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Future of TV Adtech Brand Safety

CTV must get better at telling brands where their ads are, finds study

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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

September 27, 2022 | 5 min read

More than half of US advertisers and 82% of UK brands would increase their connected TV (CTV) budgets if they knew more about the shows their ads air around.

CTV buying needs greater transparency

CTV buying needs greater transparency / Pexels

Ahead of The Drum Media Summit 2022's Future of TV panel, we took a look at a report by adtech firm PubMatic, in association with Advertiser Perceptions, that surveyed 200 US and 100 UK brands. It uncovered how greater transparency in CTV programmatic buying would increase advertisers’ appetites.

Traditionally advertisers have bought linear TV based on a channel and a show, so they know exactly where their ad will be served and to what audience. Programmatic CTV is traded on the contextual relevance of content, meaning an advertiser buys categories without any visibility of what channel or show their ad will be delivered on.

The lack of transparency is holding programmatic CTV back from full-scale adoption. Audiences have been horrified to find unfortunately-placed ads around sensitive content, such as Applebee’s CNN ad during reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a bid to convince advertisers to move budgets into CTV, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) developed a solution called Content Object as part of its OpenRTB tech. Content Object requires a publisher in the bidding process to describe its content with attributes such as genre, themes and age ratings. Options to label a show as live and with the series title are also listed.

The ‘Transparency Will Bring More Spend to CTV/OTT’ report found two-thirds of advertisers surveyed in the US and 78% in the UK would shift budgets from linear to CTV if a publisher used Content Object.

According to eMarketer, this year US advertisers will spend over $68bn on linear TV ads, compared with less than $19bn on CTV video ads. Therefore, PubMatic’s research suggests Content Object could unlock a potential $45bn in CTV spend.

The research found advertisers would also pay more for inventory that had gone through a Content Object process, with 57% in the US and 64% in the UK willing to commit to higher budgets.

Content Object is considered a potential solution to CTV’s transparency woes, but hasn’t yet achieved mass adoption. PubMatic found that 50% of US and six in 10 UK advertisers were currently using Content Object, but more promisingly in both markets 30% were planning to use it in the next 12 months.

The shortfalls of Content Object, according to PubMatic, is that publishers pick and choose what attributes they want to share about a show and have different interpretations of genres. The DSPs have also been slow to build the tech to enable Content Object, and there is caution from publishers about how the data will be used.

Despite these challenges, PubMatic called on publishers and buyers to start adding Content Object to all CTV bid requests. Nicole Scaglione, vice-president of CTV and OTT business at PubMatic, said the IAB’s solution “provides a key path for publishers to share signals that give media buyers the contextual information they need to meet campaign goals and spend more in CTV.”

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