This year at Advertising Week New York, IAS CEO Lisa Utzschneider hosted “The Shift to CTV: Your Audience is Waiting” with the Head of Platform Sales & Agency Development at Samsung Ads, Joe Melaragno, and the CEO of Publica, Ben Antier. The group discussed how they believe advanced data and technology will fuel the future of addressable connected TV (CTV) advertising.
After more than a year at home, consumers are increasingly cutting cords and shifting toward over-the-top streaming on paid platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and more. With content creation and audiences increasing by the minute, advertisers are looking to shift budgets toward this modern streaming method and publishers are seeking to best monetize their video inventory. IAS’s recent acquisition of CTV advertising leader, Publica, brings the industry a trusted platform for brands and publishers to drive more ad dollars towards CTV. With this acquisition, IAS is further able to help publishers better monetize their video programming across CTV devices, while building new tools to provide advertisers with much-needed transparency into the quality of this inventory.
Read more below to explore what was discussed during the panel.
The future of ad-supported streaming
The ad-supported streaming model seems to be here to stay. Rule of 40 research released by Samsung Ads shows the comparison between two media campaigns in Q3 2021. In the first campaign, the buyer focused their budget exclusively on linear, whereas in the second campaign the buyer balanced their budget equally between linear and streaming. Samsung found that you would need to allocate up to 40% more of your budget to linear in order to achieve the same reach that you would in an ad-supported streaming environment.
With 93% of households connected, and close to 78% of them streaming content, the buy and sell side are working to get more comfortable investing in this growing space. But the change comes with growing pains for both sides of the industry.
The importance of media quality transparency
According to Samsung Ads, media quality is becoming increasingly top of mind for marketers. “We’ve seen a lot of our early CTV partners leaning in,” said Melaragno. “Partners are starting to ask more questions around where their inventory is running. They are looking for the same level of transparency that they’ve had with linear TV all along.”
Antier said it all comes down to trust at the end of the day. Advertisers need to trust what they’re buying and understand not only the quantum but also the ad experience. Are they running in the same ad break as their competitors? How frequently are their ads appearing in front of the same viewer? Publica is working to address these questions.
“We are continuously working to improve the level of transparency. Standards should be met across the board for all CTV inventory,” Antier said.
Shifting budgets to CTV
Based on data from the last 18-20 months comparing social and streaming consumption, CTV is where users are increasingly spending their time. Despite this growth, marketers aren’t shifting their linear and social budgets to CTV as quickly as one would expect. What are the top obstacles we’re hearing about from marketers?
Melaragno said, “You can’t buy [CTV inventory] at scale in exactly the same way as linear. It takes a bit of a learning curve to learn how to do that with CTV.” Users are moving and progressing so fast because the pandemic accelerated the push into streaming, and the buy side still has work to do in order to keep up.
Establishing industry standards for CTV
The panelists were in agreement that standards need to be established soon, and that meeting them is just the beginning for our industry.
Samsung Ads is working to improve server to server authentication. “The promise of programmatic is that we can put a buyer and seller in touch with each other without someone touching a button,” Melaragno said. “It’s about increasing the level of transparency, and increasing the educational aspect for the buy and sell side so they can speak the same language in terms of what they are buying and selling. This will give everyone more control.”
The Publica and Samsung Ads partnership
Publica and Samsung Ads have fostered a partnership over the last few years that focuses on co-building. “After we got the basic feature set that we wanted, we’ve been able to start doing really cool things that can help us provide some of that transparency and other advanced features that buyers are looking for, especially as more and more budgets and advertisers move into CTV,” Melaragno said.
However, advertisers’ budgets are not shifting as fast as viewers are, which is further proof that the industry has a lot to work on. Antier offers AVOD players as an example. “One of the challenges in CTV is that you have these AVOD players that represent programmer inventory and pretty much everybody has an inventory share so you get to monetize part of it.”
This creates sales channel conflicts that make it harder for sellers to provide information on their inventory. Publica and Samsung Ads are working together to figure out how to surface this inventory information for advertisers post-bid so that it doesn’t influence the buying. “If we get that right we’re going to unlock a lot of transparency in this ecosystem and that will benefit everybody,” Antier said.
Connected TV outcomes and future
“We have to get inspired by the best,” said Antier. “We have a huge advantage in CTV compared to linear TV simply because we’re connected to the internet. It’s about bringing the systems together that have the data in a privacy-compliant way in order to measure the impact of campaigns, [considering] not only online sales, but also in-store purchases, and so on. We’re just getting started. It’s going to take industry collaboration. We need to be inspired by companies that do very well today and co-build these solutions together.”
The Samsung Ads team has been measuring CTV performance for a little over two years now. “We’ve seen that if you have a conversion event that happens on a website it’s easy to measure that view-through-conversion,” Melaragno said. But despite the clear fidelity of the CTV space, “we have a long way to go to be able to demonstrate that CTV is driving results for all sorts of different categories of advertisers.”
Click here for a recap of our other Advertising Week New York session, “Marketing By Mindset: Unlocking Contextual Targeting.”