Have you heard about Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI)? SSAI is crucial for seamless ad integration, maximizing revenue, and ensuring a superior viewing experience for content owners and advertisers. In this blog post, we’ll explore SSAI and why it’s important for video service providers. We will detail the benefits of the technology and how it enhances the streaming experience for viewers. We’ll also cover implementation strategies to help you effectively integrate ads into your videos.

Get ready to delve into the world of SSAI and gain insights that will elevate your video streaming while maximizing revenue opportunities. Let’s dive in!

What is Server-Side Ad Insertion – SSAI?

Server-side ad insertion is a technology for online video streaming that enables ads to be added to video content on the server side. Unlike client-side ad insertion (CSAI), which relies on the viewer’s device or browser, SSAI operates without client integration. It ensures a seamless viewing experience with ads inserted into the video stream before reaching the viewer’s device. This process allows targeted ads to be smoothly stitched, enhancing the viewer’s experience.

SSAI Workflow

DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion) or SSAI (Server-Side Ad Insertion)?

Many people in the ad industry are talking about DAI (Dynamic Ad Insertion) instead of SSAI. You can even notice that broadpeak.io calls its SSAI application “Dynamic Ad Insertion as a Service”.

DAI is the possibility to insert/replace ads in video streams dynamically. This is in opposition to the original way to monetize video feeds, based on one single schedule of advertisements per type of content (linear channel or on-demand). DAI is bringing the capacity to dynamically schedule ads and to target them per audience/user.

DAI can use SSAI, CSAI, or a mix of the two. In the broadpeak.io case, our DAI solution has two models: a 100% server side and a hybrid one composed of SSAI and an SDK called SmartLib, bringing additional features to enhance the DAI experience.

How CSAI works: a comparison with SSAI

On the client-side ad insertion, the viewer’s device handles the process. It can be susceptible to ad blockers and may cause buffering/delays, but another blog post should explore this contentious point. Here is a diagram of how it typically works:

Client Side Ad Insertion flow

How server-side ad insertion works: step-by-step

There are various steps involved in the SSAI  process.

  • The servers host the video content (Origin Server), the manifest files listing the fragments to deliver (Manifest Manipulator, also called Video Stitcher – this is what broadpeak.io proposes as part of the DAI application), and the inventory of ads (Ad Server).
  • The video player talks to the servers through a CDN when a viewer requests the video. The Manifest Manipulator gets access to the video content from the Origin Server and questions the Ad Servers for the ads to put in the video to stream.
  • The Ad Server uses targeting criteria the Manifest Manipulator carries to decide which ads to show.
  • After that, the chosen advertisements and the video content are combined to form a single stream by the Manifest Manipulator.
  • The viewer receives this stream on their device, enabling seamless playback.

Importance and advantages of server-side ad insertion

SSAI plays a crucial role in the modern advertising landscape, offering significant benefits for advertisers, content publishers, and viewers alike. Some key benefits of server-side ad insertion include:

a. Improved ad targeting and delivery: Ad content can be dynamically inserted based on viewer attributes and real-time data using server-side technology. Advertisers can target their audience with more relevant and tailored ads, increasing engagement and conversion rates. Furthermore, server-side ad insertion enables smooth ad delivery without interfering with the video playback for the viewer; see next point.

 b. Enhanced user experience: One of its main benefits is the improved user experience that server-side ad insertion offers. The viewer doesn’t experience any buffering or delays often associated with client-side ad insertion when ads are inserted on the server side. This guarantees a more seamless and pleasurable viewing experience, which raises user satisfaction.

 c. Prevention of ad blocking: Ad blocking has become increasingly common, negatively impacting advertisers’ ability to reach their target audience. Because the ads are inserted on the server side before being delivered to the viewer’s device, server-side ad insertion gets around ad blockers. This helps increase the effectiveness of their ad campaigns as the ad viewability is maximized.

 d. Increased ad viewability: As said, SSAI dramatically improves ad viewability by ensuring ads are delivered and displayed to viewers, unlike client-side ad insertion, where ads can be blocked or skipped. This results in higher ad impressions and a greater chance of user engagement with the ads.

e. Monetization of content: If you improve the quality and number of impressions of advertisements and engagement with these advertisements, the consequence is, of course, an increase in revenue.  

f. No integration required with end user-clients: Today’s streaming landscape is fragmented due to the growing combinations of devices, OS, and players on the end users’ side. When using Client-Side Ad Insertion, this diversity creates a significant overhead due to initial integration and maintenance cycles. Unlike CSAI, SSAI does not require such integration efforts and can benefit from a short TTM.

SSAI can improve impressions

Implementation of Server-Side Ad Insertion

a. Integration in your Video Platform

You need to think about how to implement SSAI in your platform. First, you need to select technology and vendors, of course, SSAI, but also Ad Servers/SSP to help you serve the inventory you will create by enabling video stitching in your service.

I’d like to point out that the second step is working with your CMS. CMS integration is crucial to implement server-side ad insertion effectively. It enables seamless coordination between video playback, content delivery, and ad insertion. By integrating SSAI into their CMS, publishers can streamline ad management, efficiently scheduling and targeting ads within their content ecosystem. In particular, ensuring the correct data is forwarded from the clients to the Video Stitcher is vital.

b. Technical requirements and considerations

Implementing server-side ad insertion involves several technical requirements and considerations.

Firstly, a resilient and scalable service for SSAI is essential to handle the increased processing and delivery of ads on the server side.

Secondly, your SSAI should be able to manage multiple types of situations based on how you sell your inventory. It should be able to transcode and prepare your ads on the fly to fit with your original content characteristics.

Other technical considerations include ensuring secure ad delivery and implementing proper tracking and reporting mechanisms to monitor ad performance and user engagement.

What is Dynamic Ad Insertion as-a-service by broadpeak.io and what are its main benefits?

Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service refers to our cloud-based solution that can dynamically insert targeted ads into live or on-demand video content. We can summarize the benefits in 4 words: Simplicity, Scalability, Monetization, and Conformity.

1. Simplicity: Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service simplifies incorporating targeted ads into video content, providing an efficient and user-friendly solution with a GUI and an API platform.

2. Scalability: With Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service, you can quickly scale your ad insertion capabilities to accommodate increasing demand without significant infrastructure investments or technical complexities. We manage the scalability of our platform for you.

3. Monetization: Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service enables content providers to effectively monetize their video content by seamlessly integrating targeted ads and generating revenue without compromising the viewer’s experience.

4. Conformity: Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service ensures compliance with industry standards and regulations, offering a solution that aligns with ad-serving guidelines and optimizes ad performance.

Overall, Dynamic Ad Insertion as a service provides OTT services and Content Providers with a comprehensive solution for efficient and effective monetization of their video content in an easier way of implementation and in record time of deployment.

At broadpeak.io, we offer server-side ad insertion adapted to fits better for you!

Try a free trial today!