A key player in the video ad market has voiced its concern for a lack of premium inventory available to brands, who are increasingly looking for quality environments to position themselves in.

Video is currently one of the fastest-growing channels in the digital marketing mix, with the IAB highlighting a 43% rise in spend to £442 million during 2014.

But Justin Taylor, UK MD of video ad firm Teads, says the chances of expansion by a similar rate in 2016 and beyond will rest on more premium inventory entering the fold.

“Online video is the rapidly rising star of the digital ad world. Brands now have the confidence and capability to take advantage of the most engaging medium on the web and they’re investing millions to capture the hearts and minds of consumers,” he comments.

“This is largely because they can now feel confident that their ads will appear in premium publisher environments and video is one of the few digital ad formats that works as well on mobile devices as it does on desktops.

“But for this growth to continue, we desperately need to unlock more new premium inventory: demand is now outstripping supply. That’s where innovative, newer ‘outstream’ formats, which provide an alternative to pre-roll, come in.”

Pride of place

To become a premium publisher, a site must generally be able to offer quality inventory in a “brand-safe” location, where high-value users await. 

Premium environments may also offer greater “viewability” – the metric that helps brands establish their ad’s ability to be seen. Advertisers have recently expressed concern over paying for inventory that is served where people don’t scroll down to.

The IAB has previously stated that 100% viewability of digital ads is not yet possible, but Taylor believes a channel-specific set of guidelines would help improve the quality offered by video.

“There are currently no standard viewability guidelines for UK online video, meaning that advertisers could be paying for a ‘view’ of just two or three seconds,” he comments. 

“While this complies with international regulations, this simply does not go far enough. The UK – as one of the fastest growing video ad markets – should be leading by example and raising the bar higher on viewability.”

Fraudulent impressions

A flock towards premium environments could also address the growing problem of ad fraud. The presence of bot traffic means that some brands are serving ads to users that don’t exist, but still having to pay the hosting publisher. 

On the flipside, there is evidence of ad campaign managers avoiding the issue of fraud due to having to pay more for their impressions.

Erol Soyer, of fraud detection specialist Forensiq, told PerformanceIN earlier this month that weeding out bot traffic would increase the cost of advertising online, but serving inventory to robots was a futile practice.