What is Dynamic Ad Insertion[1]?

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI), is also known as Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) in the advertising circles. DAI allows advertisers to send ads that are specifically targeted to individuals that fit the criteria. In this way, DAI expands advanced advertising opportunities by allowing advertisers to target ads that can be swapped in and out of VOD content.  Therefore, DAI[2] is a technology that allows advertisers to swap out ad creatives in linear, live or video-on-demand, content.  This feature makes it possible for advertisers to actually leverage the consumer insights, gained through analyzing the online behavior of the individual, allowing them to target each individual specifically.  The benefits include more nuanced targeting, which in-turn delivers more relevant ads on an impression-by-impression basis, thereby increasing the likelihood that consumers will engage with the message and ultimately make purchases.  It is effectively campaign optimization in real-time. 


Requirements for Dynamic Ad Insertion[3] 

There are several options, supported by Ad Manager, for delivering video ads to a wide variety of inventory. However, while using it in conjunction with DAI, some additional requirements have to be catered to ensure that only premium content is matched up with premium video ads. These are elaborated below:-


  • Transcodable Video Ads - The method of taking one ad format and converting it into another format is known as transcoding. When using live linear DAI, ads can begin in a linear format and then be transcoded into a digital format.  Such transcoded ads can further be formatted into different adaptive bitrates (ABR) to increase or reduce the number of pixels compressed in that particular ad. Greater the pixel count, the better the ad quality.  Therefore, only ads that can be transcoded are supported through Ad Manager DAI.


  • VAST Compliant Video Ads - The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB's) Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is a video format designed to standardize communication between video players and servers.  This facilitates traffic across all kinds of publishing platforms.  For this reason, only VAST compliant video ads can be used with DAI.


  • Unique Ad Units for DAI Inventory - When establishing a DAI network, one should ensure that DAI-specific ad units are setup.  This will allow publishers to track and report DAI campaign delivery, prevent the targeting of DAI inventory by non-compliant video ads and reduces errors in trafficking.


  • Ingestion of Video Ads – Prior to deployment of the DAI campaign for live-linear or video-on-demand (VOD), ad content in videos must be ingested or uploaded into the Ad Manager DAI CDN, where it is transcoded into the required HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) variants.  However, if ingestion and transcoding are not carried out before launch, they manifest on the first monetizable impression. Therefore, advertisers should setup tests for DAI campaigns just to be sure that all their video ads have been transcoded and are eligible and ready to be published on the live campaign.


How Dynamic Ad Insertion Works[4]


DAI is a server-side video ad technology that allows advertisers to serve video ads into live linear programming and VOD content.  DAI technology removes the ad request and ad response process from the software development kit (SDK), while combining the video content and ads into a single stream, which are independent of web pages or apps.  This results in a reduced likelihood of client-side errors and produces a seamless TV-like experience, without latency or buffering, between content and ads.  Hence the original format of the content is of no consequence.  Once the content is transformed into the digital format, DAI can stitch custom targeted video ads into the live video stream, based on the specific preferences of the individual user viewing the content.


Prior to the development of DAI, ad insertion was expensive to build and had many challenges in maintenance.  Besides it delivered a poor viewing experience.  However, with the development of DAI technology, these issues have been effectively addressed, thereby creating a seamless user experience.  Not only does this ensure delivery of content and ads to the widest audience, but the best part is that it is very easy to implement.  Besides, this avoids the dependence on a client-side player or plug-in.  Rather the ad integration, delivery, and measure are delivered through any standard VAST ad-server.  This ensures that the user is treated to an optimal experience, across devices, without the complexity of developing a client-side solution.  All one has to do is specify the insertion markers in the source content and the ad-server does the rest.


Key Benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion[5]


Compared to the client-side technology of ad insertion, DAI comes with a host of key benefits that have transformed the way ads are targeted at consumers.  Not only do they benefit the advertiser, they also help the consumers by helping them avoid the hassle of navigating through the mass of ads that would otherwise have been sent to all consumers regardless of whether they need it or not.  Some of the key benefits are mentioned below:-

  • Cost Savings – This is the most efficient way to handle the media processing workflow.
  • Ad Server Support – DAI offers full support for a VAST standard as server.
  • Simple Ad-Break Insertion – Advertisers can completely automate ad break insertion into the source content.
  • HD Support – DAI offers support for both HD and SD content.
  • Audio Normalization – DAI can balance audio levels for ads and source content, thereby allowing the targeted consumers a smooth audio experience when switching between ads and source content.



DAI boosts the capabilities of a modern video ad server by helping advertisers and media owners take full advantage of the technology on offer.  It is a win-win situation for both the advertisers and the consumers – the advertiser is assured of a more precise delivery of ads and the resulting sale of products, whereas the consumers are spared the drudgery of scanning through multiple product ads to find the one most suited to their specific requirements.






I am a blogger, typically dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts of advanced science and technology.
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