As we begin to wrap up the first quarter of 2021, it is clear that the industry’s relationship with CTV will continue to challenge advertisers as they look to capture viewers across screens and keep pace with cord-cutters. In addition to a few wishes that we spend less time in the coming year in virtual meetings and more time together in-person and that we can gather safely for the industry events that help us grow relationships, I also have a few wishes and predictions for the programmatic CTV rocket ship, a bright spot in 2020 and a continued area of momentum for the advertising industry in the year to come.
1. Overcoming fragmentation
The world of CTV is fragmented with many different entry points, whether it be the myriad devices in which consumers can view content or the increasing number of distribution services, content producers, ad tech stacks, and video players. With all of these different puzzle pieces, there are opportunities to build consensus and make it easier for buyers to access the premium CTV supply they are looking for, and sellers to ensure they are maximizing revenue and also building the best viewer experience possible.
With all of the unknowns this last year brought us – the U.S. Presidential Election, canceled sports, delayed upfronts, privacy regulation, and changing identifiers, to name a few – 2021 will no doubt open up a new set of challenges. With such uncertainty, publishers can benefit from ad tech infrastructure that allows them to make fast, educated decisions in preparation for whatever they encounter in 2021.
2. Unleashing Competition
In order to stay nimble in 2021, publishers need flexibility to accept demand when it makes sense for their business. Improving yield is a critical challenge to solve for CTV publishers, especially those with limited available CTV inventory.
Publishers need a way of connecting programmatic demand sources in a flat, real-time auction outside of the waterfall so that they can work with multiple high-quality demand partners simultaneously, maximizing the value of every impression.
3. Encouraging Differentiation
Reducing fragmentation in ad tech doesn’t mean the need for differentiation disappears. Publishers will need to select technology partners that are invested in CTV and OTT holistically, meaning they provide unique demand, the tools needed to curate and transact deals successfully, and the ability to support both digital and TV advertising businesses as the two continue to converge.
Technology partners that facilitate direct relationships between media owners and brands will become a basic necessity as third-party cookies go away, and as mediums like CTV that don’t rely on third-party cookies continue to grow. First-party data will prove invaluable as well as premium content and innovative technological offerings that streamline marketplace transactions like curation and programmatic guaranteed.