At the start of every October the video ad industry gets geared up for the arrival of Q4. The great harvest where most media companies make the lion's share of their video advertising revenue.

And, each time it comes around, at Watching That we work with our customers on their preparations to ensure they take every impression off of the table and monetise as much as possible. 

After all we continually see campaigns running with error rates as high as 20% and the major negative impact small typos can have on overall business returns.

With so much at stake, now exacerbated by the headwinds of the COVID pandemic, it doesn't take much to realise that media companies need to nail this Q4 as never before. 

So here is the #RecoverStronger edition of our hit list for our customers to ensure they are fully prepared to smash it this quarter.

(btw if you're not a customer but still want to get Q4 Ready we are offering free access to our platform - just get in touch).

RecoverStronger Q4 Hit List

1. Triple Check Your Campaign Format Targeting

As if the industry hasen't had enough to deal with this year, over the last few months we've seen many campaigns impacted by issues with how the creative file is targeted and delivered.

One such issue is the Chrome 84 advisory we posted back in July. This issue continues to be felt across publishers, and you mitigate this risk by ensuring you are only targeting supported file formats to Android / Chrome devices.

Another new issue, which has grown recently, sees a conflict between the popular .m3u8 file format and the new privacy frameworks being adopted at site level due to regulation requirements.

To serve .m3u8 files (which are essentially just text files), many browsers need to cache this file and that can fall foul of privacy and cookie consent settings.

This is a relatively new issue, and although we continue to investigate its exact cause the current evidence suggests it is linked to the roll out of TCF v2.0.

Both these examples show how critical it is to make sure the creative targeting of your campaigns is properly setup.

To help you achieve this, a new dimension has been added to the Troubleshooting section of the Watching That platform

Ad Media URL Extension can now be selected from the 'Explore By' drop down. This allows you to filter by file extension and understand exactly where and why creative files are causing you to not fill your inventory.

Snapshot of Watching That Troubleshooting by Ad Media URL File Extension

 

2. Make Sure Your Video Inventory Quality is Top Notch

Brand safety is just one of those things that keeps rearing its head.

One day you're being told this is exactly why your inventory isn't filling, the next you're being told buyers don't view it as being as big of a problem any more.

When it comes to brand safety you no doubt feel like you can't win!

But what you CAN do is ensure your inventory quality is top notch, putting it high on the Q4 hit list.

  • Viewabilty - synonymous with brand safety, you need to check all your video players and ensure they are staying in view;

  • Ad Size - a less known quality metric, but no less valuable, you want to make sure the height and width of your video players are as big as they can be AND that these pixel dimensions are passed probably to your buyers (via macros on the ad tag);

  • VTR checks - knowing the view through rates of your ad creatives is a must. Not only will your buyers be looking at this closely but you want to know what content keeps the attention of the viewer long enough to get your VTR up.;

  • VPAID support - a touchy one but if you're selling programmatically on the web then you don't have any choice. You need to ensure you're supporting VPAID in all your ad units. Without much trust in the industry, 3rd party verification support is required; and they all run via VPAID.

Within the Watching That platform we advise our customers to do 3 things:

i. Look at your Player Performance Widget to understand Viewabilty and VTR by player; it'll be easy to spot any under performers;

Watching That Player Performance Visualisation

Watching That Ad Creative Performance Visualisation

 

ii. Check your Errors list in Troubleshooting for any VPAID errors. Cross them with your ad server line items / placements to identify any buyers that are loading up VPAID units but failing to fill;

Watching That Error List

Watching That Troubleshooting filtered by VPAID 901 Error

 

iii. Keep an eye on movements in errors across your inventory quality metrics; different campaigns have different performance metrics and you'll want to spot any trouble immediately.

Watching That Inventory Quality Visualisation

 

3. Save Yourself Time and Get Everyone Setup on the Same Page

With so much to do, and so little time to do it keeping stakeholders and management informed of progress is probably the last thing on your mind.

And yet it needs to happen; and spreadsheet reports tend to generate more questions than answers.

So spend some time now, before you're in the thick of it, to get everyone setup with a personalised data dashboard.

Everyone needs slightly different views and take aways from the data so a personal dashboard is the way to go.

Watching That's Builder tool is available to allow you to create exactly what visualisations you need to report to all interested parties.

Watching That Builder Blueprint example

 

Also our Customer Success team can work with you to build custom weekly and monthly reporting templates can be delivered, right to their inbox, on your behalf.

Watching That Summary Reporting Example

And once in place they can serve themselves leaving you and the team focused on making this quarter a blow out one.

 

So in summary -  here is your Q4 hit list:

  1. Check all your ad creative targeting rules;
  2. Ensure your buyers / SSPs partners are properly targeting creatives;
  3. Check your inventory quality: Viewability, Ad Size, VTR and VPAID support;
  4. Check your macros and custom KVPs are properly set;
  5. Set up personalised dashboards for all stakeholders.

Now you're prepared!

 

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