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HomeAdvertisingAdExplainer: What Is Server-Aspect Advert Insertion (SSAI)?

AdExplainer: What Is Server-Aspect Advert Insertion (SSAI)?

Some of the standard technical options to streamline marketing campaign flights on linked TV is server-side advert insertion (SSAI).

SSAI is know-how that stitches collectively advertisements inside a video stream earlier than the stream masses on a person’s gadget.

It may be utilized in any linked or over-the-top (OTT) video environments, together with social, however many of the demand is coming from the explosive development of CTV. SSAI know-how is changing into so ubiquitous that advert tech firms are actually utilizing it for video bids “no matter gadget,” mentioned Shailley Singh, SVP of product administration and international packages at IAB Tech Lab.

SSAI shouldn’t be confused with client-side advert insertion (CSAI), which processes bid requests inside the browser on an end-user’s gadget.

The 2 processes look the identical from a bidding, transactional and measurement standpoint. The principle distinction is the place every course of is going down, which is both on a server or in a person’s browser.

The server serves

Server-side bid processing means all advertisements in a video stream are already stitched into content material earlier than it runs on a viewer’s gadget.

When a long-form video session is initiated, for instance, by beginning a stream or loading a URL, the writer’s advert server sends out bid requests to its buy-side companions for advertisements. Publishers utilizing SSAI then ferry these bids from their server to their SSAI vendor, which creates the advert pods for a stream earlier than it’s delivered again to the writer.

It’s a extra environment friendly supply technique for video than CSAI, which requires a writer’s advert server to course of particular person bids via a browser, then compile the supplies wanted to run every advert via the video participant.

As a result of advert markers are embedded right into a stream, SSAI can get the job carried out in linear in addition to in on-demand video environments, together with AVOD or FAST channels, mentioned Chris Flatley, VP of advert gross sales at fuboTV, a sports-focused streaming platform that first adopted SSAI in 2018.

Déjà vu

Paradoxically, the effectivity of SSAI resembles the previous days of conventional linear TV, when advertisements traveled along with their content material like a package deal deal.

However SSAI remains to be much more like digital CSAI as a result of linear video streams are decided a lot additional prematurely, relatively than within the milliseconds throughout which a stream is loading, Singh mentioned.

As a result of SSAI happens on the server degree relatively than the gadget degree, “it’s an entire completely different tech stack,” he mentioned.

Streamlining streaming

Right here’s a enjoyable reality: SSAI was initially created as a method to get round advert blockers. There’s no level in streamlining video advert supply if the advertisements by no means truly get delivered.

“Advert blockers search for alerts to detect when an advert begins and stops with a purpose to block it,” mentioned Alexis Sandler, affiliate director of media know-how requirements at Publicis Media Trade (PMX). “However when an advert is stitched into the content material [itself], the advert blocker loses the flexibility to tell apart between the advert and the content material and might’t block the advert.”

By streamlining bid requests to a centralized server, SSAI additionally places “much less weight on the shopper” by eliminating the necessity for discrete gadget processing and limiting the variety of third-party advert servers required to ship details about particular person advertisements, Sandler mentioned.

To not point out the improved person expertise.

“In CSAI, the video participant receives a wrapper tag which initiates its personal javascript library used for client-side auctioning and measurement,” mentioned Ben Antier, CEO of IAS-owned CTV advert server Publica. “This creates a whole bunch of outbound requests, which might be seen in a browser’s debug console, and creates the ‘spinning wheel’ we’re all acquainted with.”

As a result of there’s no predicting what number of viewers will stick round for a stream’s advertisements to load, the chance for higher viewability makes SSAI engaging to the purchase aspect, too – however consumers beware.

“The identical issue of SSAI that stops advert blockers additionally prevents measurement of advert fraud by verification distributors,” Sandler mentioned.

“From a buy-side perspective, SSAI advert fraud is among the largest danger elements to CTV and OTT promoting,” she added.

Fraught with fraud

Sadly, SSAI is a vector for fraud, however fortunately there are a couple of methods to fight it.

Irrespective of how environment friendly it’s from an ad-serving standpoint, the SSAI vendor stitching collectively video streams creates a further layer between a writer’s tech stack and the top person’s gadget, which makes SSAI inherently extra weak to fraud, mentioned IAB Tech Lab’s Singh.

To not point out the added issue of excessive CPMs, which makes video a major goal for fraudsters.

“The shift in advert spend to CTV – and its excessive CPMs – leaves SSAI prone to advert fraud,” mentioned PMX’s Sandler. “Scammers use machines to imitate SSAI servers, and fraudsters are in a position to cover behind professional SSAI proxy servers.”

Probably the most dependable repair is authorizing all provide and bid requests with trusted tech companions that may provide transparency. The IAB Tech Lab launched its sellers.json spec in 2019 to assist consumers vet the supply of provide and launched a model of the Open Measurement SDK particularly to validate CTV impressions earlier this month.

Entry to fundamental gadget information is essential to consumers for measurement, verification and fraud evaluation, mentioned Sandler, who famous that this information is usually handed alongside in bid requests, though there are some situations when it isn’t.

“We see adoption of IAB Tech Lab’s VAST requirements and macros because the quickest method to acquire elevated transparency and effectivity when utilizing SSAI,” she mentioned.



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