The demand for engaging video content is on the rise. Short videos are easier to digest for consumers compared with long pages of text, and simultaneously video advertising is quickly becoming most popular ad format in digital advertising today. But having a powerful, engaging video asset is just the first piece of the puzzle. How do you get that amazing content in front of your target audience and get it seen, quickly and efficiently? Enter programmatic video advertising.

The following is a quick guide on programmatic video advertising: what it is, why marketers like to use it as part of their cross-channel marketing plan, the different types of video ads available, and other things to consider before getting started.  

What is programmatic video advertising?

Programmatic video advertising works in a similar fashion as programmatic display advertising. But as thee name suggests, instead of real-time buying and selling of display banner ads, this just means video ad inventory is bought and sold. While it is already prevalent and mainstream, eMarketer predicts that more than 60% of all US digital video ad dollars will be invested programmatically by the end of the year. 

Once you  define your target audience and outline a budget, you can go directly to a demand side platform (DSP) to buy your ad space, or you can work with an agency or trading desk (like AUDIENCEX) to work on your behalf. The important things to remember are that this happens quickly (hence the term “real-time” in Real Time Bidding, RTB), and you need technology to make the buys happen, as opposed to going directly to a particular publisher and negotiating an insertion order. 

What are the benefits of programmatic video advertising?

  • Speed: Machines are highly efficient in ensuring that your ad is in front of the right person, one who fits your ideal client profile. 
  • Efficiency: Programmatic Video Advertising is efficient and reduces ad waste, allowing you to only target interested parties. In turn, this significantly enhances conversion rates, while simultaneously reducing the cost per acquisition.   
  • Targeted: Since you can build the specific audience profile you are trying to reach, your amazing video ads ads will reach a super-specific audience effectively and efficiently. 
  • Cross-Channel: Thanks to programmatic advertising, you can now serve ads on desktop, mobile, TV and reach across channels. 
  • Transparency: You are the one who will dictate the parameters of buying ads, and you can make adjustments in real-time at any point in the campaigns. It’s not tedious or time-consuming since it eradicates all necessities of re-negotiations. 
  • No social skills required: Since the algorithm takes care of all the work, you don’t have to invest time or effort to construct relationships with sales teams or buyers. All you have to do is set your campaign parameters and let the tech do its job. 
  • Price: Programmatic advertising is not only fast, but it’s cheaper than going directly to a particular publisher. The prices will vary based on how specific your audiences are and how competitive that target is.

Are there challenges to programmatic video?

Well yes. Like all good things, programmatic video advertising can have certain disadvantages.

  • Fraud: As with all digital marketing tactics, ad fraud can be a problem. Make sure the partner you are working with are taking steps to alleviate any possible fraud. You’ll want to have an honest conversation about viewability metrics.
  • Data Quality: Data quality is an ongoing issue in the programmatic industry. Talk to your partner about the source of the data that is being used, to make sure it is reliable and accurate. 
  • Technical Requirements: Efficient implementation calls for errors and page load times to be in check via technical resources especially when it comes to bulkier video content. AdTech requires having the appropriate technical resources on hand to deliver successful campaigns. 

Types of Video Ads


Instream videos make your video content adaptable to the environment by playing along with them. If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube, you’ve probably seen instream ads. Within the Instream category, you can break down the types further: 

  • Pre-roll: These can be the ads that you play before you start a video 
  • Mid-roll: These ads interrupt your streaming
  • Post-roll: Yep, you guessed it – these are the ones that appear right at the end of the video you watched. 

Pre-roll videos are the most expensive, but also have the highest viewability for advertisers trying to get their ads seen. Because the viewer is already committed to watching the video that lays beyond the ad, they will generally stick around until the ad is over (or they can skip it). 


While Instream videos appear within video content, outstream videos exist outside of online video content. Instead, they exist on a webpage and usually appear in a text break between paragraphs on a page.  The advantage to outstream video here is that the inventory for them is much greater, since they don’t only occur in places where there is existing video content. 


In-banner video ads are just that – videos that play inside a banner ad. Because there is no time limitation, they tend to be longer than other formats and can be auto-played without sound. While they could considerably skew the page layout since they aren’t user-initiated, you don’t need a video player or content to try them. 

Interactive video ads

Interactive video ads enable user interaction, and can be used on mobile phones, tablets, and desktops. They allow users to interact with or choose the ad in some way. Interactive ads tend to drive higher retention rates and conversions, offer unique in-ad data and enhance LTV and brand awareness. 

In-game ads

Game developers often use this monetization strategy to increase their game’s revenue. These deliver the highest CPMs as they are integrated into the game loop directly such as offer wall ads, rewarded ads, interstitial ads. The ads being a component of the game economy forms a part of the user experience. 

What’s Next for Programmatic Video?

Programmatic video ads are still in their infancy, and the available formats are continuously growing. Various premium and mid-market publishers are implementing solutions like video header bidding so that they can reap higher CPM for the impressions. Cisco notes that 80% of the internet traffic will be consumed by online videos by 2020. 

However, the trouble comes with placing the right video at the right time. While programmatic video ads may look nascent, the demand is on the rise every year. 

Are you looking for help with your programmatic video campaigns? AUDIENCEX runs thousands of programmatic campaigns of every format, including video, on behalf of marketers and agencies. Contact us to talk with one of our campaign strategists to learn more about how we can help you deliver high-performance video ads.