Just last week, H&M's (a multi-national retail clothing company) rolled out its underwear ad featuring the famous footballer and ex-England's football team captain, David Beckham, creating such a frenzy on the internet that people actually google up the ad and watch it. Video ads can make great entertainment, but they are powerful tools in disseminating product information, creating brand awareness and driving sales. Millenials love online video ads, so does everyone else, especially when they are well-targeted, engaging and relevant to the actual content being accessed. As video sharing sites and online video streaming become ubiquitous, driving traffic and revenues for telecommunications service providers, publishers and content providers, the growth in the number and type of advertisements, be it short video clips or graphic displays such as banners, will become phenomenal, making these ads commonplace across many sites and apps. Monetization of these sites and applications depends significantly on these advertisements, but given the breadth of the content and the nature of these sites where people share virtually everything that they can capture on video, this can pose a lot of challenges for both the marketers and the content hosts. The ads must first and foremost, be relevant to the user, context and content. Secondly, the ads must ensure that the viewing experience is not compromised and thirdly, the ads must be delivered to the target market within the targeted timelines.
With Facebook, the world's most popular social sharing site seeing more people and enterprises sharing video content on its platform and as more marketers using it as a major marketing channel, it is about time users see better and more engaging ads being served as they scroll down their News Feeds or visit Facebook Pages. And it looks like this is going to happen very soon. Facebook announced earlier this week that it is acquiring LiveRail, an advertising technology company that enables online video channels to serve ads in the videos they host, either on the web or on their apps. Founded in 2007, LiveRail has the technology that allows online video publishers, for example, Garret and Dailymotion, to serve ads intelligently, ensuring the best of ads are served to the audience they are targeted for. In addition, LiveRail's technology platform allows marketers to access premium video inventory from which they can choose where to place their videos. According to a blog post by Mark Trefgarne, the Co-Founder and CEO of LiveRail, LiveRail has 170 employees across four offices, hundreds of active customers and over 7bn video ads delivered each month. Working together with Facebook will enable LiveRail to push forward audience-aware advertising across the application and also create a better experience for its users and better returns for marketers and advertisers.