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Video hosting, ad distribution, monetisation solutions on one platform: VDO.AI

In conversation with VDO.AI co-founder Arjit Sachdeva

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MUMBAI: The world of video is constantly changing and evolving. Brands and platforms are looking for interactive solutions to monetise and distribute their content. The new platform of VDO.AI helps clients to target exactly these aspects from one point. VDO.AI co-founder Arjit Sachdeva reveals to Indiantelevision.com all the details about this new technology, its importance for the industry, and the challenges it has been facing. Edited excerpts follow:

1. When and why was VDO.AI established? How has the journey been till date?

Answer: From the past decades, television has been ruling the channel for advertisers to promote their products and services to the masses. Evidently, a formula was created – “the 30-second television commercial” which was backed by press, poster and radio adverts. But in recent years, the advertising landscape has seen a drastic change. There are now more brands to choose from, a whole range of different broadcast channels and publications and, of course, technology that has completely shifted the way we communicate. Probably, one of the formats is video advertising which has taken the leap from television to online portals. Today, video content is more engaging and it is more receptive to the audience who are watching it.

Hence, there is no contradicting the fact that video is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant forms of content consumption. While all the major social media platforms, as well as websites and portals, are shifting to video content at a rapid rate, still there is a need for the majority of publishers to get access to cutting edge video hosting, distribution and monetisation solutions.

VDO.AI is one of such platforms, which provide video hosting and distribution of advertisements and monetisation solutions. It came into existence in 2017 as a product. However, in its initial stage, the product was utilised in-house as a revenue generator for the company’s own web properties. But, after perfecting the solutions for six months we decided to launch it in front of brands and clients.

With the launch of the internal solution of VDO.AI, the company has managed to reach over 30 million page views across all GEOs. The product has managed to achieve 500 publishers all across geographies. Also, with a good bunch of qualified professionals and their expertise at VDOI.AI, it has enabled to deliver unparalleled desired result. The company till date tries to unleash all new business marvels in the fields of video content creation and advertising. All in all, the company is observing an influx of immense success as well as exponential development throughout.

2. Why was the name VDO.AI chosen?

Answer: The Name VDO.AI was coined basis two main factors:

a. The initials-VDO has been taken from the company’s in-house video advertising products

b. And AI- because the product showcases the contextual video to the final consumer by using intelligent algorithm of AI and ML to connect them with relevant context and video.

3. What were the key challenges that you faced during the initial stages of development?

Answer: Development of new products is now hyper-paced for many brands and more essential to success than ever. Remaining relevant, maintaining growth and entering new markets can expand profit potential. But for every new product that is successfully brought to market, there are challenges faced by a company. There are countless companies in the industry competing for share-of-wallet. This forces companies to stay vigilant beyond back-end design, engineering and prototypes. To win the race from confident ideation to successful execution, companies must rely on calculated steps to guide the development and marketing decisions along the way.

Similarly, there were a few challenges faced with the development of VDO.AI product:

a. Cutting time to market: Initially, the company shaved a week off a development timeline in order to capitalise on everything from being first to market to dominate the hypercompetitive market. Instead of sacrificing on the quality insights, the company worked on testing and retesting the product in house to ensure the viability in the long term market.

b. Technical Conundrum: At a primary stage, development in terms of technology was a challenge due to minimal availability of team that was working on one product while trying to create a new product.

c. Leading customers to your new product: Once the product was foolproof tested and ready, it was time to launch in the market. Hence, it was necessary to drive the customers towards the product. Since there were other competitors who were serving the same sort of services, it was quite tricky to serve the same purpose to existing customers. At the outset, the company tried to grip on small publishers in the country.

d. Providing product viability: There was a requirement for establishing enough information to confirm the authenticity of VDO.AI. In order to harmonise the product, testing the veracity of a concept via a prototype and other means were offered to discover to give consumer realistic and believable context on the product that encourages them to amplify. However, now it is easy to install software with minimal efforts required.

