CTV is now an integral part of media buying strategies, with ad spend expected to top $20 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Tru Optik*. But fraud and lack of transparency remain a top concern for CTV buys, according to panelists at the recent 614 Group Brand Safety Summit New York.
Moderated by Lung Huang, Head of Growth Solutions Kinship, Mars Petcare, the panel featured:
- Roy Rosenfeld, SVP of Product, DoubleVerify
- Olga O’Donnell, VP, Business Operations & Technology Partnerships, Amplifi US
- Bryan Everett, SVP of Business Development, Amobee
- Eric Warburton, VP, Ad Operations, Horizon
Discussion between the panelists focused on what makes CTV appealing to advertisers; the challenges of CTV; and what the industry can do to combat these challenges.
1. Advertisers are Turning to CTV
Although CTV was once seen as experimental and given small budgets, it’s now one of the fastest growing channels. During the pandemic, CTV programming viewership has skyrocketed. While other channels have seen decreased ad spend during the pandemic, CTV spend has been growing, notes Eric Warburton. But Warburton also makes the point that CTV spend was actually on the rise before the pandemic began.
CTV is not only a vehicle for video reach extension, according to the panelists; it is an essential platform to target “cord-nevers” and “cord-cutters” — a growing segment of consumers not reachable by linear-TV.
2. CTV Is Not Without its Challenges
Advertisers and brands are currently concerned with lack of transparency and fraud in CTV environments.
Lack of Transparency
The complexity of the CTV ecosystem creates a lack of transparency, explains Olga O’Donnell. During the panel, O’Donnell breaks down the ways resellers can access a publisher’s inventory at the detriment to advertisers and user experience.
This lack of transparency causes measurement challenges. Bryan Everett points out, CTV is actually behind linear TV in terms of measurability. Currently, advertisers cannot see the genre, show, episode, season or time of where their ad ran.
And, unfortunately, a lack of transparency also creates opportunities for fraud to take place.
Fraudsters, looking to make a profit, are following the increased spend in CTV. Roy Rosenfeld, SVP of Product at DV, explains that the CTV ecosystem is especially susceptible to fraud because the space is so different. Unlike other digital channels, CTV uses SSAI, which is a unique ad serving environment that allows a seller to declare themselves while the ad is already running. “Fraudsters can essentially make up inventory out of thin air and try to sell that,” Rosenfeld says.
3. There are Ways to Combat Fraud and Lack of Transparency in the CTV Ecosystem
Efforts by verification partners, such as DoubleVerify, are advancing CTV measurement and combating fraud. But to truly tackle these issues, the panelists said publishers and the industry need to act together.
What Can Publishers Do?
Publishers can take the following steps:
- Adopt measurement standards and start working with verification partners, such as DoubleVerify, to prevent fraud.
- Increase transparency to industry access and sales exclusivity.
- Pass more data in ad requests, such as show name and episode number.
What Can the Industry Do?
The whole digital advertising industry can work together to:
- Adopt enhanced measurability standards.
- Encourage active participation by buyers and sellers with industry groups such as the IAB and 4As.
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