IT-company Adtelligent created a digital ad monetization platform that works with more than 15,0001 websites worldwide. The company has been collaborating with StarLightMedia (a Ukrainian media holding giant) for more than 5 years. Together they have come up with and integrated more than 10 ad tech solutions that help StarLightMedia collaborate with premium advertising partners.
Amongst their latest developments is the Adblock Bypass technology that allows showing video advertisements even for the users that installed ad blocking software. Through the partnership feature with Adtelligent and StarLightMedia, media portal MC.today found out why they had created Adblock Bypass, how the most extensive media company had implemented it in Ukraine, and how it had brought a 50% boost in programmatic video ad sales within 6 months.
What solutions does Adtelligent have?
Before rebranding, US-based company Adtelligent was called VertaMedia and worked as an international video supply-side platform primarily aiming at the United States market. Adtelligent also won awards as one of the fastest-growing US companies in 2016.
However, YouTube and other online video-sharing giants had gradually taken over this market share. Therefore, in 2018 the company decided to change its business strategy drastically. Now the company creates various solutions to manage and sell programmatic ads. Advertisers buy impressions via ad platforms, and publishers sell ad inventory. Solutions provided by Adtelligent are being used across 15,000 websites internationally, with an aggregated 250–300 million impressions daily.
Yuriy Gorokhov, CTO at Adtelligent
“If you open any rankings of Ukrainian digital publishers, SimilarWeb, for instance, we work with almost every site from the top 50 listed sources.”
The company offers three platforms to manage publisher advertising inventory and its programmatic advertising sales. Platform’s algorithms automatically buy targeted traffic from websites and apps via real-time auctions. In addition, platforms work as Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and can work in any browser.
- Header Bidding Platform increases programmatic yield. By implementing it, any website can sell advertising space through an open auction. For example, a website places the banner on the home page and starting an auction with advertisers. The one offering the best price will get this ad space. According to the data gathered by Adtelligent, Header Bidding can provide an average up to 40% revenue boost from the programmatic web monetization.
- Supply Side Platform (SSP) can totally replace the ad management on the website and app. It not only helps to hold the auctions but also to place ads, screen the reports, and optimize website revenue.
- Demand Side Platform (DSP) makes the advertiser’s life easier. The platform sees all available publishers inventory from all websites and apps integrated with SSP and Header Bidding Platform, and they can buy any traffic from those partners. There is no need for advertisers to discuss anything with the managers, for instance, what ad formats they want to display and for how long – clients can manage themselfves ad distribution on the other website.
Both SSP and DSP platforms clients can be set up separately or jointly. In the latter case, it provides access to one holistic platform called Full-stack Ad Monetization Platform. According to Yuriy Gorokhov, it fully replaces the software required to place Google ads. «We provide the same capabilities as they are. The difference is in expenses; for Google ad management software, the publisher has to pay around $10 thousand, and our platform is half the price», – says Yuriy.
More than 50 new functionalities implemented within 5 years
Five years ago, PayTV & Digital, StarLightMedia division, began its partnership with Adtelligent. In addition, the division collaborates with a couple of thousands of partner websites with exclusive rights to display ads only by PayTV & Digital and their clients. Among those are more than 800 premium advertisers such as Nestle, L’Oréal, P&G and Coca-Cola. StarLightMedia has around 4,9 billion video ad impressions and 14,7 billion banner ad impressions per year.
StarLightMedia uses SSP and DSP platforms by Adtelligent to manage advertisements on their web inventory. As a result, since the beginning of the collaboration company’s programmatic ad sales turnover has increased by 10 times.
Svetlana Mogilevskaya, Head of the informational technologies at PayTV & Digital, StarLightMedia
“During the five-year partnership with Adtelligent, we have integrated more than 50 new functionalities. Many of them were developed according to our needs, and some were created exclusively for us. Flexibility is significant for us, and we like that Adtelligent team enthusiastically accepts even the most daring of our ideas. Together we have updated and improved many services that we use.”
For instance, on a web page, in the middle of the article used to pop up a video ad with a strangely loud sound level. It frustrated the users, and they wanted to close the window without clicking the advertiser’s ad. Our clients were not happy about it.
Upon StarLightMedia’s request, Adtelligent added a possibility to generate outstream format placements. The video gradually appears when a user gets to a specific place on the page and disappears in 8-10 seconds. As a result, the advertisements have been viewed by around 30% of users, instead of the regular market figures of 2-3%.
