Online video offers tremendous reach and growth potential for advertisers and publishers alike. But disparate technologies and fragmented metrics have been longtime pain points. There’s a clear need for a solution that can bring standardization, interoperability and improved efficiency to the industry.
That solution might finally be on its way with the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s unveiling of their ambitious Advanced TV initiative. Built alongside standards that have already been approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the IAB’s work could prove to be a significant step toward universal addressability, both for the myriad of devices and online services that make up the ATV ecosystem, and for the elusive bridge to linear TV measurement as well.
Standardizing and unifying all these different outlets of buying and selling ads in a way that allows everyone to compete means that everyone can win, including consumers. We have seen in the past that these types of issues are resolvable when the industry comes together and comes up with a solution that works for everyone. This could be the start of something truly transformational.
Before diving into the IAB’s plan, it’s important to understand what Advanced TV is.Namely,Advanced TV is an umbrella term that refers to any TV device or service that isn’t part of traditional broadcast channels (or Linear TV, with some exceptions). Those products and services are often distinct from one another in subcategory, but they’re all considered a part of Advanced TV as a whole.
From an advertising perspective, the key divide between Advanced TV and traditional broadcast is addressability, which isthe ability to serve targeted ads to viewers based on their individual data, and track the success of whole campaigns based on various observable metrics. Standardizing and streamlining that process across Linear and Advanced TV is the crux of IAB’s initiative.
The IAB released a three-year roadmap that outlines the implementation of their vision. In it, they listed five key objectives that they will use to chart its success:
- Interoperability for frame accurate ad delivery and ad break management
- Universal addressability and reconciliation for audience measurement
- Full auditability for advertising campaigns delivery
- Ad measurement for delivery and viewability verification
- Omnichannel sales management for programmatic buying and selling of upfronts as well as spot buys
To accomplish these objectives, the IAB outlined the technologies that they will be deploying over the next three years to modernize the medium.
Working within digital standards like OM SDK, the IAB’s open watermark signal will collect vital measurements like viewability verification across the breadth of ATV’s services and devices. It will also allow for universal ad break management and frame-accurate ad insertion or replacement for video publishers. This is all in hopes of achieving a better ad experience for consumers who are otherwise forced to view the same ad many times over due to poor targeting capabilities.
In conjunction with IAB’s watermark, a universal ad identification system will be key to auditing campaigns and creatives. This will provide the much-needed ability to track both throughout the supply chain, so any ad can be identified and attached to its respective campaign. Ad-ID will also be a crucial component of bridging the tracking gap to linear channels.
This technology and methodology will reconcile audience measurement based on data from multiple delivery channels, including linear ones. In the future, this will standardize tokenization and reconciliation, improving universal addressability.
To ensure scalability on a programmatic level, IAB’s watermark will integrate with OpenRTB signaling over the next three years. This will also include developing live streaming ad break management and publisher safety guidance.
If IAB’s initiative can deliver on its objectives, the Advanced TV landscape could be on the verge of a sweeping evolution. One that will turn the current disparate jumble of technologies and metrics into an interconnected, holistic, and truly universal measurement system across both linear and non-linear channels. The task is great and the days are early. But it’s hard not to be excited about the possibilities, and we’ll be among those watching the IAB’s progress – and the evolution of Advanced TV – with keen interest over the next few years.