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Boost ad revenue with Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) for linear TV

April 20, 2022

By Nissim Dokey, Principal Product Manager, Streaming TV, Amagi

Dynamic ad insertion (DAI) is an ad insertion technology that helps content producers and OTT streaming platforms deliver more relevant, personalized ads at scale. The goals of using DAI are to increase viewer engagement, boost your CPM, improve the ad experience, and increase overall ad revenue. It’s an alternative to client-side ad insertion (CSAI) that builds upon the successes of server-side ad insertion (SSAI).

At Amagi, we offer one of the most advanced DAI solutions for linear tv on the market. We can explain…

Throughout the piece, we’ll illustrate why Amagi's DAI capabilities for linear tv channel and video on demand (VOD) monetization are superior to other solutions on the market. You can also use Amagi to handle content management; playout for linear TV, live TV, and VOD content; scheduling; and ad management— all in one unified location.

Our DAI solution, Amagi THUNDERSTORM, boosts render/fill rates, reduces ad fatigue, provides detailed analytics, and incorporates cutting-edge DAI capabilities. If you want to deliver hyper-relevant ads that improve the viewer experience and boost ad revenue, contact our team.

DAI vs SSAI vs CSAI: What they are and why DAI is the best

CSAI ads are inserted on the client side by video players (e.g., a platform such as Hulu). SSAI ads, in contrast, are stitched into the video stream on the server side before content delivery. In other words, content producers or platforms use an SSAI tool to insert ads into the content before it’s delivered to the video player.

Most over-the-top (OTT) streaming services use SSAI, although many browser-based video services still use CSAI. SSAI offers tech capabilities that make it superior to CSAI, including:

  • Avoiding ad blockers: Ad blockers can block CSAI ads, but not SSAI ads, enabling content producers to deliver more ads and get paid for impressions.
  • Basic personalization: SSAI can use content metadata and viewer info to do basic ad personalization.
  • Frame accuracy: With CSAI, the video player must make calls to multiple servers — both to the content hosting server to get the content and to the ad server to get the ads — which can result in buffering issues that harm the viewing experience. With SSAI, the video player has to call only the hosting server, enabling frame-accurate ads.
  • Creative conditioning: SSAI ads can be transcoded to match the format and delivery requirements of the device and content (i.e., delivering an HD ad to match an HD video).

Dynamic Ad Insertion is an SSAI technology that, in addition to all the benefits/capabilities of SSAI, enables content providers to deliver highly relevant video ads and improve ad delivery in several key ways (which we'll discuss in the next section).

SSAI tools that also incorporate DAI are often referred to as SSDAI tools. Amagi THUNDERSTORM is an SSDAI tool that can be used to improve ad relevance.

How to improve ads and boost revenue with Amagi's SSDAI

While Amagi's SSDAI solution can be used to improve many aspects of TV ad delivery — such as ad pod building (stitching together multiple ads for each ad break), and creative conditioning — the four most important capabilities for improving ad revenue are: 

  1. Manipulating the manifest: Creating ad playlists that are specific to each viewer.
  2. Boosting fill rates: Increasing the percentage of ads that actually get delivered.
  3. Reducing ad fatigue: Ensuring viewers don't see repeat ads.
  4. Inserting nonlinear ads: Inserting ads into content, not just during ad breaks.

1) Manifest manipulation

When a stream is requested, video/audio segments are accompanied by a manifest file that acts as a playlist — i.e., instructions that tell the video player what to play next. Playlists can be dynamically altered for each viewer based on information about the viewer and the content (addressable TV advertising).

Amagi THUNDERSTORM can use data on the viewer and content to deliver contextually relevant ads and perform content localization.

A) Contextually relevant ads

Ads can be tailored to match the context of the content that's being viewed. For example, ads can match: 

  • Content type: Ads that match the type of content viewers are watching. If the viewer is watching a cooking show, they'll see ads for cooking products, for example.   
  • Content genre: Ads that match the genre of the content. If viewers are watching family-oriented content, they'll receive family-oriented ads. (In other words, they’re less likely to see ads for beer than they are kid’s toys, minivans, children’s clothing, hot dogs, and so forth.)

