• PERSPECTIVE: 5 Mile Markers on the CTV Road Ahead

    CTV is garnering industry headlines and M&A attention right now, with many industry observers happy to declare that “the year of CTV” has already come and gone. But the reality is that we still have a long way to go to achieve the full potential of CTV for advertisers.
    For brands and agencies, the need to calibrate expectations, while still positioning themselves to unlock the tremendous potential of the CTV space, should be a top priority over the next 12 months. Here are five key areas where we still have a lot of work to do to integrate and elevate CTV to its proper place within the marketing mix.

    The road to all TV becoming addressable is a long one.
    To truly align CTV with the larger digital media opportunity, the industry needs to be focused on clarifying and expanding the addressability of TV across linear and streaming alike. But that’s going to be heavily contingent on standards like ATSC 3.0 and the resulting hardware evolution. In other words: Advertisers need to be patient and, for now, focus where the addressable opportunity is real.
    The user experience is still being written.
    Consumers might have moved en masse to streaming environments, but the user experience of how people navigate and find content within this ever-fracturing landscape is still in early phases. The app growth ecosystems within CTV, and the content discovery process, is constantly evolving. Where things shake out will have significant implications for advertisers, and it will be worthwhile to see which companies emerge as leaders in streamlining the viewing experience for users. These companies will have a lot of leverage within the space.
    The frontiers of creative and ad unit innovation are just starting to be pushed.
    As print media evolved into digital, the boundaries of interactivity were shattered, and the intersection of sight, sound and motion was introduced. Similarly, as linear consumption migrates to connected TVs, the interactivity that publishers and advertisers can achieve will go far beyond linear. As an example, look at Walmart Connect’s creative buying partnership with Roku, or some of the innovation around QR codes on TV with companies like Flowcode. These kinds of innovative experiences demonstrate that the CTV ad unit game is only in its first inning.
    We’ll have to break things to fix them in CTV measurement.
    To truly crack the CTV advertising opportunity, measurement still has a long way to go. The industry’s progress in working with IAB Tech Lab to enhance CTV standards for app-ads.txt is a start—but just a start. Our industry has to break down walls to enable greater transparency in the CTV measurement space and move beyond household insights to achieve the optimal level of granularity. And even then, we’ll need to reconcile what better measurement and addressability within CTV space means for concepts like upfront buying.
    We’ll have to resolve privacy issues before they happen.
    Compared to a digital ecosystem dominated by a Chrome browser or iOS or Android app policy, the CTV ecosystem, and enforcement of its privacy boundaries, are spread amongst a larger group of stakeholders in ISPs, OEMs, platforms and content creators. The digital ecosystem’s reactive approach to privacy and user data have blossomed into regulations at the legislative and technological level. As technologists in the connected television world, we’ll need to build for a post-privacy future.
    From an advertiser’s standpoint, now is the time to start paying close attention to which companies begin to make a name for themselves when it comes to improving addressability, streamlining the viewer experience, reinventing CTV ad units and uniting the many disparate pieces needed for proper measurement and attribution. These will be the companies that truly bring about “the year of CTV.”