Prepare to implement DAI

Before you incorporate Ad Manager Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) into your video business, you should ensure that the following systems, technologies, and device/platform categorizations have already been established. While you may be using some of these already for your traditional video advertising, others are unique to DAI and require additional implementation.

The following systems should already be established:

  • Ad Manager ad server: The advertising tool that manages your video inventory and campaigns.
  • Content delivery network (CDN): The origin server for all of your digital content, with HLS URL outputs.
  • Content management system (CMS): Maintains metadata for your digital content and provides an MRSS feed output. A CMS is optional for live linear, but required for video on demand.

In addition, the following technologies should be implemented:

Technology* Description

Injector

This technology takes the SCTE-104 information and cuts the content, using cue-out and cue-in to make room for the ad breaks. This allows an ad response to tell the player when to pause content so it can deliver an ad. If there are no monetization opportunities, the injector continues to feed the content to the encoder/transcoder.

Encoder/transcoder

This technology has two specific functions:

  1. The encoder technology takes the analog-formatted content and transforms it into digital-formatted content. Once that is complete, the transcoder takes the new digital content and converts it from a single digital format to multiple formats, or variants. This is important as each variant has a different stream quality to match to the screen where it will be viewed. This method should be familiar as it is an industry best practice for both online video and creative transcoding.
  2. The transcoder creates and sends SCTE-35 data with the variants, which map out when there are ad breaks and how many should appear within the particular piece of content.

Packager

Once the transcoder creates the variants and SCTE-35 data, the packager takes each variant stream, which is one continuous stream, and converts it into multiple transport streams (.ts) and an SCTE-35 manifest text file that describes each stream and their ad breaks, to be read by the player. If needed, it also encrypts the transport streams for security purposes. The packager then places the transport content streams into the CDN.

While the packager is its own technology solution, it is sometimes offered as part of the encoder/transcoder.

* The injector, encoder/transcoder, and packager technologies are usually offered as an all-in-one package.

Additional requirements for working with content providers

To convert analog content into a digital format that can deliver across IP-enabled devices, you need to understand and perform the following:

Automation system: The content provider uses an automation system to manage their monetization opportunities within the content. This is similar to writing business rules using Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools. If there are monetization opportunities, this information will be transmitted through SCTE-104 as metadata (cue-out and cue-in), identifying ad break opportunities (similar to an ad response).

You should work with the content provider to hook into your injector, and learn their business rules to understand when and where to "cut" the content to insert monetization opportunities (ad breaks).

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is the IAB equivalent for cable industry. Check out their full list of standards.

Prepare device/platform categorizations

In addition to these systems and technologies, you are required to provide your video distribution footprint and video player footprint, which are categorizations of all device/platform combinations and players by device/platform combinations that support your video network.

Recommendations before you get started

It is highly recommended that you implement the following technologies prior to implementing DAI.

Technology Description

Placement Opportunity Information System (POIS)

While this is not a required technology, it is highly recommended as it validates two things from your content:

  1. It ensures the information from the automation system is accurate. For instance, if it's a valid ad break and what it consists of.
  2. It ensures the transcoder is making "clean" cuts within the content. For instance, the first ad break consists of a 2-minute break with four 0:30 ad spots. This is the equivalent of the Commercial Break Pattern (CBP) functionality in traditional video ad serving.

These confirmations are sent from the POIS to the transcoder through SCTE 130-5. The POIS system hooks into the linear sales team Order Management System (OMS), which is connected to their automation system.

If this technology is not installed, there is the potential for the cue-out or cue-in transitions from video content to ad break to appear disjointed to the end user. You may have seen this on broadcast television when you notice a few seconds of a local ad that is quickly cut off as it returns to content or a national ad—there was no POIS, therefore a clean cut was not made during the transcoding process.

Digital Rights Management
(DRM)

This technology is only needed if you are encrypting your digital content.

The type of content you are syndicating combined with your video viewing model can help you determine if this is required. For example, if users have to authenticate to view your content.

If you are encrypting your content, then DRM is mandatory. It provides encryption keys to the packager during the packaging step, and validates that key when the content is being requested by the end user. If both keys are approved, the device is authorized to play the content.

  Staffing recommendations for supporting your DAI infrastructure

There are two distinct operation teams that are needed to support the DAI. While your current ad operations team may ultimately be able to support your completed solution, here are some things to consider while you get set up:

  • Video technology has its own methodologies, caveats, considerations, and nuances that need to be learned before it can be properly managed. Staff or outsource personnel with a broadcast television background whose expertise can help assess, set up, and manage the live linear or video on demand infrastructure.
  • Create a plan to monetize your content and leverage traditional video ad serving solutions while you determine your strategy to build, deploy, and manage your DAI infrastructure.
 

Requirements checklist

Whether you are implementing ads for live linear or video on demand, all DAI solutions require the below. Once these are completed, contact your Google account team to begin.

In addition, here are the requirements for each specific type:

 

Specific live linear requirements

Specific video on demand requirements

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