Media Connected TV

People power is the key to making CTV mainstream

The Trade Desk


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May 2, 2019 | 6 min read

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Connected TV (CTV) is taking off. We reached 42% penetration in UK households alone last year – but the momentum is truly global and shows no sign of stopping. That presents a wealth of opportunity for advertisers, with some studies showing the UK will generate £220m of CTV advertising by 2020.

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Optimising your CTV campaign

The reasons for success are varied. Firstly, CTV is arguably the most premium, brand-safe content to advertise next to. On top of that, better viewability means CTV is a lucrative opportunity to reach a more engaged and therefore valuable audience: as opposed to conventional broadcast ad-breaks, CTV ads are user activated and precede content that has been specifically selected by the viewer, meaning practically every ad served is a hit. Also, CTV is infinitely more trackable and optimisable than linear TV, making it invaluable for marketers and broadcasters alike.

True, CPMs may be higher – but that’s no bad thing. As ever in life, you get what you pay for – in this case, the ability to target smarter, meaning a greater success rate from fewer impressions, while eliminating wastage. And those higher CPMs make CTV just as enticing for broadcasters as it they do for brands.

And yet, despite the dizzying heights we’ve reached already, we’re still in the early stages of CTV – there’s still endless opportunity out there. The reasons above alone prove there’s nothing to be scared of – but just in case you needed any more convincing, here’s a few tips on how advertisers can get on board with CTV and help drive the market forward.

1. First come, first serve

There’s a whole range of benefits to being an early adopter, but ultimately, with the full potential of CTV still untapped, the greatest of them is that the market is still yours to shape. You just need to get involved and signal your intent – especially when it comes to encouraging the expansion of much-needed infrastructure.

After all, broadcasters won’t fully open up their pipes programmatically until there’s a real call to do so – and that means more demand. It’s particularly pressing because until we get enough posteriors in seats, we’ll be missing out on both better inventory for advertisers and better CPMs for broadcasters – the current halfway house benefits no one. There’s no need to go all in straight away – but show you’re on board for the long-haul and give CTV a go. You’ve certainly nothing to lose.

2. It takes two to tango

No doubt many advertisers are listening eagerly for news of broadcasters setting up their programmatic pipes – especially as they judge whether to take the plunge. But don’t just sit back and wait for it to happen – advertisers have a key role to play here, too.

The best possible market which works for everyone is one formed on broad consensus and collective innovation. By stating what works and what doesn’t, you can proactively shape the future of CTV and make sure it turns into a real asset. So, let’s start as we mean to go on and communicate openly about what we want from CTV – otherwise, broadcasters will go ahead and build something else.

3. Bang the measurement drum

The industry continues to chase universal measurement. Encouragingly, it’s no longer a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ we get it. We can do better than that – especially as a lack of universal measurement system is likely holding back the broader implementation of CTV in campaigns.

Rest assured, industry bodies and tech companies are on the case. Solving measurement issues may not happen overnight, but necessity is the mother of invention. The more you stress that universal measurement is a must-have with your broadcasting buddies, the more you’re likely to speed up the process.

4. Solve the ownership issue

CTV is at the heart of digital. That brings benefits, but it also makes it rather a broad church – and that can lead to a lot of internal politics around who ‘owns’ it, along with other programmatic solutions. That could be a matter of, for example, whether it sits with the digital or the TV team. It’s important not to follow in these footsteps, as it’ll only slow progress.

What’s more, the benefits of new technologies stand to benefit everyone, so it’s important they’re not siloed away or, worse yet, forgotten about. So wherever you put it, make sure CTV has a happy home.

That goes for agency and broadcaster relationships, too. It’s worth noting that broadcaster and agency agreements around programmatic are struck in a variety of different ways nowadays – sometimes as part of a trading deal, sometimes totally separate – so in this fast-evolving world, be aware and plan ahead.

CTV has rapidly grown out of its stabilisers, and the pace of development is quickening. That means now is the time to get on board, especially if you want to leave your mark on where it goes next.

The good news is there’s still ample opportunity to be part of the technology and shape its direction as it grows so that CTV has the best possible impact on the industry. So, shift into gear and let’s speed CTV well into the mainstream.

Dave Castell, general manager EMEA – inventory and partnerships, The Trade Desk

Media Connected TV

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