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Xandr CTV Media

How adtech platforms can help CTV realize its full potential

By Tom Dover

May 27, 2021 | 5 min read

While the talk around CTV is reaching the industry, Tom Dover, director at Xandr, says there’s a lot more that adtech platforms can be doing to accelerate maturity.


Connected TV (CTV) is a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to reach engaged audiences with the right message wherever they may be. People have changed the way in which they consume big-screen content, and in tandem, advertising is also adapting to keep pace, opening up a world of new opportunities for advertisers.

Audience login and authentication allows advertisers to target individual households or viewers while digital attribution helps identify the link between ad exposure and engagement. At the same time, return data flow and rapid execution mean buyers can analyse and optimise campaigns with agility, without needing to lock in to lengthy or rigid upfront commitments.

With analysts predicting digital video and CTV spend to grow 14.8% and 34.8% in 2021 respectively, CTV is emerging as the premium channel for the post-linear future. Still premature in many markets, there are a few key ways adtech platforms can help buyers and sellers realize the full potential of CTV around the world.

Apply programmatic methods

CTV benefits from being driven by real-time data, providing an opportunity for precise targeting at the local, household or even device level. Today, marketers can use first-party data from their own customer relationship management (CRM) and transaction records, online data such as website visits and available digital segments indicating, for example, kids at home or occupation type, to identify when and where to reach their desired audience.

Frequency capping and competitive separation

Consumer fatigue due to excess ad exposure can be a brand-killer and a waste of valuable advertising budgets. Frequency capping allows media owners to specify the maximum number of times ads are served to a viewer, while competitive separation ensures ads from similar or competing brands are not played back-to-back. Both methods are key to maximizing a campaign’s efficiency.

Increased responsiveness

The digitisation of the TV-buying workflow will speed up ad trading. More than that, the ability to activate, optimise, report and adjust campaigns rapidly allows ad buyers to change their creative messaging or spending commitments far quicker than traditional TV would typically afford, as many had to do early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

CTV has grown at a tremendous rate, accelerated by the rise of on-demand consumption. These changes are leading to a broader convergence of traditional and digital media and increasing innovation in TV advertising products. With the right technology in place and partnerships across the industry, adtech platforms can help participants on all sides reach their full CTV potential.

The next chapter of growth and innovation

Increasingly, we are seeing TV players ramping up their digital capabilities to complement their traditional strengths, while online players are looking to integrate third-party audience metrics into their platforms to improve comparability and transparency.

Proactively tackling challenges arising from emerging formats like CTV – around identity, context, campaign planning and outcomes – and ensuring that buyers can transact with assurance and drive performance has been top of mind for everyone.

Innovative thinking and solutions are fundamental to go beyond traditional CTV capabilities. Xandr’s data science-based CTV pacing solution, for example, instil confidence that buyers’ budgets are allocated correctly, and its novel video taxonomy system enables a user of curated marketplaces to transact and report on a clearly defined and manageable set of OTT content descriptors, gaining critical insight into where their ads are running.

While access to CTV inventory and its progress varies by market, the opportunity it offers to buyers and sellers is evident. Xandr has witnessed 235% growth in CTV spend globally in Q1 2021. Outside of the United States, CTV spend was up 211% year-on-year, signalling an upward trend that buyers are increasingly looking for differentiating data and scaled premium inventory to reach their users programmatically.

Global partnerships and collaborations will anchor new solutions to overcome the challenges of fragmented consumption and technology. The use of proprietary, deterministic data, data science and machine learning will give advertisers the ability to gather insights from individuals and devices as well as general consumer behaviours and traits. This enables unified activation of the same consumer across inventory, platform and media executions. Around the world, broadcasters and technology platforms are working to align and simplify access, thereby making it easier to buy across multiple channels. This exciting evolution will ensure all parties are able to reap the benefits of CTV.

Tom Dover is a director at Xandr.

Xandr CTV Media

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