Programmatic Metadata Success Is in the Details

In recent years, the rise in programmatic buying has opened up new ways for buyers to access supply. However, devices are still fragmented, and don’t all have the same capabilities in terms of the signals/metadata they can pass in a bid request to the Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). ​Metadata is the specific information the seller (the inventory owner) will send to the buyer (the DSP) in a bid request to describe the inventory to the buyer. The more metadata gets passed to the buyer, the more valuable the inventory becomes, as this helps the buyer make a more informed decision on what inventory they are bidding on and how much value they attribute to it. Therefore, the metadata in the bid request needs to be as accurate as possible.

The Programmatic Challenge

For video inventory coming from connected TVs (CTV) and set-top boxes (STB) — which represents a very large part of the overall viewing — a challenge for the programmatic ecosystem has been that, for these inventory types, metadata is often either missing or lacking in standardization compared to more traditional inventory sources like web or iOS/Android apps. This ​leads to suboptimal monetization as DSPs bid less than they would with more complete metadata coverage in bid requests.

This guide shares insights into some of the metadata that is currently preventing DSPs in the U.S. from bidding on programmatic private marketplace (PMP) deals on set-top box and CTV. The report will also share what solutions U.S. programmers can take on to address these challenges, as well as what solutions they need to partner on with others (buyers, distributors, tech, and media) in the ecosystem to address these challenges and unlock biddable activation on previously inaccessible (or underutilized) video-on-demand (VOD) supply pools. Note that this report echoes IAB guidelines and shares an actionable checklist that U.S. programmers can follow to address metadata challenges so that they can best follow those guidelines going forward.

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The lack of transparency caused by the supply chain’s scarcity of data and content attributes is the biggest culprit [of what makes it difficult for DSPs to buy our inventory]. More education is required across the industry … and FreeWheel shows great promise in building out a team dedicated to marketplace awareness.

Christina Chung
VP, Business Operations, Estrella Media

Accurate and more transparent signals ensure buyers are able to reach more valuable inventory. Collaboration between buy- and sell-side platforms helps unlock greater opportunity for programmatic transactions across the board.

Adam Roodman
SVP of Ads Products and Strategy, Yahoo Advertising

This is a huge challenge for our monetization strategy. As an MVPD our STB inventory is the best of the best – premium content viewed on the largest screen in the home. And it’s where we have scale! Until we solve the metadata challenge this inventory is excluded from programmatic execution. … We believe the way forward is for the industry to align on a set of privacy compliant data signals delivered in the bidstream.

Joshua Cohen
Senior Director, Product Management, Effectv


More Information:
Kelly Blasco, Sr. Manager, Advisory Services