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What Are Ad Pods? And How Do They Help Publishers and Advertisers?

As connected TV (CTV) advertising continues to grow, so do the terms associated with it. Ad podding is one such term that has begun to attract a lot of attention recently. But what exactly does it mean?

We teamed up with CTV platform Publica to bring you this overview of ad podding, including what it is, why it’s become so popular and how both publishers and advertisers are using it to their advantage.

What are ad pods?

Ad pod is a term used in connection with CTV advertising to specify multiple ads sequenced together and played back-to-back within a single ad break, like traditional linear TV.

They allow publishers to return multiple ads from a single ad request, and then those ads are played in sequence.

Say you’re streaming Brooklyn 99 on Hulu and halfway through the episode an ad break starts. You watch three different ads back-to-back, and then the episode resumes. You just sat through an ad pod.

Four reasons why advertisers and publishers use ad pods


1 – They offer more control

Ad pods help advertisers avoid running ads alongside direct competitors, ensuring that their offering stands out to viewers and that their message doesn’t get saturated.

To help explain this, imagine you have a viewer who is craving a pizza, and they see an ad break with a Pizza Hut commercial and two other non-food related ads.

Imagine this scenario again, but as well as the Pizza Hut ad they are shown ads for Dominos and Papa John’s straight after. In which scenario do you think they are most likely to dial Pizza Hut?

Ad pods make scenario one possible, allowing for competitive separation, which can have extremely positive effects on key business metrics, including purchase intent and brand recall.

Ad pods also provide publishers with greater controls over their ad breaks. For the first time, this enables them to place a premium on certain positions within the ad pod, such as the first slot in the ad break for any advertiser that wants to be the first ad for instance.

These targeting parameters have been very popular with traditional TV advertisers over the years. They are now increasingly asking for these options when it comes to their CTV ad buys.

2 – Ad pods offer a better way to monetize long-form content

Publishers with longer-form content can leverage the controls offered by ad podding to set up more advanced monetization strategies for their streaming content.

Rather than setting the ad slots to a fixed duration, advanced ad podding solutions can return the highest yielding ads per slot based on overall revenues.

For example, a single 30–second ad could be replaced by two 15–second ads if this makes more money for the publisher or vice versa. If the publisher was not using an advanced ad podding solution, they would miss the opportunity to capture this incremental ad revenue.

3 – Ad pods allow publishers to meet buyers’ needs

Without an ad pod in place, advertisers have historically been spinning a wheel of chance when they bought into streaming apps on CTV. They have had very little control over frequency or the position of their ad within the ad break.

Ad pods enable streaming publishers to give advertisers the confidence they need to invest in CTV as it provides buyers with a controlled ad break and a clear set of rules and targeting parameters.

4 –Ad pods improve the user experience

Ad pods enable a better user experience because the ads are tailored to viewers’ preferences. More importantly, podding can help guarantee that viewers won’t see an ad twice in the same ad break – which I’m sure we can all agree is a painful experience for any viewer!

When should you use ad pods?

CTV publishers who produce ad-funded streaming content should always look to implement an advanced ad break management strategy via the implementation of ad pods.

CTV advertisers are increasingly optimizing their ad spend towards streaming publishers who can support their requirements around reach, frequency and measurement. These CTV ad-buying areas can all increasingly be supported via an advanced ad pod/break strategy set by publishers.

How can you start using them?

Last year we announced a global partnership with CTV platform Publica that gives Unruly’s CTV and over-the-top (OTT) publishers access to ad pod monetization and automated deal management tools through our new self-service platform, UnrulyX CTRL.

The partnership combines Publica’s CTV ad serving capabilities, server-to-server header bidding solution and server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technology with our unique, global demand and self-service automated deal management tools for publishers.

If you’d like to learn more about Unruly and Publica’s offering, please get in touch here or reach out to bd@unrulygroup.com.