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LiveRail: Super Bowl Driving Huge Demand for Online Video Ads

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No matter which team takes home the Vince Lombardi trophy on February 2nd, online video ad sellers will already have won. The video advertising platform LiveRail is finding unprecedented demand for video advertising after the game, mostly in the 12-hour period after the Super Bowl ends.

"It's been quite surprising because we didn't see that last year," says Troels Smit, vice president of demand sales for LiveRail. Brands are spending big on Super Bowl commercials, and they're looking to online channels to make sure those ads are see by as wide an audience as possible. Brands are buying up pre-roll spots in the day before the game and the two days after. Alcoholic beverage brands are the heaviest spenders, Smit says.

As a result of this buying frenzy, online video ad spending is up three times the normal amount for the 12 hours after the Super Bowl. Many sites can't meet the demand, Smit says. Sports, music, and entertainment sites are most requested. When those spots are sold, advertisers will look to other channels, reaching viewers on mobile devices and connected TVs.

Popular sites can't simply add video ad slots to meet a greater demand, since most buyers prefer true pre-rolls, with only their ad showing before the content the viewer requested.

"It's great for publishers because it's driving up CPMs," Smit says.

With sites like YouTube and Hulu setting up Super Bowl ad zones that highlight game day commercials, why do advertisers need to seek out more eyeballs? After all, this is the one time all year when people enjoy watching ads. Those ad zones reach a limited audience, Smit notes, and all in the same channels. Brands plan to reach a larger and more wide-ranging viewership.

Rather than choosing a demographic and buying that audience across sites, brands are doing rougher demographic targeting by buying on certain types of sites, such as sports and entertainment, to reach a desired audience.

The coming Winter Olympics should be another online video ad bonanza, with sports sites getting most of the attention. Brands are looking for direct preferred yield, Smit says, which guarantees a certain amount of inventory at a set price. Buyers know what they're getting, and purchases are executed programmatically. This kind of ad buying could be a new trend for all major events, he believes.

LiveRail announced in December that it is considering an IPO in the second half of 2014.

Football image via Shutterstock.

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