Twitter or Facebook networks. These social signals allow Vidiro to detect pre-trending video, pre-viral video or video at an early stage, which is really pushing the needle in terms of audience impact and reaction. The sentiment can be positive or negative, but the trick is catching it early to gain competitive advantage. As a next generation, managed solution Vidiro offers an integrated or independent ad buying solution to brands or agency ad buyers. As a disruptive technology, it addresses many of the challenges facing the industry and offers transparent pricing, better value, high impact, targeted audiences and improves brand safety as it reduces uncertainty on video inventory, allowing for context-based ad placement. The unique advantage of Vidiro’s PERFORM platform is that it offers advertisers an Adaptive Programmatic Buying feature, that is the ability to adapt ad buying in real-time. As new campaign relevant content is uploaded to YouTube, it is incorporated into the campaign. The adaptive programmatic feature allows advertisers to continually tweak or adapt their pre-roll campaign to target just the videos that deliver the highest performance rates and optimise campaign value – the lowest performers are discarded and the best performing videos are targeted. As the market matures and consolidation occurs across the advertising value chain, greater regulation, for example the introduction of data and tracking constraints similar to broadcast (e.g. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act restrictions relating to advertising to children) may become more prevalent, meaning that in the online world, context is and will remain king. Vidiro is an advanced video data and analytics provider with core technology that sits at the melting point between online video and social media, the two hottest categories in digital marketing. Aimed at online ad buyers for brands and agencies, Vidiro’s technology finds and delivers perfectly targeted YouTube ads to relevant audiences to achieve high impact for lower cost. Winners of the 2014 IC Tomorrow Digital Innovation contest, in ‘Digital Analytics for Talent Scouting’ the ad tech start-up, last year focused on developing a ‘Talent Radar’ to discover emerging talent on the giant of online video, YouTube. Vidiro is headquartered in the heart of Big Data research in Dublin, with offices in London, the home of Big Advertising. To improve your ad campaign, please visit or contact us at