How to Get Started with Video Player Bidding

Integrate header bidding into your player with just one click

Until now, the potential of header bidding for video has been limited by difficult implementation and a fragmented marketplace. Video Player Bidding is a market-changing solution built for video to reduce latency and boost monetization with just one click. We’re here to help you onboard.

It’s Finally Here!

Header bidding has been an industry standard in display for a few years, but video header bidding is still cutting-edge. While video header bidding unlocks more ad revenue via increased fill rate and higher CPMs, it comes with many hurdles that most publishers haven’t been able to overcome.

 

JW Player recognized the market challenges and the incredible benefits of video advertising and knew that partnering with a top tier advertising technology company was the solution. After much due diligence, JW Player chose to team up with SpotX to offer the best integration to publishers. SpotX is a video ad serving platform that offers programmatic infrastructure for premium media owners & publishers, providing them with access to 65+ demand sources with reduced latency.

 

Now with JW8 (which is great by the way), you can finally turn on Video Player Bidding powered by SpotX with one click!

Why It Matters

Video header bidding is fragmented and difficult to implement at scale. The process is complex, requiring a lot of custom coding that can slow down your entire page as well as a fair amount of control over the page where you’re running video. If you’re motivated, it’s doable but not ideal.

 

As a publisher, you want more control over how advertisers are programmatically bidding on your video inventory. Header bidding boosts ad revenue via increased fill rates and higher CPMs, as well as provides the desired control, but there is no easy solution that leads to fast bids and ads. On the other side of the table, advertisers want more access to quality video inventory. JW Player’s Video Player Bidding is the first solution that gives both sides the control they’ve been seeking.

 

Through the integration built directly into JW Player, you can provide buyers access to player settings, content settings, and viewability data, which increase the value of your inventory. This all happens before the user clicks the player. That means no extra buffering before the ad loads and increased viewer retention.

 

Why It’s Hard

Whether you’re just starting with video header bidding or are working on integrating your fifth bidder, any integration takes some work to get set up. In the past you would need to load a script in the page header, request a bid from the bidder, wait for the response, then proceed down the path from there. This can require 100 lines of code or more on the page with multiple network requests — and all of this overhead creates latency and slows the page down!

 

Welcome to Video Player Bidding

By integrating SpotX and header bidding directly into the player, we’ve reduced a complex workflow with lots of Javascript to just one click in your JW Player dashboard:

 

Alternatively, you can use just a few lines of code in the player configuration:

 

What this means is that if you’re already running video ads with JW Player, turning on video player bidding could be as simple as one click in our dashboard. The ease of implementation is by far the biggest benefit.

Beyond the simplicity, working with one bidder like SpotX means minimal added page latency. By not requiring additional code in the header, your page load time and player setup time remain low. As we’ve evangelized in the past, and have continued to do so, this is incredibly important for user experience.

 

How Do I Get Started?

As you’d expect, the process is simple. We’ll break down your next steps:

  1. Already running ads via JW Player and have a relationship with SpotX
    • Reach out to your SpotX rep for information. You’re just a few clicks away!
    • Check out our Getting Started Guide for more details
  2. Already running ads via JW Player but aren’t yet working with SpotX
    • Visit this link to get in touch with SpotX to get started
    • SpotX will guide you through the onboarding process
    • Check out our Getting Started Guide if you have any concerns or reach out to your JW Player account manager
    • You’re good to go!
  3. Not yet a JW Player customer but have a relationship with SpotX
    • We’d love to hear from you!
    • Getting up and running with JW Player takes no time at all. If you’re migrating from another player, we’re happy to consult on the migration process
    • Once you’ve got video ads running with JW Player, turning on video player bidding is just a click away!
  4. I don’t currently work with JW Player or SpotX but I sure want to!
    • We’re excited to work with you too! Reach out to JW Player, and we’ll get you in touch with the right people and get your video ads running ASAP

 

To learn more about getting started with Video Player Bidding, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

 

Contact Us

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JW Recommendations: Precise Control, Beautiful Viewer Experiences, and Big Improvements on the Horizon!

