Key Points

  • Video ad exchanges are marketplaces that enable real time bidding on video ad inventory.
  • Most of the major ad exchanges do video, but some focus solely on video.
  • Video advertising is one of the best ways for publishers to increase ad revenue, and video ad exchanges are a key part of a successful video advertising strategy.

The ways in which ads are bought, sold, and transferred across the internet get more complicated all the time. The early days of manual insertion orders feel like ages ago, especially when you take a close look at more recent innovations in ad tech, such as video ad exchanges.

Ad exchanges that handle video advertising are technically complex and unbelievably beneficial to publishers who are looking to maximize their revenue. But even as an ever-growing number of publishers incorporate video ads and ad exchanges into their strategies, few publishers actually understand the basics behind video ad exchanges.

Let's change that. In this post, we're going to walk you through everything you need to know about video ad exchanges. Read on to learn more.

It’s hard to find a publisher who actually likes dealing with all the ad tech tools required to maximize revenue in 2022. You know you need the pieces of tech, but the lift required to understand and incorporate them is a little much. Why not let Playwire do it? Contact us.

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Ad Exchange Resource Center

Check out all the available resources in The Complete Ad Exchange Resource Center

What is a Video Ad Exchange?

A video ad exchange is a programmatic marketplace in which publishers and advertisers sell and buy video ad placements. Publishers bring their video inventory, and advertisers bring their budget and target audience. Meanwhile, the exchange takes a cut of each dollar that flows through the system.

Is a video ad exchange different from an ad exchange? It can be. Not all ad exchanges do video, and not all video ad exchanges do display. However, most of the major exchanges do both.

Video Ad Network vs. Exchange

To the publisher who is just making their first foray into the video programmatic advertising space, the terms "video ad network" and "video ad exchange" probably sound pretty similar. We'll grant that the words are similar, but the entities themselves are near-polar opposites. Still, you're very likely to stumble across various people and companies in ad tech using the wrong terms when discussing the differences between the best video ad exchanges and the best video ad networks.

A video ad network is a business that survives on the spread between the amount they purchase publishers' video inventory for and the amount they resell it to advertisers for. If you're thinking "middle man," you're on the right track.

A video ad exchange, on the other hand, is a venue in which the sale of video ad inventory can take place. The exchange takes a small percentage of each dollar involved in those sales. 

That means that, unlike video ad networks, video exchanges have no incentive to push publishers' yield lower. If you're selling your video inventory at premium prices, the exchange is making more money. Video networks really only make more money if you make less.

Video Exchanges Are Often Part of a Package

If you're getting into video advertising and start looking for video ad exchanges, you may find that many are wrapped up in another ad tech function. That is, most of the ad servers that handle video content also maintain a video ad exchange. Meanwhile, almost all of the header bidding partners out there maintain a form of video-capable ad exchange if they do video themselves. This is the result of digital advertising technology consolidation, in which many bigger ad tech companies are absorbing some of the more historical tools to create more complete solutions.

In some ways, this can be helpful. As a publisher, you're probably always looking for ways to reduce the number of technical headaches you face in a given week. And consolidating your ad tech tools can help with that. However, if you already do header bidding or have an ad server, getting a two-for-one package may not be all that helpful.

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Ad Exchange Guide

Ad Exchanges: The Complete Guide for Publishers

Popular Video Ad Exchanges

Like anything in ad tech, video ad exchanges present publishers with a lot of options. Each exchange is likely to claim to be the best or offer some capability that others cannot, and that can create a lot of confusion for publishers who are interested in working only with the best.

The first thing to understand here is that you are not limited to a single video ad exchange. In fact, choosing only one will by default limit the demand to which you have access, and that is never a good thing. Within reason, you want to incorporate as many demand sources as you possibly can - for video, display, and any other kind of inventory.

With that said, here are some of the most popular video ad exchanges:

  • SpotX
  • OpenX
  • Magnite
  • Google AdX
  • PubMatic
  • Verizon Media (formerly Oath)
  • EX.CO

How to Get Top Video Ad CPMs: Work with Playwire

Video ad exchanges are a key component of any publisher's ad monetization strategy if their goal is to maximize their revenue with video advertising. They're how you ensure that you have broad demand for your video inventory and leave no bid request unfilled. 

We'll throw another key component into the mix. It's Playwire. We handle all of the ad exchanges, mediation partners, SSPs, DSPs, and other ad tech tools for you so you can focus on what really matters: your video content. 

We grow publishers' revenue, and video ad exchanges are just one small part of how we do it. Ready to get started?

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