For decades, agencies have been efficient at executing non-strategic initiatives by working with trusted partners. Examples of this include a wide variety of functions ranging from post-production to search engine optimization.
However, given the technological nature of online video advertising and the lack of standards around it, agencies clearly face a tougher challenge. The good news is that they can overcome these issues by partnering with trusted third parties.
When working with third parties, agencies should keep in mind that there are four key areas where they should always maintain complete ownership.
•The Client Relationship
Outside of these core focus areas, agencies can find significant execution efficiency improvements by working with trusted third parties in the following areas:
Contrary to popular belief, multiple third parties now buy more video inventory than any individual agency (and sell more inventory than most publishers). These market makers provide significant competitive pricing benefits to the market.
Ad Unit Development
•In many cases, agencies work with rich media vendors but most don't realize that often, third party video vendors now offer these services for free. Media with ad unit development from one vendor is the most efficient way to pursue a video campaign
•Online video ad execution is much more efficient with direct access to video inventory and the tools to automatically convert and traffic video files that match the specs of the selected sites. This process has been entirely automated by third party vendors.
•Agencies do not have the time to monitor publishers and ad placements on a daily basis to make sure that they stand up to requirements. Video vendors monitor these sites regardless, so by partnering with these vendors, the agency doesn't have to take on this burden.
•Agencies must drive optimization strategy, but the data needed to optimize video is often not visible in the agency ad server. A joint effort around defining strategy coupled with an automated optimization tool provides the most efficient optimization strategy.
•Publisher payments are a hidden cost across all media categories, but are particularly challenging in online video due to the large number of sites on most buys. Coupling a single vendor payment with billing on agency numbers is the best way to systemize this process.
The most successful agencies will be able to fully maintain control while leveraging the efficiencies brought to them by third parties. By maximizing price and time efficiencies, agencies can increase the value that they are providing clients and increase the volume of campaigns each team can handle. Additionally, many of these efficiency improvements positively impact agency margin by increasing throughput, reducing publisher costs and reducing operational costs such as accounting and development.
Tod Sacerdoti is the CEO and founder of BrightRoll, the world's largest branded video advertising network. Under Sacerdoti's direction, BrightRoll has grown from conception into the premier video advertising network, having served billions of ads on behalf of the world's leading agencies and their clients and executed campaigns on more than two-thirds of the top 100 online media properties in the United States. A recognized expert on online advertising, Tod is a regular guest columnist for AdAge and MediaPost and is widely quoted in publications such as ClickZ and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He has previously held senior roles at Plaxo (acquired by Comcast), Spoke Software, and covered Internet marketing as an investment banker at Robertson Stephens. Tod holds a B.A. in Economics from Yale University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.