Brand.net CEO Blair On Company's Video Initiatives And VAST

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Brand.net announced on Monday that it is expanding beyond graphical display advertising and including video in its solution set. Read the release.

Brand.net CEO Elizabeth Blair discussed the company's opportunity in online video advertising with AdExchanger.com.

Brand-netAdExchanger.com: Why do you see the VAST video standard as important for Brand.net as well as the industry as a whole?

EB: VAST is hugely important for Brand.net. We believe that media convergence is happening in a much faster and bigger way than even the ‘experts' realize. It's being driven by consumers who increasingly don't see, want or need separate "online" and "offline" media. The monetization players, individually and increasingly as an industry, are making great strides in parallel to create solutions that reflect this new reality. VAST is a terrific example of that.

We've had no lack of desire, or customer demand, to extend into Video. But frankly, before VAST the market was a mess. Every publisher coded things differently, no real serving standards existed. Who has this benefitted? Format startups investing their time and money in some basic "adaptor" technology – an endless series of cords and plugs. Who has this hurt? Advertisers and publishers alike, near-completely beholden to a handful of fairly unsophisticated monetization providers.

We saw standardization coming, so rather than repeat others' investments in basic plumbing we chose to (a) invest our money and time in technology that delivers on customer requirements across formats and (b) work with the industry to rapidly create and aggressively encourage adoption of a smart standard (VAST).

What is the "guarantee" part of Brand.net's True Video Guarantee?

At Brand.net we treat our customers the way we want to be treated. We insist that people put things in writing for us – and then we both (a) make sure they deliver a report that they did what they said and (b) review it, and review the information independently, to make sure we got what we paid for. We do the same for our customers. So on Day 1 of offering our Video Advertising Solution, we issued our True Video GuaranteeTM. In addition to all our standard Display guarantees, we guarantee in writing clear treatment of the issues our customers told us were most critical, and most problematic, in the current online Video offerings. Specifically, our customers told us:

  1. They are tired of paying the steep CPMs for "pre-roll" and finding their ads running in-banner.
  2. They want to be in quality streaming environments.
  3. Video ad networks have been offering a surprisingly "tail focused" product.

Can brand marketers buy in real-time on the spot market? What are the challenges here?

Can they? You bet. Does doing so address their business and marketing objectives? No it does not. So the online media world of today - where the only option the DSPs and the vast majority of ad networks offer Brand marketers is "buy spot" - is a world where 94% of Brand spending remains offline.

Dan Ballister put it perfectly in his comment on a very insightful article from Michael Zimbalist at the New York Times:

"If [Brand] buyers are going after audiences in real-time auctions, will they make peace with having to forfeit control over ad environment and delivery predictability? What good is it to reach your audience when they don't want to be found, or to only run 15% of your back-to-school campaign on time because you kept getting outbid?"

To bring their budgets online, Brand advertisers need a more effective approach. They need a forward market, built on top of the current spot market, with sophisticated page-level quality filtering; price and volume forecasting; buy automation; delivery management; and offline impact measurement.

By John Ebbert

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