Home Analysis Video-level contextual data can drive CTV ad spend

Video-level contextual data can drive CTV ad spend

Richie Hyden, COO and Co-Founder of IRIS.TV, argues that CTV ad spend has been held back by the lack of transparency around the content ads are placed next to. IRIS.TV recently partnered with Publica to integrate video-level contextual data into the latter’s CTV ad server, enabling direct deals to be conducted based on contextual segments. Hyden believes that leveraging contextual data not only ensures brand safety for advertisers, but also can boost ad efficacy.

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“Ad spend isn’t transitioning out of linear and into CTV at the same pace that CTV is growing, and the reason for that is transparency,” says Richie Hyden, COO and Co-Founder of IRIS.TV – a video data platform. He continues: “CTV without content data is not transparent at all. Advertisers don’t understand what type of content their ads run adjacent to and that creates risk.”

He contrasts CTV with linear, arguing that an aspect which makes linear attractive for advertisers is the transparency around what content ads are being placed next to. Hyden remarks that linear has traditionally been bought and sold based on audience data (provided predominantly by Nielsen) and data around the content provided by broadcaster networks.

In a linear environment, Hyden says: “You know who you’re reaching and what kind of programming you’re running adjacent to. You can ensure it’s safe and suitable for your brand, measure the impact of a campaign over time and reallocate budgets in locations you know performed best.”

According to Hyden, the reason CTV is not transparent currently is not because media sellers are hiding anything but because the infrastructure needed to make it transparent had not existed previously; with CTV experiencing explosive adoption over the last 18 months, the industry is “playing catch up.”

IRIS.TV recently partnered with Publica to integrate video-level contextual data into the latter’s CTV ad server. The company says the solution ensures brand safety and transparency while “dramatically streamlining the process of introducing contextual data for planning and targeting advertising campaigns.”

Hyden says: “There are two main ecosystems at play: the advertising world and the video streaming world. Those two worlds haven’t really spoken to each other in a long time. What we do is connect the video infrastructure with the ad tech ecosystem that buys ads against that video content.”

He clarifies that contextual advertising has been a feature of digital for a long time. With display for example, the ecosystem operates by using website URLs that are passed into the bid request between buyers and sellers. These website tend to be open domain, and as a result companies over the last 10-15 years have been able to build technology which scrape webpages’ texts to decide if they are brand safe, and determine the topical nature of the content is. Through these pre-bid integrations, DSPs are able to parse the text on a website and tell buyers whether the content is safe to advertise alongside.

Hyden remarks: “Video doesn’t work that way. Video URLs are not parsed in the bid stream. Video URLs are not available in the ecosystem for anyone to analyse and scrape because that kind of content is very expensive to produce.”

He explains that the role IRIS.TV performs as a video data platform is to “sit in the middle” and ingest all the video data coming from the video URL, as well as the metadata coming from publishers.

“That’s what we do,” Hyden says, “We work with publishers to ingest their whole video library. We clean up that data and then provide that data to data companies like Comscore, GumGum and many others, so they can analyse those videos and create scores for that content in a very similar way that would be done for online articles.”

According to Hyden, the integration with Publica represents the “last missing piece” in enabling contextual advertising in the CTV space. Publica is the first ad server to activate IRIS-enabled data for direct deal forecasting and targeting. Hyden says this takes the operational strain off of publishers: “They can just log into Publica to set up a direct deal like they would any other deal. They click on their contextual segments, select from a neat drop-down list of values and then launch the deal.”

In addition to ensuring brand safety and making CTV transparent, Hyden believes the solution also improves the efficacy of campaigns. Without knowing what content their ads are running adjacent to, it becomes difficult for advertisers to determine the content they should advertise alongside for optimal performance. He says: “By understanding the type of content running adjacent to the ad and being able to control for those differences from a targeting perspective, you can align your spend against verticals that you know will perform well.”

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