When you deliver contextually relevant ads with Amagi THUNDERSTORM, viewers are more likely to engage with those ads. Higher viewer engagement yields more conversions, which enables you to charge a higher CPM to advertisers.

B) Content localization

Amagi THUNDERSTORM can tailor ads to regional variations. This includes both the type of ad and regional requirements.

Amagi THUNDERSTORM supports targeted ad-decisioning. If you notice a particular product (or type of product) performs well in a specific region, you can send more ads for that product to those regions. You can also deliver ads that are only relevant to a specific location, such as ads for a local real estate agency.

Likewise, Amagi enables you to tailor your content to specific regional requirements. For example, the U.S. requires that videos contain closed captions for the hearing disabled, while other regions don't. And you can tailor subtitles to match the languages of the regions to which you deliver.

2) Higher fill rate

Sometimes SSDAI tools request ads during ad breaks, but the ad network is unable to fill them. The fill rate is the percentage of ad requests that are actually filled by the ad networks. In other words, the number of ad impressions divided by the number of ad requests equals the fill rate.

Other SSAI solutions only make one ad request to ad servers per ad break. If they fail to deliver the ad, then the ad slot goes unfilled. If the ad isn't delivered, advertisers will notice in your AsRun report and won't pay you for the impression. Even worse, a low ad fill rate can make your channels less attractive to advertisers and decrease your CPM.

But Amagi THUNDERSTORM requests multiple ads per ad break, so other ads are often available in the event of a failed delivery. When we migrate new users from their old SSAI solution onto Amagi THUNDERSTORM, they see on average a 35% higher fill rate, ensuring they get paid more often.

Note: For large, live streaming events, our hyperscaling technology means ads will reach even tens of millions of viewers simultaneously.

3) Ad fatigue

Viewers can get annoyed when they see duplicate ads in the same program, which creates ad fatigue and a bad viewing experience. Amagi THUNDERSTORM eliminates ad fatigue by requesting multiple ads per ad break. If an ad request yields an ad that the viewer has already seen, Amagi THUNDERSTORM skips that ad and delivers a unique one.

4) Nonlinear ads, ad interactivity, and dynamic brand insertion

Nonlinear ads, ad interactivity, and dynamic brand insertion are three cutting-edge advertising capabilities that are still in the trial phase. Few SSDAIs offer them, and Amagi only offers them to some users.

We'll explain what they are and how Amagi THUNDERSTORM users use them to boost ad revenue.

A) Nonlinear ads

CSAI and SSAI ads are limited to ad breaks — i.e., when the video stream arrives at an ad trigger (SCTE, DTMF Cue Tones, Packet31, etc.).

But DAI tools can insert nonlinear ads (aka overlay ads). Nonlinear ads are banners that are displayed during a video program, usually in the lower third of the TV screen (lower-third ads) or on a split screen (split-screen ads). Channel owners can also get very specific about when nonlinear ads are displayed.

Amagi THUNDERSTORM is capable of not only delivering nonlinear ads but also of detecting strategic times to do so. For example, Amagi can insert nonlinear ads during strategic breaks in live events (such as during timeouts or between plays in a sports program). Or, during a cooking show when no real action is occurring on screen, Amagi THUNDERSTORM can display a nonlinear split-screen ad that promotes the products or cooking recipes being used.

B) Dynamic Brand Insertion

Amagi also offers dynamic brand insertion, which enables you to replace images inside your videos with branded content. For example, if there is a can of Coke on a counter in your video, you can replace it with a can of Pepsi. So, if you notice that Coke is more popular in one region and Pepsi is more popular in another, you can change the images to reflect viewer preferences.

