The next big challenge for marketers and publishers is scaling addressable advertising, says SpotX, Akamai, and Yopsace. At IBC, the three presented a white paper with their combined learnings on the subject, and starting this morning they’re making that paper available to everyone. It’s an essential read for any organization that needs to deliver and monetize live events to a worldwide audience.
Providing one-to-one addressability at scale is a huge challenge, the paper says. For one thing, the low latency requirements used for live events reduce the buffer time, giving the system lets time to respond to ad calls or handle other issues. Instead of having 8 to 10 seconds to process an ad, the system might only have 3. In order to deliver reliable and consistent streams, each component in the system needs built-in redundancy.
When ad breaks run on a schedule and the number of viewers is predictable, the ad decisioning system (ADS) can keep up with demand. But an unexpected overtime can throw the system into chaos, flooding the system with ad calls and leading to wasted ad placements when the ad server is overloaded.
The solution to this overload is prefetching, the paper says, and it calls the idea “deceptively simple”:
“Rather than waiting until the last moment, servers can begin to make ad requests earlier on in the process. Using such a prefetch strategy paces the requests over a longer period of time and ensures the system remains stable,” it says.
So instead of grabbing a targeted ad just in time, a more reliable system makes an ad request for the next ad break as soon as the previous break ends. Instead of serving millions of ad requests in a fraction of a second, the system spaces them out over several minutes. The paper offers prefetching advice for scheduled ad breaks, long breaks, and unscheduled ad breaks.
“Prefetch strategies give the ADS enough time to process the many ad requests. Whether for a scheduled or unscheduled ad break, prefetch guarantees much higher ad fill rates,” the paper says. “The result is a smooth viewing experience for the viewer, optimal revenue generation for the video service provider, and impactful brand exposure for the advertiser.”
For more on scaling addressable advertising and prefetching ads, download the full white paper (registration required).