As Senior Product Manager of JW Recommendations, I’m pleased to share some exciting features we’ve been developing to deliver the best in video intelligence:

  • Tag exclusion rules
  • New Out-Player Widgets

  • Powerful API tools
  • Even Better Recommendations

Precise Control with Tag Exclusion

Publishers always ask: How can I maintain control over content being recommended? Tag exclusion rules provide an easy way to remove specific videos from the recommendations system while still maintaining a large enough pool of content to provide great videos for viewers. They can be used with inclusion rules to provide the level of customizability you need for the most complex publishing workflows.

  • To learn about tag exclusion in the dashboard click here.
  • To learn about Management API tag exclusion click here.

For best practices, try to use limited exclusion rules where possible.  Recommendations performance can be diminished by overly aggressive tag rules.

 

Beautiful Recommendations Everywhere

Utilizing both in-player and on-page recommendations across your web properties will let you provide beautiful content discovery experiences wherever viewers congregate.

Outplayer Widgets for Developers

Our new Out-Player Recommendations Widgets help viewers discover content outside the player in two innovative ways:

 

Open Up the Hood

Video gurus, web developers, and engineers will appreciate the level of control we’ve exposed in the JW Platform Delivery API. Recommendations and Search support tag inclusion and exclusion, publish date filtration, and larger page sizes at request time. Easily develop for any use case in your OTT, Web, or Mobile App!

Check our updated v2 Delivery documentation for more details.

 

Better, Faster Improvements

Behind the scenes we’ve built a new multivariate test system to rapidly prototype and roll out improvements to our Recommendations engine. This will help us quickly release an entirely new recommender with semantic comprehension & AI capabilities.

 

The scale of our network of connected players, along with our exacting focus on building the best video recommendations, sets up 2018 to be JW Recommendations’ best year yet! Check back soon for more exciting announcements.

 

Ready to take advantage of our latest Recommendations engine? Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

 

Contact Us

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Starting Video Instantly after a Pre-roll Ad

Achieving a server-side ad insertion experience on the client-side with JW 8.1

One of the most lucrative and engaging placements for online video advertising is the pre-roll ad. This is the ad that comes before main content that a viewer is attempting to watch. When the ad completes or is skipped to the main content, it is imperative to start video as quickly as possible. If viewers are stuck waiting for the video to load, they will leave and likely not come back. The rate at which viewers abandon video increases the longer they have to wait. Studies show that most viewers are willing to wait 1-2 seconds for video to start. After that, you can expect a 6% drop-off for each additional second of wait time.

When it comes to transitioning smoothly from advertising to content, online video has always trailed behind broadcast TV. This is due to the nature of client-side ad insertion and programmatic video. Server-side ad insertion is a potential solution to achieve a seamless experience, but it has been two years since it was added to the VAST 4.0 specification. Overall adoption is slow and expensive because of the lack of standardization around the actual insertion and tracking. It also requires infrastructure changes that only premium media publishers can typically afford.

We launched JW8 to provide a broader base with a broadcast-quality online video experience. Using intelligence gleaned from our large network of video players, we learned how to get 75% of all of our video starts after an ad plays to be under two seconds. Our latest iteration of JW8 improves time to first frame by 100%. In JW 8.1, 75% of videos start up in under a second, with the vast majority of these plays starting close to instantaneously.

The result? An online video experience that’s as seamless as cable TV, even on slower mobile networks. Check out this video that shows the difference in performance when on a cellular network.

What’s next? We are going to extend this functionality and keep making those green bars bigger.

To learn more about how to become a video-first publisher, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

Contact Us

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Video Player Bidding: The Future of Video & Ad Tech

JW Player partners with SpotX to deliver a groundbreaking solution for online video advertising  

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of Video Player Bidding, a breakthrough header bidding solution for video with our exclusive partner SpotX, the leading video ad serving platform for publishers.

This special partnership marks the first time video advertising will be directly integrated into a player. Rather than inserting an ad script into the header of a page, publishers can simply flip a switch from a video platform to activate header bidding, no implementation required. In essence, you get the benefits of header bidding without the header.

By connecting JW Player publishers with Spot X’s vast ad server network, video player bidding overcomes the challenges inherent in header bidding—greatly improving monetization with maximum CPMs and ad fills. For publishers trying to achieve the unenviable task of merging video tech with ad tech, video player bidding brings together the best of both worlds.

