Adapting the Connected TV Ad Ecosystem

Post on April 30, 2020 by Emma Newman

Emma Newman
Emma Newman CRO, EMEA

In the wake of Covid-19, PubMatic’s Emma Newman looks at how to safeguard and grow OTT and CTV advertising revenues.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a huge rise in TV and streaming media services’ viewership as consumers around the world adjust to the new stay-at-home world. Meanwhile, in the face of economic uncertainty, advertisers have responded to the pandemic by cutting budgets in order to preserve profitability. This has resulted in a CTV advertising ecosystem where supply outweighs demand and paves the way for programmatic in CTV as publishers seek an efficient and effective way of generating revenue at this difficult time.

Mitigating against a contracting market

No publisher wants to be perceived as trying to profit out of a global crisis. In these unprecedented times, the challenge for video publishers is to create new opportunities and value-benefits for advertisers while maintaining integrity with their audience.

Advertisers are having to redefine what is the right message, right person and right time on a daily basis. To do this, and maintain share-of-voice you need two things – real-time data-based insights and the ability to optimise campaigns, changing messaging, targeting and activation tactics, in real-time. This is exactly what programmatic has always delivered and today, more than ever, provides publishers and brands with an opportunity to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis.

People come first

We’re seeing audience volumes increasing across all platforms and new audiences emerging across channels – especially OTT and CTV. Publishers and technology companies are the first ones to be privy to such information and have a shared responsibility to disseminate this knowledge to the market while developing solutions that enable brands to swiftly optimise budget according to where their target audiences are spending time.

The digital advertising industry, particularly the programmatic side, spends a lot of time talking about platforms, algorithms, ad serving etc, but consumers simply want a great experience when consuming video. What this usually boils down to is a TV-like experience. That’s our problem as an industry to solve and therein lies the opportunity.

Adapt not change

When it comes to creative, brands need to have a similar mindset to publishers in terms of not being seen as wanting to profit from a crisis. At the same time, brands need to maintain their core positioning in order to successfully emerge from the crisis as strong, if not stronger, than they entered it.

A wonderful example of this is Persil which has always marketed their detergent’s ability to remove stains. Pre-pandemic ads featured children playing outdoors, today’s ads show children engaged in messy indoor activities with a voice over acknowledging the shift in messaging. Publishers and programmatic technology companies need to, and are, offering brands the ability switch creative quickly and provide data-driven insight into how different messaging is resonating with consumers.

The new norm

As the old English proverb says, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Let’s swap out invention for innovation and that is the situation we find ourselves in now. Over the last month there has been a surge of innovative thinking and rapid turnaround of solutions that help publishers monetise audiences and brands access those audiences in an appropriate, efficient manner.

If the digital advertising industry wants to come out of the current crisis stronger than it went in, it is paramount that we maintain this level of innovation, and continue to put consumers first and consider the needs of publishers and brands equally.

The rapid movement of audiences into streaming and CTV environments has pushed slower adopters into this space, especially those that look for more niche content. This is not likely to reverse post-crisis and as a result, media planning and buying will have to change in order for the industry to thrive, rather than survive, in an even more fragmented landscape than we are used to.

What does the future hold

We will come out of this in a very different position in a very short period of time. We will learn three things about audiences that will drive change: Audience demographics will expand; content consumption will become more fragmented; and device use will change.

From an advertising perspective, this will mean that publishers and buyers will need to overcome differences across multiple platforms in attribution and performance measurement, inventory quality standards and campaign delivery requirements to name but a few in order to be able to deliver advertising seamlessly to audiences.

Digital and broadcast budgets will start to merge, and we may even see a third bucket which transcends both. There will be a bigger focus on future-proofing as the industry reflects on the ability for the world to change dramatically in a matter of days.

By enabling brands to re-purpose budgets, alter messages and creatives in a very cost effective way, and optimise campaigns in an agile way we will ensure that crisis or no crisis, ad spend is used wisely not just moved around.

Fundamental changes in consumer behaviour – shopping habits and more flexible working will bring new advertisers and new verticals into the space especially direct to consumer and B2B brands.

By doing so, publishers will be able to work with brands to deliver the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, across the right platform. Safeguarding their relationship with their audience and thereby safeguarding digital advertising.

Originally published in Mediatel