I was reading an article today at Mercury News about how Brightroll has been either neck-and-neck or, as we had reported earlier, outright beating Google in getting a sheer number of video ads to the public. In the December 2012 Comscore results, Google was once again on top, but not by much, and Brightroll was actually reaching a better percentage of the population. But it's not just Brightroll, either. LiveRail and Adap.TV also claim amazing amounts of ads and a good chunk of the population. The secret in Google's competitors' success may lie in the way they sell ads.
How Do They Do It?
Let's take a look at the numbers first:
Brightroll is a model of simplicity, which is probably why they are doing so well. What they do is find a website who wants to have video ads, find a marketer who wants to put ads on just the right site, and they "marry" them together. This ensures that the marketer's ad is placed in front of an audience that is likely to watch it, and the publisher has a video that meshes well with their content, and this is across a lot of websites over a lot of devices. With Google, they focus mainly on YouTube and the matches aren't always true matches. But it's huge, so it will always serve a bunch of ads.
With exchanges like LiveRail and Adap.TV, these companies run with a supply/demand model. They serve as public marketplaces for the trading of digital advertising, sort of like how a stock exchange works. Again, these companies are finding willing buyers and sellers and matching them up at the right price, although there have been some concerns that their business model has too many entities (publisher, agency, ad network, data provider, ad exchange, ad server) taking a piece of the pie. Ad Age has more on the difference between ad networks and exchanges if you want to check it out. Still, LiveRail is reaching 32.1% of the population, just a hair under Google, and Adap.TV is beating Google and is comparable to Brightroll, with 42.9%.
You see others in the top 10 that have eyebrow-raising stats as well. For instance, Hulu is in the top 5 with sheer number of ads, but only reach 7.3% of the population, and they far and away out-distance the others in the number of ads per viewer. That's why the Brightroll statistics seem so amazing, considering they provide 13.8 ads per viewer, small compared to Google, but blow away everybody in ad minutes and reach.
What's good to know about this is that Google isn't the only game in town when in comes to video, and it's very good that they have competition that makes them want to do a better job finding the right marketers with the right publishers.