Ad-tech companies Virool and Rubicon Project today are taking their nascent mobile video advertising partnership into the programmatic arena. Chiefly, Virool's InLine video promos, which automatically play between paragraphs of copy as readers scroll through articles, can now be purchased via Rubicon's real-time bidding platform.
Brand marketers like Turkish Airlines and agencies such as Dentsu Aegis Canada will be buying the inventory thanks to the joint venture, according to a Virool rep, while publishers such as USA Today's sports blog For the Win, or FTW, will ultimately be the sellers. Fifty percent of the clips have to be in view for the videos to run at all, and consumers have to tap over the screen for the sound to be on.
"[Consumers] want to be in control of initiating that content," said Annette Warring, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Canada. "Effective native advertising is the future, and this is a win for both advertisers and their consumers."
Naftali Goldsmith, vp of mobile at ad-tech company Xaxis, a Virool partner, added, "One of the biggest challenges facing buyers and brands today is that there is not enough premium mobile inventory available with in-stream placements alone."
So, Virool and Rubicon aim to solve that dilemma with their programmatic offering. "It's the first time that an in-article unit of its kind is iOS [iPhone] compatible," a Virool rep claimed. "Until now, the only way that a marketer could advertise video on an iPhone was through a full-screen takeover."
The two companies have been working together since March, with Rubicon buying and selling programmatically through Virool's InLine desktop unit. Now they are extending their partnership to mobile. Also, Virool will continue selling its InLine ads through its direct-sales team.
Whether you call their ads native or believe they disrupt user experience, the reality is autoplay video ads are coming to smartphone screens everywhere.
Just yesterday, Twitter unleashed its autoplay video ads on the marketplace. Additionally, video ad-tech company Beachfront Media went programmatic last year, recently telling MediaPost its video ad impressions grew from 2 billion in November to 15 billion by January.
More generally, programmatic ad spending overall will jump nearly 50 percent this year—totaling roughly $14.9 billion—compared to 2014, per eMarketer.