Home Digital TV and Video BrightRoll Bakes Yahoo Audience Data Into Video Buying Platform

BrightRoll Bakes Yahoo Audience Data Into Video Buying Platform


TodSacerdotiIt’s been 100 days – give or take a day – since Yahoo bought the video demand-side platform and exchange BrightRoll for $640 million, and BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti has been busy.

BrightRoll on Wednesday revealed it’s baking Yahoo audience demographic and behavioral data into BrightRoll’s DSP, which the company claims will enrich ad-targeting capabilities on and off Yahoo-owned and -operated inventory. Furthermore, it’s beefing up mobile video ads with Flurry, tightening the bolts between Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s many acquisitions.

“I’ve never worked harder because I’ve never been more excited about the road in front of us,” Sacerdoti said. “It’s early days in programmatic video.”

At the time of acquisition, BrightRoll said it would remain relatively independent and figure out areas for near-term acceleration with its new parent company. With product engineering teams now working closer with Yahoo on data, targeting, mobile and analytics, “we’ve folded into a more integrated fashion within the broader org.”

Much of that integration has centered around mobile, given the promotion of Flurry’s chief of product Prashant Fuloria to SVP of advertising products in January. Fuloria is leading the transition of Yahoo from publisher to platform, with mobile, video, native and social (remember MaVeNS?) at the forefront.

Sacerdoti spoke to AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: First, how’s business since the acquisition?

TOD SACERDOTI: We had a very clear vision of what we wanted going through the acquisition and where we wanted to integrate, and the onus was on us to be transparent with customers and the market about what our plans were. With any significant change, the proof’s in the pudding on whether you’re able to execute on what you’ve positioned in-market. 

BrightRoll has two products – the BrightRoll DSP and the BrightRoll marketplace. When you’re bringing a platform business into a large organization, there are questions how various investment areas actually materialize for your teams and products.

Yahoo as a company has been very public about its focus on MaVeNs, from a macro perspective. We’ve had a lot of product and engineering resources allocated to our product and we’ve seen an acceleration of investment that was faster than we expected.

What are you adding in terms of Yahoo audience data?


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We’re making Yahoo demographic, audience – both intent and behavioral data – as well as search and Yahoo Mail data assets, available in the BrightRoll DSP. There are three companies in the US that have a very high penetration of demographic, first-party data, and that’s Yahoo, Google and Facebook, and Yahoo is the only one of those three to embed that data into a programmatic video platform for customers so far.

More than half of all campaigns on the platform are targeted to demo and measured by comScore/Nielsen and obviously we run a lot of analysis that proves Yahoo demo data creates a very material lift in targeting efficiencies for clients.

Is BrightRoll’s DSP media-agnostic given Yahoo’s role as a publisher?

We help Yahoo the publisher in the same way we’d treat any large video publisher in terms of yield and CPM and fill rates. If you use our DSP, that DSP is media-agnostic and we optimize to the KPIs of the customer regardless of whether that inventory comes from Yahoo, the BrightRoll marketplace, other third-party marketplaces like Adap.tv/AOL or Google AdX. We were adamant when we had the first acquisition discussion with Yahoo that being media-agnostic on the DSP side was a core tenet. Our DSP has no competitive advantage in the BrightRoll marketplace and we treat all DSPs equally on the marketplace side of our business.

What about the viewability? How’s that changing video RTB requests?

We’ve seen over the last six months, marketplaces beginning to add more information to the ad requests, which would be the next generation of either transparency or added value. So, for instance, we added a viewability signal in our marketplace RTB requests in Q4, so all the tools and technologies we’ve built around viewability and quality, we’ve given to other DSPs to use.

That’s the first of many areas in which other data can be added to the RTB request, including on the optimization side around demographic and behavioral data or other signals that may be of value.

How does BrightRoll integrate with Flurry’s mobile SDK and developer toolset?

Of all the things we’re doing together, the mobile opportunity is perhaps the greatest surprise in a positive direction. The Flurry SDK install base is incredible, and I think people recognize that was a very powerful product and acquisition for the company. At the Yahoo developer conference a few weeks ago, Yahoo really made the commitment to support developers not only with analytics, which is Flurry’s core product, but with search and native ads, and, “How do we help app developers make money and increase engagement?”

The four things we’ve been focused on sort of near-term have been data, inventory, mobile and international. The BrightRoll marketplace now manages DSP demand in to Flurry video inventory, so if any third party wants to access video inventory aggregated by their SDK customer base, that is actually transacting now through the BrightRoll marketplace and we’re doing a lot on the data integration side.

What’s next for mobile video?

Programmatic video is still primarily dominated by desktop and it’s sort of an unanswered situation. We all have big investments in mobile, and ideas of how we think mobile will grow over time and impact the business, but if you look at mobile today in programmatic video, it is not getting its fair share of budgets [despite advancements in] mobile measurement.

We are not seeing advertisers leverage those solutions in the same capacity and scale as they do on desktop, and so we haven’t seen the behavior change as fast as everyone expected, so I expect there will be some really interesting exchange-related things that happen in mobile video this year.

Yahoo Screen and Yahoo TV expanded a streaming content agreement with Disney/ABC TV Group. What’s the role of BrightRoll in premium content discussions?

We’re certainly involved in the monetization of O&O video after guaranteed placements. We think about Yahoo.com video inventory as our largest platform publisher customer, and Yahoo as a publisher has the same opportunities and challenges every large video publisher has, which is they have amazing content, they have a limited supply of premium, they prefer to sell it directly on a guaranteed basis at as high CPMs as much as possible, and at the same time, they want to make sure they maximize the yield of their inventory by tapping in to programmatic demand when it makes sense.

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