THE CHALLENGES OF HEADER BIDDING

Header bidding is the practice by which publishers can simultaneously garner bids for ad impressions from multiple demand sources before calling the ad server, resulting in more overall ad yield for publishers.

While in theory these programmatic exchanges should happen automatically, in practice the process is complicated and hard to implement, especially in a fragmented marketplace.

In addition, header bidding is a direct cause of page latency. Plugging in more SSP tags slows pages down significantly and increases the likelihood of viewers installing ad blockers.

THE BENEFITS OF VIDEO PLAYER BIDDING

Video player bidding offers a powerful solution to these challenges. By integrating directly into the web player, the ad decision is made server-side before a viewer hits play, vastly reducing latency.

Compared to header bidding, the process is much more streamlined. Publishers will have access to 65+ DSPs, driving demand and giving advertisers access to previously unavailable premium inventory. Publishers can also leverage valuable video metadata to increase the value of their inventory.

INNOVATION AT ITS FINEST

We couldn’t be more excited to join SpotX in bringing this innovation to the market. In an age when brand safety, trust, and transparency are of paramount importance in the digital ad world, we believe our one-of-a-kind solution will help both publishers and advertisers reach unprecedented success.

Video player bidding will be available beginning March 1, 2018. To learn more and to sign up for more information, go to www.jwplayer.com/video-player-bidding or watch this interview with JW Player Co-founder Brian Rifkin and SpotX Chief Revenue Officer Sean Buckley discussing the solution:

 

 

Ready to become a video-first publisher? Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

Contact Us

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Buffering, Be Gone

Smoothly transition video ads to content with background loading in JW 8.1

It’s a common problem in the world of digital video: After an ad plays, the video buffers. And buffers. (And buffers.) It can take so long that you stop watching.

When it comes to transitioning smoothly from advertising to content, online video has always trailed behind broadcast TV.

At JW Player, we tackle this issue head-on by reducing buffer times to 2-3 seconds on average. And with our new player JW 8.1, we’ve cut that time down even more. JW 8.1 loads video while prerolls and midrolls play, so there’s virtually no buffering—and content continues instantly after these ads. The result? An online video experience that’s as seamless as cable TV.

Background loading has reduced time to first frame (TTFF) to just milliseconds. Comparing JW7 with JW8, we’ve seen immediate success:

  • 3x faster median TTFF across the board
  • Up to 65% more players with nearly instant TTFF of under 100ms
  • Up to 3x faster TTFF with preload auto instead of preload metadata (default)

One of the most common reasons for viewer drop-off is buffering before playback. Keep eyeballs on the video with smarter preloads and sub-second load times in JW 8.1.

To learn more about how to become a video-first publisher, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

 

Contact Us

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The State of JW Player

Highlights, data, and fun facts from 2017

As the New Year begins, we’ve put together a snapshot of what JW Player has been up to in the last 12 months. 2017 was a huge year for our company as we sped up our growth, doubled the size of our staff, developed 36+ new features, and brought video to more screens than ever.

The industry’s moving rapidly—and we’re in the fast lane. Here are highlights from our year in video.

AT A GLANCE

Based on all-network data, January-December 2017

 

168 Billion

Total number of plays

 

5,300

Total number of plays per second on average

 

32 Billion

Total number of ad impressions

 

489 Million

Total hours of time watched

 

51

Number of hours a commercial plane takes to fly around the world.

The plane would make 9.6 million trips in the total time that viewers watched JW Player videos.

 

***

PLAYER & PLATFORM

Our lightweight player and customizable platform worked harder, better, faster, and stronger in 2017.

 

5.5 Billion

Number of seconds of video transcoded

 

2.2 Million

Number of dashboard sessions

 

4.8 Million

Number of videos uploaded to JW Platform

 

5 minutes, 54 seconds

Average length of a video uploaded to JW Platform

 

***

JW8 UPDATE

In 2017, we debuted the world’s fastest HTML5 player, JW8.

 

22%

Percentage of customers who adopted JW8 within the first 3 months

 

  ***

RECOMMENDATIONS ENGINE

JW Player is much more than a player. Our video intelligence produced a huge number of incremental plays and monetization opportunities in 2017.

