Challenges and opportunities of CTV advertising with BidMind’s Oleg Fogel

Oleg Fogel, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer at BidMind. Image credit: BidMind

AdTech Insights Interview

Key takeaways:

  • With CTV, advertisers gain a new set of tools, which can be especially useful with an omnichannel approach.
  • While CTV is an exceptional brand advertising channel, it can also drive direct sales with the correct approach.
  • CTV will see a lot of development, especially in the way customers interact with the ads.
  • First-party data is one of the keys in targeting and measuring for digital advertising with the focus on CTV.

In recent years, the way people watch television has changed drastically, with users switching from linear to connected TV (CTV). We talked with BidMind’s Chief Strategy & Technology Officer Oleg Fogel about the rising opportunities and challenges of CTV advertising.

Oleg, you have been at the forefront of programmatic advertising as an active industry member since its inception. Why do you think CTV is so popular among marketers?

Streaming is a natural progression from linear TV, and with time most households in developed countries will be enjoying connected TV. This logically brings the attention of marketers that want to keep up with the audience. We are observing this trend across many markets. For example, according to our partners Pixalate, in LaTam CTV recently saw a 482% rise in year spending.

CTV has many advantages in the realm of digital advertising. On the one hand, we have TV sets shared by households that provide ample opportunities for brand advertising. You don’t often get a chance to play an ad to a whole family gathered in the living room, with everyone excited about a new show. The audience both sees and hears the message, and they become involved.

At the same time, if we consider OTT in general, it finds its way to personal gadgets such as phones, tablets, and laptops. Through these devices, advertisers can play targeted ads aimed directly at the customer.

CTV is a relatively safe advertising channel in terms of privacy, making it even more attractive to industry professionals. For example, according to IAB 2022 Brand Disruption Report, privacy is stated among the reasons given by marketers for ramping up their CTV budgets.

One of the challenges CTV advertisers face nowadays is attribution since the ad buyers need to understand the viewers’ reactions after watching an ad. How is AdTech dealing with this challenge of creating conditions for practical attribution models that include CTV?

First, let’s keep in mind that there is no ideal magic attribution model for every campaign. Each brand has its own stakeholders, and every product or service has its funnel, which makes it difficult to apply a blanket strategy for all campaigns.

There are numerous ways to measure the performance of CTV ads, and I’m sure we will hear about new implementations in the months and years to come. In this answer, I will run through a few examples, from the most simple down to more complex cases.

Let’s say, a campaign wants to drive app downloads from TV set viewers. Advertisers can set up a QR code and use scans to measure the campaign’s effectiveness. Easy enough.

In another example, the campaign may be aimed at bringing a customer to the website. A QR code can be in place here as well, and additionally, “assisted visits” can be measured with a multi-touch points approach using IP addresses. In this case, advertisers would need to cross-reference visitors’ IP addresses and the available first-party data.

An even more complex case in terms of measurement would be attracting customers to a physical location. To evaluate the success of such a campaign, I would include footfall measurement, client first-party data, and probabilistic data science algorithms.

Essentially, with CTV and other digital advertising channels like Audio, the marketers got a new set of tools. Those tools create new opportunities, but we also need to adapt to use them for the best possible outcomes. Those who adapt the most quickly will reap the most benefits.

CTV advertising traditionally is seen as a tool to increase brand awareness rather than a vehicle for generating sales. How do you think this perception will evolve over the next couple of years?

As I’ve mentioned, there is no magic model to fit every product or brand. For some clients, CTV is a perfect instrument to bring brand awareness. To others, CTV can be used to drive sales.

There will always be creative marketers who can take advantage of every aspect of various advertisement channels. And that brings us to another dimension of modern AdTech – the omnichannel approach. A campaign may start an interaction with the customer through CTV, then switch to an audio ad and finish with a web banner. Modern advertising platforms, BidMind included, make it easy to launch campaigns involving multiple communication channels. So by combining CTV with other channels, marketers can achieve multiple goals, build awareness and drive sales simultaneously.

For many ad buyers, fraud protection and brand safety are essential. How developed is CTV advertising to face current safety concerns?

AdTech has a lot of experience dealing with ad fraud, and the principles generally remain the same. We need to deal with familiar threats such as privacy protection, impression validation, etc. Every platform owner is interested in creating a safe space for the business growth of their clients.

Narrowing down to the specific issues of CTV, its ecosystem has room for growth in impression validation capabilities. There are notable initiatives to create practical mechanisms, and I believe it’s just a matter of time until they are implemented by the key market players. For example, IAB Tech Lab’s Security Foundations Working Group proposed ads.cert protocol suite to address fraud risks cases with CTV in mind.

In general, this issue is complex and should be constantly monitored. We at BidMind verify the data and inventory ourselves and with the help of our partners, including Pixalate and DoubleVerify. This way, we make sure we align with privacy regulations and protect our users’ identities.

Compared to other digital advertising options, CTV is still in the early development stages. What kind of innovations do you think we will see on this device in the coming years?

This depends on the ways connected TV develops. We have some ideas based on recent trends and common sense that will drive it. Just like the mobile ecosystem had in its early stages, CTV advertising nowadays has a lot of ways it can evolve. I believe the way we interact with the ads will change.

For example, while streaming CTV content, users often engage with a secondary device scrolling social media feeds. We may well see developments allowing advertisers to take advantage of this behavior, such as the two devices interacting with one another to find out what the user is doing.

In the coming years, we will be seeing solutions aimed at maintaining large volumes of smaller campaigns as well as hyper-targeting based on location, habits, and other traits. As an example of such innovations, BidMind recently launched a new geofencing feature called GeoNow. This feature allows marketers to execute omnichannel campaigns, reaching specific audiences in precise locations.

What can you say about how precisely CTV advertising is targeted? How well is it developed in comparison with the other digital advertising options?

As with the other programmatic advertising channels, precision in CTV boils down to the amount of data you have and how you manage it. There are data management platforms (DMPs) that work as AdTech think tanks to handle this task and help provide accurate results.

One thing about AdTech which is especially important for CTV advertising is the basic human approach. A company can build a platform powered by modern UI, the latest targeting tools, and the best data. Yet, customer support, sales, AdOps, and other teams will still always need to sit down with the clients and listen to what they say. I believe that this is the only practical approach to consistently drive efficient client-focused campaigns.

The challenges marketers face are changing constantly, and we need to adjust on the fly. You can’t just stop in development and sit on your laurels.

To sum up, what would you say to the ad buyers currently evaluating CTV as part of their marketing strategy?

For obvious reasons, COVID had a profound impact on streaming content consumption. Consumers have begun spending more time both with their personal devices and in front of a TV set. Furthermore, with customers growing increasingly protective of their privacy, CTV provides a wide range of tools for advertisers to apply contextual targeting. Advertisers can combine content information with a clear picture of the client profile. This provides engaging content for the customer and positive interaction for the brand. It’s a win-win.

Between 2021 and 2025 it is estimated that CTV spending will double and reach $27.47 billion (numbers courtesy of eMarketer). This alone shows how popular connected TV has become and that it will continue to rise in demand. This is a new golden era for TV advertising, one that I believe will be full of unexpected challenges and with creative solutions.

AdTech Insights is an industry insights initiative launched by BidMind. It is aimed to assist marketers in digital advertising and other facets of AdTech.

For more AdTech Insights, follow Oleg Fogel via LinkedIn.

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