4. How has the perspective of the industry changed towards the video advertising platform?

Answer: Video marketing is at its dominant stage where in the next decade, 86 per cent of marketers will be using content to advertise, educate and entertain. Similarly, to provide a seamless path to publishers and advertisers, new formats are rising in consumption to bolster video as an effective and engaging medium. With the advancements in technology, publishers now being exposed to new formats for advertising. Let’s have a look:

1. Mobile advertising and higher ROI: Looking at the stats, in 2018, mobile ad spending was increased 20 per cent accounting for 75 per cent of all ad spend over $70 billion. In 2017, video marketing was brought in over $2.6 billion in revenue a number that was on the rise. Also, for app mobile video advertising, predictions say that there will be an increase of 78 per cent in 2018 to 84 per cent in 2023. This shows that although video advertising is necessary, but specifically focusing on mobile video can help brands to bring in more customers, more sales, and greater brand growth.

2. Advertising focus shifted to vertical video ads: In 2018, the growth of platforms like Snapchat and the newest Instagram TV created more resources to be put toward the creation of vertical video. Hence, this shows the higher preference of horizontal video as optimal for viewing experience. Industry research shows that phones are used vertically 98 percent of the time, so video finally caught up to user behaviour.

3. More video through influencer ads- It is predicted that spending on influencer marketing is estimated to reach $101 billion by 2020. Influencers carry a lot of weight when it comes to helping company to close a sale. Hence, consumers look to influencers at every stage of the buyer’s journey while making product decision.

4. More personalised video experiences through better data and technological advancement- The growth of video personalisation has also been facilitated by a growth in the technology and software sector, with new platforms making it easier (and cheaper) than ever before to customise video content at scale.

5. Increase in ad spend: As video consumption grows, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn have made video marketing a primary focus. In 2018, brands spent over $90 billion dollars on video ads. Moreover, according to a recent Forrester report that number is expected to hit $102.8 billion by the year 2023. The explosion of video along with advanced analytics has made video advertising vital to any online marketing plan.

In a nutshell, marketers driving this spike in video ad spend will also be the leaders testing new formats. We can expect to see more brands adopting vertical, six-second, and non-skippable ads into their online marketing strategy this year. Together, larger budgets and optimised ads could create the perfect storm for capitalising on video’s exponential growth. We can only imagine the shifts in technology and online advertising this growth will lead us to the next level.

5. What are the technologies and what sort of data do you use to provide services to your clients?

Answer:  At VDO.AI, the experts in creating innovative video marketing campaigns make use of the state-of-the-art AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology towards providing contextual videos as well as video marketing campaigns to selective publishing partners. The proprietary platform at VDO.AI at https://vdo.ai/, aims at integrating the best available demand sources with the high-end publishers out there. The integration helps in allowing a high-value video advertising ecosystem to thrive where both the publishers and advertisers get maximum value. With the help of the innovative video advertising technology, the integration of the AI enables the delivery of top-class video content creation as well as marketing services to the clients.

6. Name some of your clients and share a case study on how you helped them?

Answer: Some of the marquee clients are:

Notable Publishers

Demand Partners

India Tv

Google

Scroll Mantra

AppNexus

Jagran Media

Oath

TimesNow News

Pubmatic

The Hindu

Beachfront

Maps of World

Gumgum

We have partnered with several premium publishers to distribute ads on a large scale. One of the success stories is mentioned below:

Mapsofworld is one of VDO.AI premium publisher involved in providing maps by creating high-quality maps for everyone. When started, it was just a handful of web pages and maps. But now it has now grown into one of the biggest websites people love to come back to.

VDO.AI partnership with Mapsofworld in March 2018 and helped them to reach the full potential by monetising the existing users on the website. At the initial stage, there were several meetings conducted to discuss the impact of video on the user experience and the existing client base. Gradually, after testing out few formats (in content, content-floating, and floating) the end results stopped at floating format which provided maximum performance in terms of revenue, UX as well as ads visibility from the advertisers POV.

In the end, VDO.AI was able to provide them with a growth in revenue by 47 per cent and also helped them increase the users on the website.  It also successfully delivered and boasted campaigns of advertisers like Netflix, Nexa, Cadbury, Amazon with 83 per cent completed video views.

7. What is the way ahead for VDO.AI and also the video industry at large? What are your plans for the future?

Answer: VDO.AI is all prepared to serve the end clients and aiming to break the du-poly of Facebook & Google when it comes to top-notch video advertising. The team aims at extending innovative video content usage as well as advertising by encouraging VR & AR platforms for creating free access venues throughout.

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