 

2.1 Billion

Number of plays from Recommendations

 

532 Million

Number of ads delivered via Recommendations

 

***

MOBILE

With 53% of mobile users abandoning sites that don’t load within three seconds, we’re invested in supporting a strong mobile experience.

 

41%

Percentage of plays on mobile devices across all networks in December 2017

 

***

FLASH DEPRECATION

2017 saw a continued decline in Flash, and our data is in line with what’s happening throughout the industry.

 

7.23%

Percentage of plays in Flash by end of Q1, JW Platform

 

2.08%

Percentage of plays in Flash by end of Q4, JW Platform

 

***

OUR CUSTOMERS

In 2017, we served publishers in every country in the world. They come from all industries and push the boundaries of success. Our publishers have:

 

Been honored by the United Nations

 

Produced a live event every 18 minutes on average somewhere in the world

 

Used video to promote conservations of Unesco World Heritage Sites

 

Created the first, live surfcam

 

Worked with Derek Jeter to tell first-person athlete stories

 

Promoted healthier eating by bringing calorie counts to restaurant menus

 

Hit 1 billion plays

 

And much more . . .

 

Ready to join this thriving global JW community? 2018 promises to be our biggest year yet, and we invite you to be a part of it.
 

Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts about making the most of an evolving industry as a video-first publisher:

 

Let’s Talk

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JW Player 8: Let’s Talk About Industry-Leading Support

 

Longtime users know that JW Player is synonymous with video and advertising innovation. Some key achievements include JW Player being the first:

  • Embeddable web player
  • VAST web player
  • HTML5 web player
  • Web player to support HLS and MPEG-DASH
  • Only video solution to be Google Certified

JW Player 8 continues to honor that legacy of innovation with early support for VAST4 and Facebook WebView. The final part of our three-part blog series focuses on JW8’s INDUSTRY-LEADING SUPPORT.

VAST4: The Next Stage in Video Advertising

JW8 supports VAST4

 

Video advertising is fraught with challenges despite the allures of higher CPMs.

The worst of these challenges involve long ad load times and poor insight into ad performance, reducing a publisher’s overall earning potential. JW Player’s support of VAST4 solves these issues by integrating UniversalAdID, Ad Categories, Media Files, and ConditionalAd.

Greater Insight into Ad Performance and Error Rates

Ad performance is notoriously hard to track, especially when digging deep into error rates. Analytics provide little insight for customers experiencing poor fill rates. This problem leads to publishers relying on trial and error, which wastes time and development cycles. JW8 and VAST4 offers a world of new possibilities.

UniversalAdID directly addresses the tracking issue because it is a unique identifier for ad creatives. Simply, it allows publishers to pinpoint which ads are performing the worst, so they can be removed, and conversely, publisher can identify which ads are most effective so they can be leveraged against more content. The end result for publishers: increased ad revenue.

Similarly, Ad Categories groups ad creatives by genre (category metadata). With the new ability to match ad and content categories together (for example, exercise machine ads with fitness videos) publishers can maximize ad performance.

Improving Load Times and Viewing Experiences

It comes at no surprise that poor ad viewing experiences create headaches for viewers and publishers alike. The advertising industry is notorious for poor practices and we will be talking about two specific issues:

  • Many advertisers use VPAID improperly by coding in functionality not native to the spec, such as verification or programmatic logic. This leads to long load times and buffering.
  • Advertisers often supply just one quality level for their ads. The resulting experience is jarring when, for example, a high definition video gets served with a low-quality ad, or when a viewer on mobile gets interrupted for buffering for a high-quality ad.

JW8 and VAST4 solve these problems by introducing ConditionalAd and MediaFiles functionality. ConditionalAd allows publishers to opt out of VPAID ads which enhances ad load times. JW8 will support MediaFiles detection which analyzes an ad tag for multiple media files and provide a notification if the tag is not compliant, thus providing publishers an opportunity to improve viewing experiences.

Facebook Browser Support

Publishers are increasingly relying on Facebook to generate discovery

 

There’s no doubt that Facebook is a content powerhouse. In fact, Facebook is so important that the average user spends 50 minutes per day on the platform. Publishers are looking to get a piece of the action and increasingly incorporating Facebook into their content strategy. That is why we are officially announcing Facebook Browser Support for Android and iOS in JW8.

