The second part of a special series “Five years of AdPlayer.Pro in Review” outlines the key milestones in the evolution of the global digital video advertising industry in 2016 – 2021.

Undoubtedly, the development and growth of any digital advertising company is inseparable from the context. That is, it’s most natural to look back at the achieved accomplishments in complex, alongside the evolution of the entire online ad industry.

Aiming to commemorate the 5th anniversary of AdPlayer.Pro, we’re taking a brief look-back at how the global online video advertising landscape has been evolving over the past five years.

From Flash to HTML5

Back in 2016, when the history of AdPlayer.Pro had just begun, digital video ads had already been a global hit. Still constrained by the limitations of the mobile internet speed and the smartphone screen limitations to a certain extent, the industry was already crowded with ad tech businesses of various sizes. 

On the video players market, in particular, the massive shift from Flash to HTML5 players was already in progress, given the soon expected Flash Player deprecation, and this was a real “end of the era.” 

In this respect, even though some publishers were still reluctant to take a plunge, for the vast majority of our first Supply partners at the time it was crucial that AdPlayer.Pro was offering an HTML5 video player, which was easy-to-integrate into a website and lightweight enough to display any type of video content and ads smoothly on mobile devices. 

From in-stream to outstream video ads

While the conventional pre-rolls still ruled the industry in 2017, the shortage of quality video inventory, as well as the growing ad blindness were fueling the growing businesses’ interest in the outstream video ad units, specifically designed to display in the non-video environment. 

And, quite predictably, the market share of outstream video ads has only been growing further with time, stimulating both the emergence of new outstream video ads solutions, and the enhancement of already existing ones. 

In the video player niche, for a quality ad-enabled video player the support of outstream video ad formats was from then on a MUST. 

From direct to programmatic ad deals

Even though the rise of programmatic ad buying took place back in the beginning of 2010s, it wasn’t until their second half, when programmatic video advertising has reached its cruising speed. 

The sharp ascent of video header bidding tech was one of the major milestones in the evolution of the entire online video ad industry, which put a huge pressure on the video ad tech developers – to ensure the header bidding support in their video ad player solutions (either directly or via the prebid.js support).

Further on, the official public release of OpenRTB 3.0 by IAB Tech Lab in 2018 only proved that programmatic video ads were here to stay for good. And for the ad tech developers, this once again demonstrated the importance of their video ad player’s compliance with OpenRTB Demand, among other types (including VAST/VPAID, Google IMA and more).

Consequently, Ads.txt and App-ads.txt, Sellers.json and Buyers.json, OM SDK and OM SDK for Web Video, which were still an enigma in 2016, have become the new reality today, in 2021.  

From desktop & mobile web to in-app video ads

As already mentioned, while the constraints of the Internet speed and CPU load were still considerable in 2016, this soon changed, much due to the introduction of 4G, along with the essential functional core enhancements in mobile devices. 

Quite naturally, such improvements have inevitably fueled the development of the more sophisticated mobile apps (especially in the gaming industry), which consequently pushed the market demand for newer, responsive and often more interactive in-app ad formats to new heights.

Aiming to satisfy this demand, the video ad player developers like AdPlayer.Pro introduced the set of outstream in-app video ad formats and, of course, added MRAID support in their player tech.

Another turning point for many publishers was Google’s introduction of its policy against heavy ads, known as the “Heavy ad intervention” in 2020. First, it forced them to review and improve existing video ad stack to ensure no ads were being blocked, and also returned their focus to the AMP tech.

Undoubtedly, at that time video ad tech providers needed to step up again, and we can proudly admit that AdPlayer.Pro did quite well. 

Not only did we enhance our video ad player to mitigate blocking risks for our partners on the Supply side, but also released a major upgrade to our video ads kit for AMP properties – known as AMP Ads Kit 2.0 earlier in 2021.

The winning story of CTV

Closer to the end of 2018, CTV definitely became the key trend in the entire digital tech industry. More importantly, the skyrocketing boom of Smart TVs, game consoles and other OTT devices, accompanied by the boom of streaming services, have soon led to the inevitable – the rise of CTV advertising.  And in the video player context, CTV support has rapidly become a deal breaker for developers of ad-enabled video players. 

Well, looking back at how the CTV ad niche has developed ever since, one thing is certain: the market has taken several giant leaps in its evolution, yet many more essential steps are yet to be taken, and many CTV ad standards are yet to be upheld

Сheck out the evolution of AdPlayer.Pro in 2016 – 2021 in our special “Five Years of AdPlayer.Pro in Review” infographic.