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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Connecting more than TVs: Publishers are the key to CTV engagement

August 31, 2021 | By Laura Carstens, Product Marketing Manager – IAS @integralads

Following years of growing adoption, Connected TV (CTV) consumption took center stage in the last year as consumers overwhelmingly shifted toward remote work. In fact, IAS research has shown that 90% of consumers have access to a CTV device. And 66% of them say their CTV consumption increased as a result of the pandemic. 

Advertising dollars are also shifting in that direction, too. CTV ad spend for the U.S. is expected to grow nearly 50% in 2021, surpassing $13 Billion, according to eMarketer. And while there remain some hesitations about advertising on CTV, these environments are rich with opportunity. 

New horizons create fresh starts and CTV is no exception. CTV environments connect advertisers with highly engaged audiences. They also put publishers, specifically CTV Channels, Virtual MVPDs, and Web/Mobile Publishers, in a strong position to facilitate those connections. 

Let’s unpack that. 

How publishers can make the most of CTV

Create exceptional ad experiences  

From weekly releases to bingeable drops, and ad-free to ad-supported services, the streaming experience comes in various shapes and sizes. With more than 200+ streaming services to choose from globally, consumer attention is easily fragmented yet important to capture. Facilitating meaningful connections between advertisers and viewers starts by creating an exceptional ad experience. 

And when it comes to CTV, consumers are already in favor. IAS research found that 90% of consumers think there are features of the CTV ad experience that make it better than linear TV. 

Publishers should lean into consumer preferences by optimizing and maximizing the quality of the advertising experience. In particular, publishers should consider working with a partner that helps streamline the delivery process and provides the highest quality experience to the end user. Publica is a great example of one such partner by utilizing Server-Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) technology. SSAI stitches the ad into a single high-quality stream. This minimizes lag time and avoiding content disruption, which allows publishers to foster positive connections between consumers and brands while delivering a seamless streaming experience. 

Leverage first party data 

Publisher first party data has often been underutilized. When it comes to CTV, publishers have unique insight into what users are watching, when they’re watching, and how often. When leveraged in a privacy-compliant manner, this information is essential for effectively packaging and selling valuable CTV inventory.

Insight into consumer preferences and behaviors allows publishers to create audience segments and streamline the buying process for their advertisers. Additionally, publishers can work directly with advertisers to access advertiser first party data and match it to their own for increased accuracy. 

Finally, publishers who work with third party partners with audience management capabilities and integrations, such as Publica, typically see increased yield by having deeper insight into buyer performance metrics and the ability to optimize as needed. This is a win for both viewers and advertisers. That’s because viewers are less likely to skip contextually relevant ads on CTV. IAS research found 42% of CTV users are likely or very likely to view an ad to completion if ads are contextually relevant.

Optimize for programmatic 

CTV is still in the early stages of developing efficient optimization for programmatic inventory. This means there’s an opportunity to streamline the process as though it’s (almost) brand new. Working with a partner who can hold a unified auction can help drive efficiency, transparency, and optimization throughout the programmatic buying and delivery process. 

Unified auctions allow publishers to offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges, removing the cumbersome need to integrate directly into an ad server and result in increased yield for publishers. Publica, for example, is built for scale and allows publishers to offer inventory to multiple sell side partners at the same time, via a single tag integration, and allows real-time bidding, opening up more demand.

Bottom line

In the last year, CTV has reached ubiquity in U.S. households. Not only do nearly 9 in 10 consumers have access to a CTV device, but most prefer the CTV ad experience to that of linear TV. With nearly 50% of workers planning to continue some remote work, it’s likely that CTV will continue to grow. And it will eventually usurp the role of family hearth once held by linear TV and radio before it. In the meantime, publishers have the rare opportunity to forge a new path and optimize for excellence.  

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