Who are the big 3 advertising platforms?

by Mike Tyler | August 25, 2014

In this blog post, we’re going to be talking about the purple piece: the video advertising platforms. That is, who the major players are in this industry, what they do, and who you should go to if you were to go to one.

So why does it matter?

You see, these platforms are essentially the actual link where buyers (the viewers) meets sellers (the companies). If you want to think of it in shopping mall terms, if a website was a mall, these platforms are the individual stores. Considering the importance of location location location in real estate, it goes to stand that it is also important here to find a good store (in terms of size, design, location, etc.)

Having your product shown in the big ol’ corner shop is more valuable than deep in one wing.

So here are the big ones – as determined by reach and ads shown.


Founded in 2006, Brightroll claims that it works with 80+ of the top 100 American advertising agencies and has the ability to reach 80% of viewers online in one shape or another. In May 2013, they ran 2,600,000,000 (2.6 billion) ads delivered to over 52% of the US population. It’s one of the very few platform to go regularly over the 50% mark and stats confirm that they continue to be the platform with the largest reach. They also consistently are among the top in minutes of ad delivered. Our analysis of Brightroll is that if you’re looking to target some niche markets, Brightroll has the ability to get your ad to where you want it.

In September 2013, AOL announced their $405 million acquisition of Adap.tv, Inc – an advertising platform that does what advertising platforms do. This move has transformed AOL into a serious player in the game. To illustrate, in May of 2013, AOL delivered 600 million ads to 16.9% of the American population. Adap.tv (pre-buyout) in the same month had 2 billion to 43% of the American population. As of post-merger, AOL now delivers (on average) the most minutes of ads of any online publisher and is the biggest online ad properties. Our analysis is that if you want big and steady, AOL is the way to go.

As of very recently (July 2014) Facebook acquired LiveRail for ~$400 million dollars. In 2013, Liverail was on track for a $100 million year in revenue and had grown 300% over the years. It considered an IPO but instead, found the Facebook offer more enticing. Among LiveRail’s customers are Major League Baseball, ABC Family, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion. In terms of numbers, LiveRail is among the top of minutes delivered each month, video ad impressions, and reach (just under 50%). Our analysis is that if you’re looking for an overall solid horse, LiveRail is a good choice.

While we’ve determine the Big 3 in terms of a subjective combination of reach + minutes delivered + ad impressions, other notables include SpotXChange and Google. Sometimes you can’t really go wrong with any of the choices. All these publishers offer similar things and it might just matter on which your agency has connections with or which customer rep you like the most.


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