Executing DAI? ICYMI, RTFM or be SOL

  • Dynamic  Ad Insertion, what could be more straightforward? However, unless you put all your ducks in a row, you’ll be in for a bumpy ride.

There are apps everywhere, podcasts everywhere, video streaming everywhere. As a result, it makes sense to transpose some of the basic functions of ad serving to those platforms by implementing dynamic ad insertion (DAI). This provides businesses with the ability to intersperse content with advertising while consumers are streaming on their devices. As DAI has become more common in ad ops the numerous challenges of executing it need to be highlighted, embraced, and applied in order for a campaign to succeed from start to finish.

The Moving Target Challenge

In digital advertising, we are constantly changing the tires on the bus while it is speeding down the road at 70 miles an hour. Today, we need to deliver targeted advertising to IOs phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, FireTV, Roku and Web. That’s just for the present combination of devices, next year there will be others. Not only will today’s delivery issues persist but we are going to constantly be figuring out how ad code will work with the next device that launches.

The Testing Challenge.

Think you can implement DAI on an iPhone and just call it a day? Think again. Each device has slightly different characteristics when it comes to requesting the ad call and receiving the ad. This means that 1) you should have all these physical devices on hand 2) all major browsers 3) you should test on all these devices prior to launch 4) you should test on them in a dev environment and then 5) move to production.

The Ad Delivery Challenge

Google and Freewheel provide the ability to support DAI. But just as we’ve seen with digital advertising of years past, third party ad servers support it as well. This means that discrepancy tracking between ad servers and testing of ad code will be extremely important. Nothing says “oh s—.” like disrupting a live stream because of an issue with a video ad.

The Measurement Challenge

As with “traditional” digital advertising, advertisers will want to subject DAI to the same third-party measurement standards as their more common ad units. We have to consider these crucial aspects of measurement throughout including viewability, verification of delivery (did the ads display to the U.S. viewers, or Belarus?), and whether or not your inferred demographic distribution synchs up with measurement as supplied by Nielsen and Comscore. Neglecting these important factors can lead to a very unhappy client.

The Blackout Challenge

For some live events, particularly sports-related, preventing ad display to specific geo markets is a contractual commitment. Know your SCTE markers. Now layer on what we’ve discussed about end-points, testing, ad delivery and measurement to this requirement, and we have another multi-faceted challenge for ad operations.

Whenever I teach classes in media operations I always say, “if you like a business that is always changing, where you constantly need to figure out solutions to new problems, then media operations provides a great career. You will NEVER look the clock at Noon and say ‘when will this day be over’. Instead you will look up at the clock at 6 and say “wtf – how did this day go by so fast!?” For DAI, it’s like that.

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