Why SSAI is the Best Advertising Approach to Live Streaming

Blog 4 min read | Sep 18, 2023 | Francesco Montesanto


As the world transitions from linear broadcasting to connected TV streaming, video companies now have multiple monetization models to choose from in order to boost revenue.

They can go with Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD), which is essentially a freemium model of providing access to premium content, Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), where users pay a regular fee to access content, Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD), which follows a pay-per-view model, or a hybrid of any of the three.

Most content providers offer some form of AVOD, whether it’s through FAST channels, tiered subscriptions where users still see ads, or simply to boost engagement by eliminating costs for users.

Content providers are always looking to deliver ads to the right audience at the perfect time for the least amount of money.

And with AVOD, the ability to deliver hyper-personalized video ads is becoming easier than ever.

However, the delivery mechanism employed by content providers can make all the difference in the world.

Here, we’re going to dive into two of those mechanisms – Server Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) and Client Side Ad Insertion (CSAI), focusing more on why SSAI can be the preferred option for broadcasters and publishers.

What is SSAI?

Server Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) refers to stitching video ads directly into video content at the server level during encoding before it’s delivered to a user’s device.

This process allows for a continuous live or VOD streaming experience since video ads are seamlessly stitched into the video content prior to delivery.

In many ways, it’s a similar process as advertising on linear TV. Ads are packaged together with the content before being delivered.

However, SSAI still provides personalized ads through dynamic ad insertion (DAI), bid requests, and a programmatic ad infrastructure that’s activated in the milliseconds it takes for a user to request content and the content provider to deliver it.

Since ad markers are already embedded into streams, the only variables that exist, regardless of OTT app or device, is which ad a user sees.

What is CSAI?

Client Side Ad Insertion (CSAI) refers to the process of placing video ads directly into content at a browser level, as opposed to the server level.

Simply put, the signals that are used to determine ad relevance are sent directly from the user’s browser. If you’re ever watching content, and you’re waiting for an ad to load, chances are it’s because of CSAI.

CSAI allows for a greater degree of personalization, as activity on a browser level provides a much more specific and precise snapshot of user intent and psychographic behavior.

Why SSAI beats CSAI for live streaming

Both methods of ad insertion have strengths and weaknesses, however, for live streaming, SSAI might be the way to go for several reasons:

A seamless broadcast experience

Ad stitching is done at the server level, which means that ads and video content are delivered as a singular package. This allows precise ad insertion while still providing an uninterrupted streaming experience.

It does the hard work for you

With the diversity of devices that users employ to access video content, SSAI ensures ads are always delivered, regardless of the technical hurdles each device might put up.

When you rely on browsers to send signals to ad buyers, you’re dealing with a completely different set of hurdles which encompasses an entirely different tech stack.

Since ads are stitched with the content at the server level, it eliminates most of the technical hurdles that could disrupt ad and content delivery.

Ad blocker-proof

When ads are seamlessly integrated into the content, ad blocking software simply can’t decipher where content ends and ads begin. This makes it virtually impossible for ad blockers to work on video content delivered via SSAI.


SSAI still allows for extended layers of ad personalization depending on a number of factors;

  • Device
  • Geolocation
  • Time of day
  • OTT app

Even without proprietary data that can only be obtained from a browser, this is often more than enough information to personalize and customize ads to specific users.

There’s even an argument to be made that a user’s streaming habits are a stronger indication of what ads they want to see rather than what they do as they browse the internet.


Advertisers love SSAI because it provides a nearly perfect delivery rate of ads, maximizing CPM and boosting video completion rates (VCR).

Similarly, content creators and broadcasters love SSAI because the seamless viewing experiences maximizes ad reach and yield without sacrificing personalization.

Finally, audiences may prefer an SSAI content experience as it minimizes disruptions while showing them ads that are actually relevant.

JW Player allows you to enable SSAI for live broadcasting so that your live streaming audiences can enjoy a seamless experience eliminating buffering and delays.

If you’re ready to take your live streaming to the next level, contact the JWP team today.