C) Ad interactivity

Another ad feature still in the trial phase is ad interactivity on nonlinear ads. With ad interactivity, channel owners can insert interactive, nonlinear ads in order to influence viewers to take a specific action. That includes ad features such as…

  • QR codes that viewers can use to access a special discount on a product or to download an app.
  • Ads with different versions of the same product that viewers can cycle through with their smart TV remote (e.g., blue shoes vs. black shoes vs. red shoes, and so on).
  • Lead generation ads where viewers can use their remote to submit their email and other contact information.

In summary, advertisers and channel owners can use Amagi THUNDERSTORM's ad interactivity capabilities to increase viewer engagement, incentivize purchases and downloads, collect lead gen information, and increase CPM/ad revenue.

Amagi THUNDERSTORM is a DAI solution that boosts render/fill rates, reduces ad fatigue, provides detailed analytics, and incorporates cutting-edge DAI capabilities. If you want to deliver hyper-relevant ads that improve the viewer experience and boost ad revenue, contact our team.

Use analytics to improve your dynamic ad insertion strategy

Most SSAI tools don't provide very detailed analytics. But Amagi THUNDERSTORM provides real-time analytics you can use to optimize your ad strategy and boost ad revenue, including:

Ad performance metrics:

Amagi THUNDERSTORM provides specific metrics on ad performance, such as impressions, users, sessions, geolocation, ad network performance, and so forth.

Fill rate metrics:

Sometimes SSAI tools request ads during ad breaks, but the ad network is unable to fill them. Fill rate is important because advertisers don't want to advertise on channels with a low fill rate, and they'll pay more for impressions on channels with a high fill rate. By providing you with fill rate metrics, Amagi helps you optimize your fill rate and increase your CPM with advertisers.

Viewer metrics:

Amagi provides ad metrics as they relate to viewers, like ad impressions for a particular piece of content. In some cases, a show may have more viewers but not perform as well with ads as another show does. You can use these metrics to focus ads and charge advertisers more for spots during the highest-performing content on your channel.

With both ad performance and viewer metrics, you can identify high-performing ads and content. You can use that information to get better ad conversions and increase CPM by:

  • Focusing high-performing ads on high-performing content.
  • Creating more themed content if you notice similar themes among your high-performing content and ads. (For example, if your cooking shows yield the best ad results, you can create more of that type of content and insert contextually relevant ads.)
  • Improving the user experience by decreasing ad breaks. (For example, if you can get better ad results and increase CPM, you can potentially decrease ad breaks while keeping revenue the same or potentially increasing it.)

Amagi ADS PLUS

If you need help filling your ad inventory, try Amagi ADS PLUS: A service in which we use our partnerships with multiple ad networks to fill all or some of your ad inventory. In exchange, we collect a commission on ad impressions delivered through our service.

Amagi ADS PLUS is a win-win for both parties: You fill ad space that would have been left empty, and we collect a small commission for only what we’re able to fill. That means your revenue increases without any up-front costs for you. If you want to learn more about Amagi ADS PLUS, please contact our team.

Boost ad revenue with Amagi's SSDAI

Amagi offers a solution that enables you to play out, schedule, and monetize your linear channels (and video on demand content channels) in one unified location. We support playout on traditional TV channels, cable, connected TV apps, and more. Amagi offers high-quality, broadcast-grade graphics, the lowest latency of any cloud-based playout software, captioning and subtitles, and many more features found in the best broadcast playout software.

Plus, our SSDAI solution enables you to:

  • Deliver contextually relevant, frame-accurate ads that won't get blocked by ad blockers.
  • Boost monetization with high-precision ad delivery by choosing the products, content, and locations you want to deliver ads to.
  • Test out cutting-edge DAI video advertising functions, such as nonlinear ads and ad interactivity.
  • Use detailed viewer and ad performance analytics to optimize your ad strategy so you can increase CPM and ad revenue.
  • Improve your fill rate so advertisers want to advertise on your channel.
  • Eliminate ad fatigue by only showing new ads to viewers within a certain time frame.
  • Fill your leftover ad inventory without any upfront costs.

Want to learn more about using Amagi to manage your video content channels? Contact our team today.

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