Oct 19, 2020 2 min read

Competitive Separation in Video Advertising Explained

Competitive Separation in Video Advertising Explained

Competitive separation in video advertising prevents ads of the same category or advertiser from displaying in a single ad pod.  An ad pod is a series of advertisements that playback one after the other in a single ad break.

Advertisers want to have complete control over the environment where consumers view their message. Controlling the playback environment is crucial because adjacent advertisements surrounding a brand's ad could impact the perception of the intended message or cause brand confusion.

Advertiser Competitive Separation

Many users have experienced a commercial break in a video streaming app that contains the same ad repeated back to back. This breakdown in user experience can cause frustration for a user and result in ad fatigue.

This phenomenon is easily preventable with some simple coordination between the parties involved in the ad transaction.

Creative 'adomain'

An "adomain" is a piece of metadata associated with a creative that identifies the advertiser. The domain in 'adomain' is typically a company website. For example, a creative may have an adomain of "tide.com," "ford.com," or "apple.com."

Ad-serving systems can prevent ads from the same advertiser running in a single ad pod by reading the adomain when orchestrating an ad pod. The platform would then exclude ads from the same advertiser.

Ad platforms determine adomain by:

1. A customer manually entering the value when uploading a creative.

2. A Demand Side Platform (DSP) passing the value in the "bid.adomain" field of a bid response.

Category Competitive Separation

Advertisers also wish to competitively separate their ads by category or prevent "brand collision." Running ads for similar products back to back could confuse consumers, or muddle the brand's message.

Ford would not want to run an ad for their F-150 truck to run behind an ad for a new Chevrolet Silverado. The consumer could recall the ad later on and mistakenly associate the Silverado as the most popular pickup truck in the United States.

Creative Category

A creative category is a piece of metadata attached to a creative that identifies its category. Ad platforms typically utilize the standardized taxonomy published by the IAB. Categories are expressed as a string, prefixed with "IAB" followed by a parent and child category code.

For example, the category "IAB2-18" represents "Automotive - Pickup Trucks." It is typical to also sometimes use only the parent category, with "IAB2" representing "Automotive."'

Similar to adomain, an ad-serving platform would only have to ensure ads from the same category do not serve in the same ad pod to guarantee competitive separation by category.

Ad platforms determine category by:

  1. A customer or employee manually classifying the creative after viewing the ad.
  2. A DSP passing a string array of IAB category values in the "bid.cat" field of a bid response.

A DSP can provide a single value or multiple values in the category field if desired by passing an array. The field would look like:

"cat": [ "IAB2-18", "IAB2-17"],

Competitive separation can protect a brand's message and preserve a user's experience with a small amount of effort from the platform constructing video ad pods.

Trey Titone
Author of Ad Tech Explained and VP of Client Success at Logiq. Former Principal Product Manager at SpotX and Head of Product at Beachfront Media.
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