Vungle looks to reboot mobile video ads with Vungle Exchange

It only takes 15 seconds to make a statement

Vungle looks to reboot mobile video ads with Vungle Exchange

Over the past year, mobile video ads have exploded into an incredibly lucrative business.

In that context, it's good timing for video advertising platform Vungle to unveil a new in-app video exchange service. Fittingly entitled Vungle Exchange, it's an attempt to corner this market.

The new solution allows advertisers to unlock brand spend via in-app video ads by focusing on ad quality, user experience, and - perhaps most importantly - brand safety.

We caught up with Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer to discuss Vungle Exchange and the potential benefits it offers to developers.

Pocket Gamer: What does Vungle Exchange offer that other services don't, and why would an advertiser use it?

Zain Jaffer: Our technology is absolutely unique: Vungle Exchange is the first exchange built from the ground up for in-app video.

In building it, we have overcome five critical challenges that no one else has been able to resolve, and that are the reasons why you haven't seen a proliferation of exchanges in the mobile video ad space:

First, there's ad-quality - Vungle Exchange will show only 15-second, high-bitrate, high-resolution ads. Why only 15 seconds? We've done extensive testing, and this is the video length that gets the most engagement while being the least interruptive.

Next is latency. We have patent-pending technology that allows us to serve video ads in less time than it takes the human eye to blink. This is the UX that users expect, and in the past, advertisers haven't been able to deliver on it. Vungle Exchange changes that.

After that is brand safety - Vungle Exchange provides granular category and content controls amongst others to make sure advertiser and publisher interests are aligned.

Then there's standards. Vungle Exchange will initially support the IAB's Video Ad Serving Template (VAST). But Vungle has also built flexible server-side technology that adapts to new formats and creative types. Participating publishers won't have to do any client-side work to accommodate new video standards and formats as they develop.

Finally, there's optimisation. Vungle has developed highly effective predictive algorithms to optimize between performance ads and brand ads, to maximize revenue potential for developers and return on ad spend for advertisers

As for why an advertiser would use it?

Advertisers are in the middle of adapting to four huge industry shifts: Video being recognized as the most engaging form of advertising, increased pressure on brands to "figure out mobile", the rise of programmatic buying, and dramatic fragmentation in the ad tech landscape and the attendant confusion over which solutions to use.

15 seconds is the video length that gets the most engagement while being the least interruptive
Zain Jaffer, Vungle

Vungle Exchange provides a solution to all of these problems by providing a frictionless solution for leveraging advertisers' existing video assets and demand partnerships to access high-quality mobile in-app video supply programatically at scale.

Brand safety is a major concern to advertisers. What steps does Vungle's new service take to ensure that ads don’t run in games inconsistent with the brand?

We built Vungle Exchange from the ground up to address brand safety.

Vungle Exchange provides granular controls that include category, device and restrictions such as age, to ensure that ads run within content that's aligned with their brand image.

How does this new service benefit developers?

Vungle Exchange gives developers an easy way to monetize that complements their content, while giving them access to a source of diverse, high-quality advertisers.

Freemium has become the dominant business model for apps. Developers are increasingly relying on ad-based monetization models.

Yet, thus far, mobile advertising has been dominated by performance campaigns.

By giving brands programmatic access to in-app inventory, Vungle Exchange offers developers access to a diverse set of advertisers. Our serving algorithms also allow us to optimize between brand and performance ads, so developers receive the highest yield on their inventory.

While Vungle's HD ads are enticing, are you concerned about the draw they'll place on a user's device when they're out and about?

Vungle Exchange has been designed to minimize data usage.

We can detect a user's connection type - e.g. wifi, cellular etc. - to determine whether to stream an ad to them or to deliver a pre-cached ad. The pre-cached ad would have been downloaded to the device when a user was on wifi, and requires no data connection at all at the time of ad-serving.

How scalable is Vungle Exchange? Is there a minimum spend that advertisers need to meet?

We designed Vungle Exchange to handle massive scale. As we roll out the exchange we have put a premium on the high-quality user experience that developers and users have come to expect from Vungle.

In order to continue to deliver these experiences, we have been selective about the initial set of partners that we are rolling out with. We will continue to on-board partners as we scale up.

Advertisers and demand side technologies like DSPs and ATDs can reach out to ask us about participating in Vungle Exchange.

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Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.