Online video advertising is going through a period of huge change. The continued growth and importance of multi-platform consumption is undisputed, as viewers are accessing video content via TV, laptops, tablets and mobiles.

However, the best way to distribute content, the level of automation, effective demographic targeting, and other variables, are all under discussion. In the midst of this, there are two constant factors, each playing a critical role: content and data.

The Power Shift

With consumers using mobile devices to access content on the go, it’s critical that mobile data is used to inform video ad campaigns. Assessing the effectiveness of content is clearly based on engagement levels, whether that’s measured by average dwell time, click-through rate or another metric.

This relies on delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time. The insights needed to make this happen are in data. This applies to both the content and the device, and it needn’t be difficult. The data is already out there – brands just need to make the most of it to deliver on-point campaigns every time.

This year, marketers are predicted to spend a colossal $11.5bn on data. It’s clear that data’s potential for transforming the ad world and saving a huge amount of waste has been recognized. However, this is only one side of advertising. Data may be the buzzword of the marketing industry today, but content has held on to its throne for so long for a reason.

Having insight into the best way to reach your target audience is worthless if you don’t have something valuable to share with them. We’ve reached a point where leveraging high-quality content smartly is the key.

Content is King in Programmatic Video

It’s a highly competitive time in the world of short-form and long-from video content. We see traditional media companies, the major broadcasters and producers, making their play, while Amazon, Netflix and a host of other new entrants are capitalising on the growth of the cross-screen consumer. For publishers, there’s no doubt native content is key for growth as brands continue to spend time and resources on content beyond the 30-second spot.

But what is quality content? Currently, ‘quality’ or ‘premium’ refers to destination in the digital space, not the actual quality of the content itself.

This is where programmatic video  advertising steps in. It can be invaluable in automatically matching the metadata of content with the most relevant environments, so relevant video can be served.  However, there is one obstacle to overcome. Whilst media companies expect their content to be valued more highly than user-generated content, there’s often an inverse correlation between the quality of content and the volume of its associated data.

High quality, professional videos are infamous for having valuable information absent from their data stream. Compare this with your favorite cat video on YouTube, which is awash with metadata, and the issue becomes apparent.

In order to get the most out of programmatic tools, premium content providers need to embrace the idea that data helps achieve a higher CPM. If content is premium then it must be categorized as such to allow publishers to use it as an effective audience engagement tool.

The level of digital sophistication in the advertising industry now means that quality content can be served to targeted audiences in a scalable way. Brands, advertisers and publishers need to bear in mind that content may have to share its throne with data. That’s how they’ll avoid unnecessary spend and deliver more reliable advertising value.