This release unlocks the Facebook mobile app (in-app browser) as a content discovery platform, facilitating publishers to publish content on their Facebook page and drive users back to their own website with higher CPMs.

 

As you can see, JW8 packs in a ton of new support, and we’re excited for our customers to try it out. Interested in an early sneak peek? All of these features  are available in the JW8 Beta. Customers can access the Beta by logging into their JW Account and creating a new player. You can expect to see VAST4 support as well as a more in-depth walkthrough on functionality on the production release in October.

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Introducing ‘Promote’ — A Great Tool for Branded Content

Publishers often tell us that they want to balance the benefits of automatic curation using JW Recommendations with the option to retain editorial control. One common use case is for branded or partner content that may require a specific level of exposure. JW Platform’s tag-based business rules already provide some measure of control around the portion of the video library that recommended videos are drawn from, but sometimes more control is needed.

Now we’re introducing ‘Promote,’ a new feature of JW Recommendations that lets you easily choose specific videos or playlists to place in the first or second position of a Recommended playlist, ahead of any videos chosen by our powerful algorithms. Branded content, promotional videos, or key programming has guaranteed placement in prime impression slots even when it might not be recommended to viewers.

Activate Promote in the Recommendations section of the dashboard or via API and specify which content to feature and where it should be shown. Then the JW Recommendations engine ensures your important videos gain additional exposure for any JW Player with Recommendations in the Discover Overlay activated.

Read more about how to use JW Recommendations and Promote.

In-Video Search — Better Results With Caption Analysis

Our Search playlists are automatically upgraded for publishers who utilize captions in the JW Platform. Now our search engine includes caption files when analyzing your property’s library. Provide even better results for your viewers with in-video search and take advantage of caption location matches to build new interactive UI treatments. In-Video Search just works, and we’ll roll out examples of how to leverage it more fully in our Showcase apps later this year.

 

Learn about how Apartment Therapy and Refinery29 are growing their views and ad revenue using video recommendations.

Contact JW Player today to strategize about video publishing best practices that will help grow your business.

Contact Us

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JW Player 8: Let’s Talk About Customization

Here at JW Player, we often get feedback that publishers love how flexible and easy it is to customize the player to fit their branding needs. The upcoming release of JW Player 8 expands on this classic JW hallmark by overhauling the entire customization process to provide publishers with more options and increased efficiency. Part two of this three-part blog series will highlight JW8’s improvements on CUSTOMIZATION.

Showcasing the redesigned JW8 skin

 

A Beautiful, Modern Player Skin

Compartmentalized menus create an attractive minimalist design, optimized for devices

Today, publishers face a pretty big challenge that’s often overlooked when it comes to the visual layout of their player. How do you create something that is aesthetically pleasing and device-optimized while also packing in all the player controls viewers expect?

Taking these design pain points to heart, we completely refreshed the player skin in JW Player 8 to be sleek and minimal while maintaining high functionality. Major changes include:

  • Space-saving layout with compartmentalized menus to optimize viewing on devices
  • Accessibility with new tooltips to guide viewer action
  • Transparent control bar and updated icons for an attractive design
  • Device optimized with clicking/tapping user interactions

Feedback about the new JW8 skin is already very positive. Early customers have complimented its modern and clean design while lauding the new control bar transparency.

New Player Builder: Greater Control with Increased Ease of Use

JW8 packs in 4X more customizable elements than JW7

Similar to the challenge of creating a good layout, publishers want maximum flexibility in tailoring the player to their brand without having to involve engineering for each and every color tweak. We’re introducing a new player builder that completely revamps how publishers customize JW Player to prioritize one thing: providing greater control while increasing ease of use. The upcoming release removes the preset skins introduced in JW7 to drive customization to one core skin in the new player builder. You can expect to see:

  • 11 customizable elements, almost four times more than what was offered in JW7
  • Additional logo placement options within the control bar
  • Ability to brand right click text and links
  • Desktop and mobile previews 

These improvements make it easier, faster, and more flexible for anyone on your staff: coders and non-coders alike to create beautiful and professional-looking players.

JW Showcase: Create a beautiful video website with a click of button

JW Showcase helps you create beautiful websites

As developers already know, creating a functional, yet attractive video website is complex and time consuming. JW Showcase, released last year to much fanfare, resolves those issues by allowing users to create a video gallery website with minimal effort. JW Player 8 expands on that success by making it even easier.

