While the purpose of advertising hasn’t changed over the years, the methods of delivering it are evolving at lightning speed. A recent surge in free ad-supported TV (FAST) and other advertising-based streaming services has left marketers scrambling to capture the eyes of viewers whose attention is more divided than ever.
In a recent Streaming Media webinar sponsored by Conviva, The Future of Ad Tech, a slate of panelists discussed some challenges with current ad tech and ways to overcome them, so advertisers can elevate the viewer experience while boosting their revenue.
Header Bidding Takes Hold
In the world of digital advertising, header bidding has transformed the ad buying experience since it emerged several years ago. Using this technology, publishers offer ad inventory to many ad exchanges at once, and multiple demand sources can bid on ads at the same time. In a shift from the old waterfall process, it’s a way for bidding to happen prior to ad selection.
“Header bidding removes the variable nature of ‘Do I have something or not.’ It really helps keep the executional process a little cleaner when you’re trying to put together ads.” – Jarred Wilichinsky, SVP Global Video Monetization and Operations, CBS Interactive
For publishers, it has enhanced competition and provided them with a way to fill their advertising inventory with ads and gain revenue. However, supply side platforms (SSP)— software that connects buyers and publishers to plan, measure, and optimize their campaigns in a single interface—are not without their challenges.
Because SSPs add another integration piece in the codebase, they create another potential point of failure that marketers may need to troubleshoot. SSPs may also increase latency and degrade the viewer experience in an already fragmented market. To combat these risks, it’s important to focus on development and quality assurance at every step so you don’t miss a beat when app releases are iterated or connected device partners fail to make updates.
Metadata Can Make or Break a Campaign
Knowing your audience is inherent to the success of any advertising campaign, and in the digital world, this information comes in the form of metadata. Publishers look at the metadata attached to ads to determine how to display an ad. If the metadata is sub-par, then publishers can only guess at when, where, and how often they should place the ad.
Because of this, it’s critically important to have a solid foundation of quality metadata to support ad buys. However, there is a lot of fragmentation of data across the ecosystem, which can make it challenging to know exactly who your audience is.
To solve the messy metadata issue, Conviva deploys an SDK across all platforms, regardless of what operating system they use, to collect real-time data.
“We collect data very consistently, we clean the data, and we normalize data for the publishers.” – Shuo Tian, VP of Product Management, Advertising and Identity, Conviva
With quality metadata in hand, advertisers are poised to gain the most benefit from their ad spend.
Navigating the Fragmentation Inherent in CTV
The increasing popularity of streaming has made CTV one of the most in-demand channels of digital advertising. More marketers are turning to it to reach viewers who have cut the cord in exchange for OTT offerings. But what can be a boon for advertisers can also become a burden.
That’s because the CTV ecosystem is highly fragmented thanks to server-side ad insertion, which is a complex process with opportunities for error at every step along the way. This includes server-side stitching, responding to the server with the ad payload, unwrapping tags and stitching them in, unifying and zipping it up with the content, and delivering it to the client with the beacon payloads.
If there’s a problem at any point, it can be challenging to pinpoint the cause. Not all CTV platforms have a debug mode, so you may not be able to see what is happening in the server. It can be time-consuming to pull the necessary logs and piece together what occurred. One solution is to partner with an outfit that can unify analytics across endpoints. This provides visibility to every part of the intricate system with the exception of the CTV itself, which can improve the marketer’s ability to provide a seamless experience for viewers.
Combating Ad Fatigue
One of the annoyances of viewing streaming content is when the same ad plays repeatedly over the course of a viewing session. This can be challenging to overcome for many reasons. An advertiser may have multiple agencies representing it, so the same brand could have the same ads feeding into the same platforms at the same time without realizing it.
“It’s hard to control when that brand is coming through so many different channels, there isn’t a common set of metadata, and not every system talks to every system. It’s a challenge. We’re all consumers of streaming in one way or another. We all see it, and we all need to work together to improve it.” – Jarred Wilichinsky, SVP Global Video Monetization and Operations, CBS Interactive
Ad buyers can avoid this nuisance by using Ad-ID to attach a universal identifier to each individual ad. While this technology hasn’t been widely adopted yet, it can help publishers ensure that the same ad doesn’t play during each ad break in a given period. From the buyer side, using Ad-ID may have a negative impact on volume, so marketers need to weigh the pros and cons so they can make informed decisions about their strategies.
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