‘Tis the season… for maximising quality inventory in CTV environments

As the cost of linear TV ad placements soar, all eyes are on Connected TV (CTV) this Christmas. Here’s why ‘ad podding’, ‘audio normalisation’ and ‘competitive separation’ should be on marketers list for Santa this year.

With the rise of AVOD models, advertisers now have access to premium, high quality inventory. Hunain Khan, Director of Programmatic CTV Supply at Xandr outlines the pitfalls marketers can fall into when first approaching CTV ads. 

It wouldn’t be Christmas for most consumers without time spent in front of the telly. But over the last few years, we’ve seen a switch in what people are viewing. With more than three-quarters (76%) of Brits now owning a Connected TV (CTV), eyeballs are switching from traditional Christmas films on linear TV to video-on-demand (VOD) content, and advertisers are understandably following suit. The once prime-time TV advertising slots are losing their sparkle to newer advertising-video on-demand (AVOD) inventory.  

Particularly popular with younger audiences, AVOD is a win win for advertisers;  it reaches an audience likely to be active on dual screens and it’s also significantly cheaper to advertise against than linear TV, which has increased the price of its ad slots 20% this winter. Plus it allows marketers to target specific audience segments reducing the waste associated with linear TV buys. 

With the rise of AVOD models, advertisers now have access to premium, high quality inventory, and providing they have the correct strategy and work with the right partners, brands can utilise CTV to take their sales to the next level during the festive season. It’s important that advertisers don’t put budget towards CTV without due care and consideration though. Being a nascent technology, there are pitfalls to sidestep and processes to follow if brands want to avoid selling themselves short. 

So, what CTV features should advertisers be aware of to get the most out of their campaigns this Christmas? 

Ad podding 

One reason brands have been reluctant to advertise on CTV is due to a perceived lack of control over ad placements. CTV ads are typically purchased programmatically within an auction, so brands are right to be concerned about the dangers of inappropriate ad placement. Features have been introduced to CTV however, to give advertisers greater confidence when buying against AVOD content. One of these is ‘ad podding’, whereby a group of ads is sequenced together to be played back-to-back within a single ad break. It prevents brands from appearing next to competitors, enables better targeting as advertisers know which content they’ll be appearing against; and ensures that viewers won’t be subjected to the same ad in the same break, which is frustrating for consumers and detrimental to brands.  

Competitive separation

To further guarantee brand safety, advertisers should also look to work with solutions that offer competitive separation to ensure that ads from brands in a similar industry do not appear in the same ad break. This means for instance that an ad for Nike would not appear alongside one for Adidas. Competitive separation also gives brands greater control over frequency capping, which prevents the same ad from being shown to the same consumer too many times.  

Audio normalisation

We can probably all remember a time we’ve been watching video content and an ad break comes on playing decibels above the volume of what we’ve been watching. This can be highly annoying and intrusive to consumers and can leave a sour taste regardless of how good the creative element of the ad is. Luckily for brands, there’s a fix; audio normalisation ensures that the audio track of different ads and the surrounding content are played at a consistent volume so as not to startle consumers and make for an all-round better ad experience. 

Curation technology 

One of the biggest issues with AVOD inventory is that the supply marketplace is fragmented. In a bid to counter this, advertisers are increasingly buying programmatic CTV inventory through private marketplaces (PMPs) where they have trusted relationships with the seller, for increased safety and better access to premium inventory than on open marketplaces. 

The best of these are powered by proprietary data, whereby data owners create PMPs that layer their data with multi-seller publisher inventory from omnichannel global supply exchanges. These not only give data owners greater control over how they market their proprietary data to capture new programmatic spend but also allow buyers to have confidence in where their ad budgets are being spent. What’s more, by activating this first-party data, brand advertisers can better target and maximise the reach of their campaigns, ensuring top level targeting during the critical festive season. 

CTV is quickly becoming the channel of choice for forward thinking advertisers. Fortunately for brands, its initial AVOD teething problems are being remedied by technological advances in the market. By working with the right partners that can help them avert any risks, advertisers can be sure that their CTV budgets will be well spent this Christmas.   

By Hunain Khan

Director, Programmatic CTV Supply