And IAS can also still grow within the legacy ad verification category, of course.
“What I would refer to as a three-horse race when I joined the company has turned into a two-horse race,” Utzschneider told AdExchanger prior to the investor report.
Utzschneider joined IAS as CEO in late 2018. Since then, she said Moat has lost share and accounts following its acquisition by Oracle Data Cloud, leaving IAS and DoubleVerify, which also went public last year.
But chasing the CTV opportunity means facing other competitors – namely, Nielsen.
Publica, a CTV ad server, brings supply-side information, such as the app or show in which an ad ran or the video content genre, which can be used to improve TV campaign ratings, Utzschneider told AdExchanger. “It’s helping us launch differentiated products that our competitors just can’t build.”
CTV is the biggest potential growth source for IAS. But programmatic, somewhat counterintuitively, is IAS’s actual growth engine right now.
IAS has three main revenue categories: advertiser-direct, programmatic and supply-side. Advertiser-direct revenue is the biggest, totaling $146.3 million last year, up $22 million from 2020. But programmatic is catching up fast, from $87.1 million in 2020 to $134.4 million last year.
The biggest driver of programmatic growth is the company’s contextual advertising product, which steers advertiser dollars to brand safe or brand suitable content, and which reconciles campaigns when ads are served to unacceptable media for the brand.
One investor asked whether geopolitical tensions and more online attention and social media content related to those “events” – nobody actually directly mentioned the invasion of Ukraine or the war with Russia during the earnings call – affects the conversations IAS has with advertisers.
“In terms of geopolitical events,” Utzschneider said, “our technology and services have never been more relevant.”