The Future of Audience and Identity in Streaming Advertising

Streaming has already grown 266% in the past three years and whether the industry is ready or not, it will overtake traditional TV by 2023. While technically complex, the popularity of streaming presents a great opportunity to rethink advertising, specifically audience and identity, by focusing on accuracy, interoperability, and experience.

Accuracy for advertisers

Buyers and sellers don’t agree on the ability to target audiences on streaming. We found that sellers are confident that they have the right data to target audiences, but buyers, agencies, and marketers don’t agree.

Why does this gap exist? We have an accuracy problem. Streaming is fundamentally different than web and yet, publishers and advertisers continue to use point solutions that are meant to deal with web technology, not streaming—like pixels, ad logs, beacons, ACR data, and sampling techniques from an old monolithic TV era.

Ad sales and marketing teams have a variety of web-based, point solutions that fire occasionally throughout the life of a stream. The results aren’t accurate or complete and then, these teams, along with technology and customer care teams, all end up making decisions based on bad, often disparate data. Plus, sampling solutions set your ad rates on a limited amount of very inaccurate data.

And this scenario happens across billions of streams, devices, and viewers daily. What advertisers need to overcome this accuracy problem is a single source of measurement that continuously collects, cleans, and normalizes at the census and session level, so everyone in the business is using the same data to understand the viewer’s experience.

Interoperability for publishers

Even as teams start using better, more accurate data, it’s vital to be able to activate and share that data outside of your organization, including:

  • First-party data, such as subscriber data, CRM data from Salesforce, and marketing databases
  • Third-party data like Acxiom or anonymous audiences like YouTube viewers who didn’t sign in
  • Proprietary data like content and ad metadata, device, engagement, and quality of experience information from Conviva

But, because every publisher is unique, the data must be standardized and consistent across brands and distribution points to measure incremental and overlapping households across distributor footprints, share of total reach on over-the-top (OTT) in aggregate or for specific audiences, and audience footprint against the marketplace.

Conviva, for example, applies a data model to content, viewer, and ad data without using cookies or device IDs, because those are not controlled by the publisher. We certify first-party-controlled and privacy-secure data, which is the best data to use to build audiences. With this type of standardized data, publishers become interoperable with each other, with third parties for measurement or audience, and with marketers and advertisers. It’s a win-win-win for everyone in the ecosystem.

Experience for viewers

In addition to getting a chance to rethink audience and identity, streaming creates the opportunity for publishers to bring back compelling creative experiences specific to devices. Premium publishers are already aggressively launching streaming content that brands want to be associated with, which is a great sign for audiences looking for enjoyable, relevant content.

However, publishers have been so focused on quality of experience for content that they forgot that ads are also part of the user experience and therefore, many consumers don’t view advertising as positively as they could. Conviva’s data indicates that with just a five-second ad delay, 19.24% of viewers have already abandoned the stream. This means core content viewership that is vital to premium publishers’ livelihood is at risk due to a poor ad quality experience.

As an industry, we also have to rebuild consumer trust on the privacy side. We found that a majority of buyers and sellers agreed that they consider privacy laws, but they must also consider how to build viewer trust by not allowing targeting that is too granular, because 31% of consumers were confident that their privacy is protected and 29% have felt uncomfortably targeted by streaming ads.

To begin winning consumers over on both the quality of ad breaks and privacy, publishers need to ensure that they remain in full control of their identity data and help protect everyone in the process with an identity solution that does not rely on device IDs or third-party cookies and is built with GDPR and CCPA in mind.

The key to all of this is that Conviva has already solved the complex technical problems of streaming and now, our Streaming Insights platform can serve as a foundation for the data needs of every publisher and lead publishers and advertisers to a future where standardized, accurate, real-time, census-level, session-level, always-on continuous measurement is a reality.

Learn more about the future of audience in streaming in this ARF Science x Audience webinar.