Coming this fall with the release of JW8, JW Showcase will be integrated into your JW Dashboard, and be available to Starter, Business, and Enterprise customers. Users will have the ability to create a Showcase video gallery with a just couple of clicks. This exciting release of JW Showcase includes:

  • Easy to use tools to create a video gallery
  • Desktop and mobile optimized
  • Leverages the same high performance of JW Player
  • Seamless integration to existing JW Player assets
  • Custom headers and footers [NEW!]
  • Compatibility for display advertisements [NEW!]

Customers laud not only Showcase’s attractive design but its high value:

  • Increased viewer engagement from improved performance
  • Massive web development cost savings
  • Fast time to market with a video website going live in minutes, not months

JW8’s upcoming advancements in player skin, customization, and video galleries really highlights the tenets of our approach to product design: visual appeal matched with performance and ease of use.

If you are interested in seeing these principles for yourself, try out the JW8 Beta on Oct 6th. JW Player customers can login to their dashboards for access. New customers can check out our plans page to purchase a free or self-service edition of JW Player or contact sales@jwplayer.com.

 

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JW Player 8: Let’s Talk About Speed

We’re proud to introduce JW Player 8 — our fastest, most flexible, and advanced player yet. This release is the culmination of what we’ve learned about publisher needs and optimal viewing behavior since our last major iteration of JW Player nearly two years ago. The improvements we’ve made center around three themes:

  • Player speed
  • User interface customization
  • Industry-leading support

Leading up to the launch of JW Player 8 this fall, we will highlight each theme in detail in a three-post blog series. Today’s post will focus on how our advancements in speed will improve the viewing experience and increase engagement for your audiences.

The End of Buffering

A universal truth: viewers hate buffering

 

Did you know? An Akamai study discovered that video abandonment rate increases by 6% for every second of load time beyond two seconds. A separate study on OTT viewership showed that buffering increases negative emotions by 16% and decreases engagement by 20%. These two studies strongly indicate that poor playback is the biggest barrier to publishers achieving more views and higher engagement.

JW8 was built to tackle poor viewing experiences by improving player speed. Our goal is to provide sub-second load times across all devices and browsers so viewers never see a buffering screen. Our performance enhancements pave the way to  fast and high quality playback for all viewers at all times, so you never have to worry about your content investments going to waste.

Light as a Feather

 

JW8 detects the viewer’s rendering environments and loads only the necessary components required for playback. Based on a combination of the media type contained in playlists and the viewer’s browser, we’ve optimized the player to make fewer network requests for the most common use cases of video playback, reducing latency costs associated with setup times.

Not only is JW8 faster on its own, we’ve also taken your entire website into account by engineering a more lightweight player. Imagine the typical website that has video content. These days, websites also load scripts for analytics, ads, and design elements, each one competing as the browser renders the page. The page ends up taking a long time to load, which increases viewer abandonment. Compared to JW7, JW8’s embed script is more than 50% smaller and makes fewer server requests to better interact with the overall composition of modern webpages. By implementing JW8, you can be rest assured that JW Player is actively reducing its footprint to improve your entire website experience.

More Speed with Less Bandwidth

In JW 7.2, we introduced video preloading, enabling JW Player to fetch media data before playback and as soon as the page loads. The feature was particularly useful in assuring videos started as quickly as possible. Now, JW8 improves preloadingso publishers and viewers can enjoy faster playback with reduced bandwidth.

First, JW8’s backend preloading process is smarter about when it occurs and is more precise with how much is preloaded. Second, we’ve also taken steps to optimize bandwidth consumption for publishers that load multiple video players on a single page by only preloading players when they become more than 50% viewable. Finally, JW8 players are set to load metadata by default so playback starts immediately for click-to-play players once playback is initiated. To reiterate, these preloading changes allows the player to be more intelligent to avoid wasting publisher and audience bandwidth while simultaneously improving start times.

 

We are very excited for you to experience the performance enhancements under the hood of JW Player 8. If you’re interested in taking a test drive, check in on your dashboard on September 6th to take JW8 beta for a spin,  or contact us at sales@jwplayer.com.

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