Thought Leadership
Mobile Video Programmatic Isn’t the Future — It’s the Now


Jason Shulman
SVP, Sales

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For those of us that aren’t familiar with Vdopia, please tell us a little more about your company and core offering. 

Vdopia’s Chocolate is the world’s largest purely mobile video ad exchange, connecting thousands of buyers and sellers across the globe with mobile video viewed by humans on lots of brand name sites and apps.


There have been many reports of 2016 being the year that mobile video really explodes. Are there now many more mobile app and web publishers offering mobile video inventory, and how do they typically integrate these ad units into their properties without being too disruptive to the user experience?

True, many publishers that used to offer banner ads alone, have now moved to video for obvious reasons. Higher CPM’s being the main reason.  Most of these publishers offer a full screen, preroll instream video unit that is pretty interruptive in the overall mobile user experience.  They offer these full screen units even though they are interruptive because thats what marketers pay for. 

But an emerging class of video called Outstream is becoming more prevalent with each passing day. This is a video unit embedded in the feed or stream of the mobile app or website, and as such isnt so interruptive. Typically these units are automatically played with no sound unless the user turns it on and the ad stops playing when more than 50% of the ad is out of view, which addresses a viewability issue as well.


From the data you’ve seen internally, which ad units have been most successful so far for brands? Are there certain types of ad units that perform better by specific advertiser verticals?

For more direct response oriented clients looking for an action of some kind (install, download, CRM lead capture, etc), the Outstream units perform very well.  Short length video is optimal (7 seconds is the sweet spot) that has an end card after the video where the end card has the call to action, work very well. 

For brand advertisers, the standard interruptive preroll tends to outperform any other type of placement.  These preroll’s are defined as user intitiated play, sound on, non skippable linear video ad before linear video content.


What is your take on programmatic mobile video? Do you think this will take a significant slice of advertiser budgets in the near future, and how do you think these campaigns will typically be executed? (Through a DSP, Trading Desk, Private Marketplace, Buy directly through exchanges that have a Buy-Side Platform) 

Programmatic mobile video is already taking significant budget so its not a “will be” situation…its a “currently is” situation.  100% of it is purchased using a DSP connected to an SSP/exchange like our own Chocolate.  About 50% of it goes through trading desks and almost 100% of it is done via PMP (private marketplace). PMP’s are pretty much all we sell these days…with DealID’s naming or tagging the various PMP’s.


It was recently announced that Shine signed it’s first network-level deal with European carrier Three, while Samsung and Apple seem to be offering ad blocking capabilities on pre-installed browsers on their devices. How do you think that we, as an industry, can fight back against this ad blocking dilemma? 

Education helps a lot. Meaning that by educating our consumers to understand that they have two choices – either to pay for content or to view advertising and get the content free.  When presented with a reason for the advertising, almost 100% of consumers opt for the free content and dont complain. 

A really good example in my opinion is When using an adblocker, a visitor to is presented with a message saying “if you want to read our content for free, you need to turn off your ad blocker”.  And nearly 100% of people are complying and happy with that “value exchange“.  Of course another industry initiative under say is to make advertising less obtrusive and interruptive – then people wont despise it so much.  This is one goal of the new Outstream units described earlier.


What do you think are some of the biggest challenges we face, within the context of the mobile and mobile video advertising market?

Measurement and fraud. No question in my mind.  As an industry, we need to coalesce around common success metrics that cant be about click through rate alone.  A good example is viewbility and how that is measured.  Take three different vendors in viewability and you will have three different results every time. And digital ad fraud, particularly in video, is rampant and needs to be addressed by sellers and buyers together. 


The growth of mobile video consumption on social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat has growth almost exponentially over the last 2 years. Do you think that these walled gardens may eventually come around to opening up their inventory to others in the industry?

Walled gardens always come down eventually.  History has proven that to be the case.


Private Marketplace deals seem to be the hot trend now, at least amongst bigger brands and agencies. What has Vdopia’s experience been so far with these Deal ID, Preferred Guaranteed, or Programmatic direct deals of mobile video inventory?

As previously noted, 100% of our PMP deals are DealID’s. And PMP’s are at least 50% of our overall business so its not trivial and its clearly the fastest growing segment of our business  and I know we are not alone.  That said, we aren’t seeing a lot of activity for preferred guaranteed, although given our role as exchange, I don’t necessarily expect to.  


What are some innovations happening right now within mobile that excite you the most?

Dynamic creative optimization in mobile excites me, where a mobile consumer is shown creative on their phone that reflects the location of where they are at that time. This would include current weather, expected HHI of the consumer given their location, audience characteristics of the consumer (age/gender/status). 

Building on the creative theme, i really like haptics in mobile advertising where the user feels the phone vibrate based on the video content or virtual reality in mobile advertising, which is starting to take off. Novelty is always good in advertising and these are new and novel tactics for sure. 

I also love the Internet of Things (IoT) and its possibilities for advertising. Beacons are the first inning of location targeting, but IoT are innings two through nine of the long game of location targeting…and attribution.  Being able to laser target an ad to someone on a path to purchase through many IoT trackers and then know what aisle in the store they went and what exact product they bought, all in real time, will open many new doors.


Lastly, what do you see as the future of mobile video buying and selling?

More programmatic!  Of course I am jaded when I say that but just look at all the big TV guys – Turner, Time Warner, Fox, etc.  They have all hired senior programmatic talent and are talking the trading language of “audience targeting” and “addressability” and “the right ad in front  of the right person at the right time” and all that programmatic lingo.  So really I see TV and digital combining and since everyone is on their mobile device, it means its all mobile video!



Vdopia, Inc. is a global programmatic buying and selling platform for mobile video advertising. It is the first company to offer the .VDO mobile video format, a proprietary technology which enables brands to create scalable mobile video ad campaigns on mobile web and apps. Vdopia’s programmatic platform, ‘Chocolate’, integrates top technology partners from across the spectrum to give a unified one-stop platform for complete planning, buying and measurement of mobile video ad campaigns. Vdopia’s clients include Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, McDonald’s, Intel, Microsoft, Ford and hundreds of other leading global brands.

Vdopia Inc. is a privately held, venture-backed company headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Fremont, CA, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, India, Singapore and Australia.

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