Premium Video Inventory

Premium Video Inventory: What Shortage?

The word “premium” is bandied about all of the time in digital programmatic circles. Like much of the jargon that populates ad tech, it has been applied in various ways, depending on the context, so that it has come to mean different things to different people.

As it relates specifically to the online video space, “premium” is often misunderstood. If you go by what the folks at Forrester Research say, the No. 1 way agencies define premium is through domain brand analysis. That means a primary reliance on breadth of audience anchored to a prominent brand equity, similar to the comScore top 100.

While it would be foolish to argue the intuitive sense in employing this logical method for locating premium video ad inventory, it would be short-sighted to stop there, which all too often is what agency planners do. And then they complain that there is a shortage of premium inventory.

But if they, in the name of due diligence on behalf of their advertiser clients, would dig deeper and wider to take a more nuanced approach in evaluating sites that feature video, they would actually realize that there is an expanded marketplace for premium video inventory.

While the long tail of digital content sites on the Internet is often associated with undesirable elements, such as dubious, low-quality content, nonhuman traffic and site spoofing, that reputation is, in many ways, undeserved. It’s the classic example of tarring all niche sites with the same brush of bad content. There are, in fact, many sites, albeit obscure, offering high-quality video experiences for active, engaged user bases, which creates premium video ad placements.

Consumer consumption of digital media has become increasingly fragmented. With so much consumption beginning on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social sharing platforms, readership happens at the article level and there’s a limited – if any at all – consumer relationship with the brand or news company itself.

For example, your typical news junkies in the 21st century do not just go to one or two of the top news sites, such as CNN or The New York Times. They’ll often hit those mainstream players as well as unfamiliar, smaller indie news sites or blogs, where a share or like from a friend, or even a friend of a friend, has led them. Similarly, serious sports fans will likely not only rely on just ESPN, but rather devotedly check in with a super blogger that often scoops the bigger national outlets with breaking news on their local teams.

The point that I’m making here is that just because a site doesn’t chart in the comScore top 200, hasn’t been around for 10-plus years or doesn’t have a recognizable name doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t have a valuable, engaged audience that can produce a high ROI for advertisers. Yet because of antiquated legacy thinking and shrinking agency staffer bandwidth, many smaller but equally valuable premium sites remain off of many media buyers’ radars.

Written by Matt Brummett