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Targeted Ad Innovations: A Step into the Future

Targeted advertising coupled with a robust cloud streaming workflow holds immense potential to generate revenue worth billions of dollars in the future. The question is: how?
June 28, 2023
3-Minute Read
Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy
It's time to elevate the streaming experience to retain your subscribers. Audiences are choosing from over 200 streaming services based on what suits their preferences. So, service providers are resorting to personalization techniques, like targeted ads, to up their game.
Targeted advertising coupled with a robust cloud streaming workflow holds immense potential to generate revenue worth billions of dollars in the future. The question is: how?


Targeted ads and cloud streaming: a winning combination

Many service providers are adopting and reaping the benefits of cloud workflows to deliver targeted ads, including:
  1. Scalability: One of the major challenges that video streaming service providers face is scalability. Cloud-native workflows enable service providers to target and deliver personalized ads at scale to millions of viewers. With the cloud, service providers can dynamically adjust resources to handle sudden spikes in viewer traffic and deliver customized ads to viewers in real time.

  2. Precise customization: The cloud's elasticity enables service providers to tailor ad delivery by modifying manifest files based on user data. Leveraging manifest manipulation in a targeted ads solution lets service providers create and customize how and where their ads are shown to target audiences, instantly.

  3. Simple integration: The targeted advertising ecosystem consists of various components including ad servers, user data platforms, and more which can be complicated to implement. With cloud infrastructure, service providers can effortlessly integrate these components to deliver targeted ads in video streaming.

  4. Seamless experience: By implementing a robust cloud infrastructure, service providers can achieve a smooth transition between content and ad, superior video quality, and uninterrupted playback. This ultimately leads to an exceptional video streaming experience for the viewers.

Today, targeted advertisements in video streaming have gone beyond targeting based only on preferences, demographics, and location. Let's explore the significant advancements taking place in the targeted advertising space.

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Video Industry

Recent innovations are revolutionizing the targeted advertising space

Streaming service providers are leveraging different advertising technology to precisely target audience segments and boost revenues. The following innovations are shaking up the industry today.


Server-side ad insertion (SSAI): SSAI is a technology that is responsible for inserting and stitching personalized ads into a unified stream. Instead of using the legacy technology of client-side ad insertion, SSAI enhances the viewing experience with manifest modification. Streaming service providers are now preferring SSAI because it seamlessly stitches the ads into the content ensuring consistency and frame accuracy in the streaming. You can leverage SSAI and other targeted ad technologies with SaaS solutions similar to Harmonic's VOS®360 Ad.

In-content product placement: There are various ways to place targeted ads in video streaming. Service providers are exploring in-content product placement using advanced virtual product insertion technology offered by companies such as Mirriad. It is a seamless way to integrate a product into the specific video content without the need for a separate ad that plays out of the video content. One example of in-content placement is changing the brand of the product based on user preferences. 

Frequency capping: The conventional approach of exposing a viewer to the same ad many times may lead to ad fatigue and viewer frustration. Also known as impression capping, frequency capping is the method used for determining or limiting the number of times a viewer is exposed to a particular ad. Streaming service providers maintain a limit on the frequency of the targeted ads to keep the content interesting. Frequency capping also ensures the optimization of the ad spend to push different variations of a similar ad to the same user.

Revenue-per-second model: This emerging revenue model calculates the revenue per second of the ad instead of impressions. Typically, ads used to run for 30 seconds, and the cost was calculated on the number of impressions. Today, service providers and advertisers are better optimizing targeted ads by delivering shorter ads. This is especially true with the rise of free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) services which offer a limited amount of advertising. The revenue-per-second model maximizes revenue more than the CPM model.

Ad-pod optimization: Using ad pods is one of the latest developments in targeted advertising. An ad pod consists of a collection of ads that are played back to back in a sequence during a break in video streaming. Although the concept sounds familiar to commercial breaks in linear TV, ad pods give more control to the advertisers in the strategic placement of their ads. Usually, the first and last ads of the sequence are worth more as those get the most attention from the viewers.

Machine learning: Service providers can achieve hyper-targeting of ads with the use of machine learning. It sees what misses the human eye and utilizes methods such as predictive and behavioral analytics to deeply target ads that are hyper-relevant to each viewer. Advanced AI recommendation models analyze granular data such as the intent of the viewer to place precisely targeted ads.

Adopting innovative approaches in targeted advertising can enable service providers to stay competitive in this growing market. And a cloud-native streaming solution makes it possible.

Cloud-based targeted ads for great viewing experiences

With a cloud infrastructure, streaming service providers can seamlessly deliver targeted ads to millions of viewers without interruptions. This personalized viewing experience ultimately keeps subscribers loyal to one platform and reduces subscriber churn. Implementing a cloud-native streaming workflow could provide your video streaming services with a competitive edge in the market.

Harmonic's VOS360 Ad is a one-stop platform for leveraging targeted ad innovations in video streaming. VOS360 Ad's superior SSAI and DAI capabilities enable service providers to deliver hyper-targeted ads without disrupting the viewing experience and maximize their CPM.

Take targeted ads and video streaming experience to the next level with VOS360 Ad.

Robert Gambino is Head of Advertising & Personalization Strategy. He provides business development and strategic direction for the company’s cloud SaaS platform with a focus on targeted advertising, personalization, origination and playout. Robert joined Harmonic after 17 years in telecom, running presales, architecture, and product strategy groups for operators and vendors in the video and ad tech spaces.

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