What’s the DEAL with DAI?

Industry Trends

OTT Blog Series: What’s the DEAL with DAI?

3 Minute Read |

Jane Handel

Jane Handel
Product Marketing Manager

Meet Our OTT Platform

Welcome to our Blog Series! We’re excited to share more information with you about a particular facet of our holistic omnichannel OTT platform. This week, we’re tackling Server-Side Ad Insertion/Dynamic Ad Insertion.

What is SSAI? What is DAI?

SSAI stands for server-side ad insertion, and is often used interchangeably with Dynamic Ad Insertion, or DAI. SSAI and DAI describe the process of stitching ads into content.

What is SSAI? What is DAI?

What are the key advantages of SSAI and DAI?

One of the main advantages of dynamic ad insertion is a smooth, seamless viewer experience. SSAI eliminates buffering, which can both irritate viewers and encourages bounce. Another key advantage is that quality of the ad will match the quality of the video. With quality matching, advertisements are less jarring, and the viewer is more likely to maintain their attention.

Because ads are stitched into predetermined content, SSAI/DAI offers a huge opportunity for contextual targeting. By targeting viewers based on what they are watching, rather than who they are, advertisers have a huge opportunity to deliver hyper-relevant content without affecting user privacy.

For example, in an ad break during a scene where the protagonist is on a road trip, marketers could showcase creative for cars, adventure gear, or snacks. Advertisements become less intrusive and more tailored to the viewer’s experience.

Plus, at Smaato, we are able to dynamically stitch in ad pods based on SCTE marker restrictions, making DAI highly effective for Live content.

VAST Tags vs. SSAI

Oftentimes, we get questions about VAST tags. We do support them, after all. The thing is, VAST tags pause the content, call in an ad, and resume the content, which can lead to mismatched content resolution and buffering. It’s a frustrating viewer experience, especially when an ad takes forever to load, only to outshine the rest of the content in resolution.

Our SSAI/DAI is a stream tag. This means that instead of using a VAST tag, publishers can include our stream tag in their video player. The stream will already have ads stitched in place, so there’s nothing to buffer. With streaming protocols like HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) or Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), an assortment of versions of each spot are loaded in. The quality version that matches the user’s viewing environment is the one that will play, ensuring ad quality and content quality match. Seamless!

What are the risks of SSAI or DAI?

Unfortunately, using a third party SSAI/DAI service that sits between the publisher and the ad server creates a high risk of fraud. Bad actors reach out to ad servers, pretending to stitch ads on behalf of reputable, real publishers. The server can be tricked into delivering ads to the fraudster, who then confirms that the ads were “viewed.” In the end, they pocket the advertiser’s money without delivering the ad to the end user.

What are the risks of SSAI or DAI?

We’ve eliminated this risk at Smaato. When we built our OTT platform, we wanted to solve this fraud problem that plagues the industry, so the advantages of DAI/SSAI could shine. How did we do it? We complete all of our DAI in house. This removes the opportunity for malicious activity and saves publishers the costly third party fee.

And, because we do ad stitching internally, we’re able to deliver ads with far less latency, which helps improve the viewer experience.

Get Started

Want to learn more about all things OTT and CTV? Excited to see how Smaato’s holistic platform can give you full control over your monetization strategy? Want to reach viewers worldwide? Download our complimentary white paper, OTT/CTV Advertising with Smaato.

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