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Navigating the world of CTV for advertisers

Austin Scott, Head of EMEA Video Development, Xandr
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It is increasingly clear that consumers are spending more time watching television than ever before and the popularity of larger screen sizes coincides with this. Alongside the rise in screen time comes a rapid evolution in the ways consumers are engaging with content, and the devices where they engage. 

As viewers cut cords and engagement with traditional TV declines, CTV gives viewers choice and control and is emerging as an exciting opportunity for advertisers. CTV promises reach on par with traditional TV in the same high-quality environments but offers efficiencies through digital when it comes to planning, audience-based targeting and measurement. As with other new formats, there are also challenges to be solved alongside the opportunities, so brands and agencies need to understand how to navigate this landscape.

To educate the industry further on these opportunities and challenges, Xandr, in partnership with the IAB, conducted research into perceptions of CTV in Europe. Here is what we found:

Tackling the challenges

 As the dynamic between traditional TV and digital TV changes, connected TV has a bright future for ad supported content on the largest screens in the household. In fact, eMarketer predicts a 12% increase in subscription-based OTT video viewers worldwide by 2023.

But like any growing format, issues of access, identity and brand safety all need to be addressed and standardised – and platforms are diligently working to solve them now.

In fact, one of the key challenges impacting the CTV user experience is developing audience-targeted buys in the face of endemic identity challenges. In comparison to targeted digital display, CTV advertising doesn’t rely on cookies. All of this is a challenge for advertisers because frequency capping, audience targeting and attribution rely on the existence of identifiers.

Fragmentation of supply is slowing adoption of CTV as there is a lack of understanding around the various sources of CTV supply and the benefits of each point of access. Seemingly similar supply can be available across multiple points which means the inventory is spread out in a way that makes it hard for any single channel, or provider, to deliver the kind of scale that advertisers are accustomed to with linear TV.

The digital revolution has brought with it many technical challenges that will require collaboration and standardisation. The wide range of devices that support video streaming have a variety of hardware and software and therefore varying capabilities. Advertisers do have access to tools that attempt to solve the hurdles in cross-screen, cross-device fragmentation in CTV and they need to ensure they are educating themselves on the ecosystem and partnerships to unlock the full opportunity.

Capitalising on the opportunity

 CTV offers a high impact opportunity for brands that goes beyond traditional TV; it is premium content watched on the big screen, except delivered through an Internet connection. Brands get the benefit of a leaned-in audience that is typically more engaged because streaming viewers select which content to watch as opposed to broadcast TV, where they are locked into a finite number of channels with set programming times.

This advantage means CTV contributes to typical completion rates in the high 90s more effortlessly than digital formats. The fact that television sets are becoming increasingly connected to the Internet opens up opportunities for data-driven advertising. The problem with this is during our survey, 53% of respondents ranked CTV as low, something they rarely chose for planning/buying media to reach their target audience. A surprising stat as, due to the availability of data, CTV campaigns can be activated, optimised and reported against much more quickly relative to TV.

CTV is an exciting opportunity for advertisers as it provides unparalleled reach and targeting capabilities in high-quality environments. Advertisers just need to be aware of how to capitalise on this opportunity.

Next steps for advertisers

More investment is needed in understanding the landscape for advertisers. CTV advertising in Europe is full of promise: while investment is still low, it is an area brands are considering increasing spending in. In fact, in our survey we conducted with the IAB Europe, 86% of respondents said they foresee an opportunity to increase spend in CTV over the next 18-24 months.

As CTV engagement increases, as an industry we can continue to educate and assess the new way of doing something old – TV has long been the incumbent. Buyers have valued the benefits of audience-based buying in other formats and need to ask more of their technology partners to help navigate industry challenges to unlock the full CTV opportunity for the health of the ecosystem.

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Austin Scott
Austin Scott is Head of EMEA Video Development at Xandr. Xandr was born out of great legacies behind an even greater purpose: to make advertising better for brands and consumers alike. Leveraging the spirit of innovation that began more than 143 years ago and has continued on as a part of AT&T’s legacy, we are uniquely positioned to change the industry and leverage our resources for good. With one of the world’s largest collections of digital, film, and TV properties, we provide a premium option for advertisers and publishers looking to reach specific audiences at scale in brand-safe environments all through a powerful, unified platform. Our combined assets, including data insights, premium content, powerful technology, and scaled direct-to-consumer distribution, give us a competitive edge — helping to improve advertising for brands, publishers, and consumers. https://www.xandr.com/