Contributed by Matt Von der Muhll, Managing Director of SpotXchange Asia Pacific

Matt Von der Muhll

There is a lot of recent debate around the rise of programmatic buying and selling for online video advertising. On one hand, industry professionals hang their hats on the widespread adoption of programmatic buying channels due to the greater transparency and efficiencies it provides. Others question the ability for the programmatic buying market to grow due to the small supply of inventory within the online video space.

But ultimately, numbers don’t lie. A US report by Forrester Consulting indicates that programmatic buying for online video is the top industry driver, with a quarter of all inventory to be purchased through programmatic channels by 2014. Closer to home, a report by IDC for PubMatic forecasts that the programmatic media buying market in Asia Pacific will reach $5.2 billion by 2015.

There’s no doubt consumers are driving this demand for programmatic buying. Whether it’s on a smartphone, laptop or tablet, consumers are increasingly spending more time watching video content on their mobile devices and naturally, this is where advertising dollars are following. In this fiercely competitive environment, advertisers are looking for ways to work more efficiently and the solution is through programmatic buying.

We know that many advertisers have been quick to embrace programmatic buying as it gives them the opportunity to cherry pick impressions based on demographic, behaviour, price and location. On the publisher side however, there are still some reservations around programmatic buying due to the perceived lack of transparency and control.

Many publishers assume that selling ad inventory through programmatic channels means they won’t have insights into which brands are buying inventory, how often they are buying and at what price. As ad buyers have traditionally held the power, it’s no wonder publishers have taken to programmatic channels with a grain of salt.

As the market for programmatic trading matures, we are starting to see the arrival of new solutions designed purposely for publishers which is levelling the playing field. These solutions are allowing publishers to dip their toes into the programmatic world in a trusted environment where they can equip themselves with the same capabilities that advertisers have had for nearly two years in the Asia Pacific region.

For publishers seeking to make the leap into programmatic trading, here are some key questions to ask before choosing a video advertising platform.

 Transparency – Publishers need to ensure the whole programmatic trading process is transparent, both in commercial terms and capabilities. Does the platform offer real-time reports or are these reports produced monthly/post-campaign? Does the platform offer visibility into who is bidding and at what price?

 Multi-screen capabilities – As consumers increasingly consume content on multiple devices, there’s a huge opportunity for publishers to capitalise on mobile video. It’s important to invest in technology that will allow advertisers to reach their audience in the way they want to be reached. Does the platform allow publishers to monetise inventory across multiple devices?

 Education and support – Technology is only one part of the solution, and having ongoing education and support is vital to ensure that publishers can maximise the benefits of programmatic trading. It’s important to ask if your vendor will provide managed services or if they’ll just give you the keys and let you go?

Whether it’s video or display, advertising inventory is the lifeblood of publishers. There are a lot of vendors making a lot of white noise and publishers need to sieve through many promises to select a trusted solution that meets its business objectives as the technology rapidly evolves. As the programmatic trading market continues to mature, we’ll see far greater efficiencies for both the buyer and seller, along with more transparency and decision making capabilities in real-time.