The updates made by the IAB Tech Lab were initially seen as a positive step towards increasing transparency in the industry. However, these changes posed a significant challenge for some publishers, particularly smaller ones. In response to industry-wide pushback, the IAB Tech Lab revised their guidelines to provide more clarity for publishers and introduced a third class of inventory known as Accompanying Content.
The recent update in video inventory classification witnessed a significant shift, with approximately 90% of previous Instream video now labelled as Outstream. Changes in audio criteria, particularly the consideration of sound-on settings, led to reclassifying quality inventory as Outstream. This change raised concerns for publishers, especially those mindful of not annoying their audience.
To address this, the IAB Tech Lab introduced updates evaluating content based on user intent and the presence or absence of editorial video content. The inclusion of sound-on in video is recognised as a reliable indicator of consumer intent, essential for identifying high-value video inventory that might not meet other Instream criteria.
In 2024, Instream video takes center stage with significant advancements, introducing classic Instream and Accompanying Content as distinct categories. This shift is designed to offer advertisers more tailored options for their strategies, with a focus on creating a refined and engaging viewer experience.
One notable transformation is the emphasis on clear viewer intent, aligning with the industry's mission to deliver personalised and relevant content. Advertisers are increasingly targeting users genuinely interested in engaging with video content, moving away from the era of forcing ads on unwilling viewers. In 2024, Instream video will be characterised by advanced targeting, sophisticated ad placements, and a dedicated focus on viewer intent, contributing to a more respectful and effective approach in digital marketing.
Accompanying Content is an exciting addition to the existing video categorisation. It represents a fresh and innovative approach to engaging audiences with video ads. In this format, video content is seamlessly integrated into other forms of content, such as articles, news feeds, or social media timelines.
Accompanying Content takes advantage of the context in which it's placed. For example, a short video ad can complement a written article by providing additional information or a visual demonstration of a product or service. This contextual relevance enhances the viewer's experience and encourages more organic engagement.
This format is particularly appealing because it offers a non-disruptive way to connect with the audience. By embedding video content within articles, news stories or social media posts, publishers can capture the viewer's attention without interrupting their browsing experience.
Small video players exclusively displaying ads, termed Outstream, yield low visibility and revenue for publishers. Ambiguities in the existing OpenRTB definitions led some publishers to misclassify their video players as Instream, creating challenges in the advertising ecosystem.
Thus, IAB Tech Lab members addressed this by creating new video placement categories:
This value indicates whether the impression is Instream, accompanying content, or no content/standalone, respectively. Notably, 'plcmt' is distinct from the existing 'placement' attribute, allowing sellers to convey both the traditional and new categorisations by providing values for both attributes when labeling the type of impression.
The new Instream approach benefits creators and publishers by delivering video content to an audience eager to watch, providing advertisers access to high-quality placements for an improved user experience.
The shift in categorisation will impact CPMs for various ad inventory types, requiring publishers to reevaluate pricing. SSPs have been slow to adapt, but as DSPs commit to the new classification, publishers should speed up their adjustment during the migration period.
Based on the previous information, here are some actions that publishers can consider taking in response to the updates from the IAB Tech Lab:
In conclusion, video marketing is continually evolving, with new formats and strategies shaping the industry. Instream Video and Accompanying Content represent two prominent categories that highlight the shift towards more precise and engaging video ad placements. As we move into 2024, staying ahead of these trends will be crucial for businesses looking to make a significant impact in the digital ecosystem. Membrana Media, as an end-to-end production video company, stands prepared for these transformations and is aimed to assist publishers in seamlessly adapting to the upcoming changes.