Videology, TubeMogul And The Trade Desk Top Forrester’s Video DSP Wave

WaveWhen Forrester released its Wave assessment for video ad platforms Monday, the ability for each demand-side platform (DSP) to buy cross-screen – including linear TV – was a key factor.

“The biggest thing large advertisers are struggling with is how to use digital video and TV in combination, not just digital video by itself,” said Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester and the lead analyst for the report.

“Advertisers are really using video as a strong branding medium and buying and planning campaigns together with TV. We pushed these vendors to prove how well buys could complement each other.”

The surveying began last July, initially consisting of 40-50 video ad platforms. After a screening process that included a questionnaire with customers, demo and various discussions with the research house, Nail said the list was narrowed down to 10, including: AOL, DataXu, Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager, The Trade Desk, Tremor Video, TubeMogul, Turn, Viant, Videology and Yahoo (BrightRoll).

Nail said each vendor was asked to execute a buy based on two factors: extending incremental reach on digital buys beyond the broad 18-49 demo usually associated with TV, and optimizing beyond the program schedule to recapture viewers that drop off from traditional TV viewing.

“Some of it was very quantitative – how many unique viewers can you reach in a month on all these different platforms and screens?” said Nail. “We asked for a list of all the data sources they could link into and which are integrated with the platform.”

Forrester then evaluated various measurements enabled by the platforms, all the way down to attribution and mix modeling capabilities.

 The Results

TubeMogul, Videology and The Trade Desk were leaders of the pack for various reasons.

TubeMogul scored strong ratings from customers both for its data sourcing and management capabilities. Because its main focus is the brand advertiser, its private marketplaces with some of the large TV networks allowed buyers to plan digital video campaigns alongside linear TV schedules.

Videology also optimizes reach and frequency across video and TV buys, though it focuses on serving both advertisers and publishers.

“There are several companies, such as Videology, who are trying to create a space that is not just DSP or SSP but more in the middle,” Nail said “Those who have the rationale that there’s an inherent conflict of interest if you try to serve both sides are met in the middle by those who believe you can work with both without taking a position in inventory. That’s setting up a real choice that the marketplace will have to shake out over the next couple of years.”

The Trade Desk’s inventory volume impressed Nail, and it received the highest customer satisfaction ratings “with good, solid segmenting, tracking and measurement of campaigns across the board,” he added.

Google was a “Strong Performer” despite being a “nonparticipating vendor,” meaning it participated in demos and discussions but didn’t share information around data integrations and measurement.

It was strong with in-flight optimization and could foreseeably benefit from Google’s bevy of first-party user data when unifying identities cross-screen. Additionally, its acquisition of video ad platform mDialog brings specialization in mobile and over-the-top video. “We’re certainly going to see things come together in the next year,” Nail said. “Google has had its eyes on TV for some time.”

Acquisitive Issues?

So what happened to and BrightRoll, the two video marketplaces/DSPs respectively acquired by AOL and Yahoo?

For one, both underwent brand changes – and AOL’s other video acquisitions are now part of One by AOL: Video. Nail noted AOL’s 30-some pubs like The Huffington Post and TechCrunch, as well as new parent Verizon’s deterministic data sets, portend more unique first-party implications for AOL’s video stack.

However, despite those advantages, AOL’s video offering scored lowest for customer satisfaction, suggesting the need for greater integration, which some have implied is not a new problem for AOL.

BrightRoll, too, has “a lot of catching up to do” with respect to integration, said Nail. While Yahoo’s DSP scored strong with customers on inventory availability, it earned lesser marks for its capability to support a converged video/TV plan.

“A technology transition takes a longer time than a brand transition,” Nail said, noting that some users expressed the need to smooth out functionality.

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  1. Charles Young

    Thank you for your appraisal of how the digital marketplace is evolving and your assessment of how the players are making out in the digital scrum

  2. Videology, TubeMogul and The Trade Desk all have good products. But do buyers trust the Forrester (or Gartner) reports anymore?

    These reports are often pay-to-play so they often have large biases. Often the companies that top the wave are the ones that pay Forrester more. Long term, buyers need a more unbiased evaluator (one that is not taking money from the vendors) to help them with the selection process. And these buyers need a service that helps them with their needs as (for instance, given the video DSP space is so crowded, it is likely that certain products are better fits with certain types of customers, etc.).