How to reach audience with ad block
StarLightMedia holding includes such TV channels as ICTV, STB, Novyi Kanal, ICTV Ukraine, «ОЦЕ», М1 and М2. The company is a leader in content production and distribution. Millions of dollars are invested into content creation: various shows are filmed on professional equipment with famous actors and TV hosts. In 2020 its market share between the ages of 18 to 54 reached 26%. Every day their shows are watched by approximately 12 million people. As for the end of 2020, media holding’s 5 most popular shows2 are «How to get married»; «The Bachelorette»; «The Bachelor»; TV show «The Dog» and comedy show «Diesel-show».
StarLightMedia earns profits through advertising, and all shows are completely free and available for viewing. However, many viewers use ad-blocking software that blocks the advertisement across websites and search results. According to the research, more than 40% of Ukrainians employ ad block, subsequently cutting down the ad impressions revenues for the company.
«This is not very fair towards us. Advertisers pay per ad impression, and if a user has ad block installed, we do not receive our profit» – Svetlana Mogilevskaya explained.
The company thought to take some drastic measures to combat this issue. First, the management contemplated forbidding viewers with ad-blocking software from seeing the content altogether. However, upon the arrival of the pandemic and the quarantine measures, StarLightMedia decided that it would not be ethical to deprive the audiences of their favorite shows.
The most compromising option is to stop users from blocking ads. Thanks to the advertising, audiences can watch content for free while media holding receives revenues and invest in further productions.
In the summer of 2020, Adtelligent offered StarLightMedia a new Adblock Bypass product, and they decided to go for it. The technology allows users to view ads even if users installed AdBlock.
How does Adblock Bypass work
«We saw that our clients did not receive full profits because users block the advertising, and we decided to help the advertisers “restore” all viewers» – Yuriy Gorokhov, CTO at Adtelliegent, explains.
There is some inventory available at the market today that can hide video ads to pass Ad-block software. For instance, video ads embed directly into the file with the movies or TV shows. However, such solutions do not guarantee results as all Ad-blocking software companies are constantly evolving and teaching their products to distinguish such ads and automatically fast-forward them.
Due to that reason, Adtelligent aimed at creating a solution that can overwrite any Ad-blocking software. Therefore, the ad is embedded into the video stream right during the viewing of the content.
«We make an advertisement as a part of a video stream. That’s why Ad blocks simply cannot identify and block it» – Yuriy Gorokhov mentioned.
The system analyzes the viewer’s profile in a split second, chooses relevant advertising, and immediately uploads it to the video stream.
StarLightMedia integrated Adblock Bypass over two weeks. «We integrated Adblock Bypass with our websites, advertising network, and video platform. After that, we calibrated the analytics tools to count all “retrieved” ad impressions,» – says Svetlana Mogilevskaya.
StarLightMedia clients started buying more ads
Media holding launched Adblock Bypass at the end of October of 2020. StarLightMedia is the only company in Ukraine that has integrated the new Adtelligent solution.
Right away, the technology attracted internet shops as it is essential for them to showcase advertising to a vast amount of viewers to increase sales.
Anna Datsenko, Head of Internet-sales at PayTV & Digital, StarLightMedia
«The main goal of any advertiser is to show an ad to its target audience and pay the minimum price for this impression. There is also a need to avoid overpaying for multiple views when the same users view the ad on different websites. Some viewers are completely unreachable because they installed Ad-blocking software. Thanks to Adblock Bypass, clients of StarLightMedia now can cover such audiences».
Before implementing Adblock Bypass software, the client’s advertisements were only viewed by 60–70% of the viewers; after the integration, this number has risen to 95–100%.
According to Svetlana Mogilevskaya, Ad-blocking software often changes algorithms, and Adblock Bypass needs to be constantly updated to restore the impressions. Adtelligent entirely took care of this issue.
In addition, StarLightMedia and mobile operator «Kyivstar» and tech partner Adtelligent have recently launched a big data project. Clients are offered ads based on non-personal analytical data – potential age, gender, and interests. So the car-owner and mothers with children will get different ads.
«New advertising standards arrive every 6 months. From a technological standpoint, the ad market has drastically transformed in the past 5 years. But we are not afraid of these changes; they only motivate us to evolve, keep up to date with the current trends and make our products even more efficient» – Yuriy Gorokhov notes.
1 – According to the latest June 2021 ads.txt records from websites.