Marketers Don’t Trust CTV Yet – Here’s How To Change That

On TV & Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today’s column is by tvScientific co-founder and CEO Jason Fairchild. 

Over the past several decades, most TV advertisers have bought into the lie that 25,000 US households accurately represent the viewing behavior of more than 100 million homes.  

Spellbound by the allure of the medium and the handful of all-powerful TV networks, advertisers allow this myth to govern the $70 billion they spend yearly on TV ads.  

Decades later, we are left with a massive trust vacuum in TV advertising. There are nine million advertisers spending $150 billion annually across Google and Facebook while sitting on the TV sidelines because its measurement and attribution technologies are no match for the granularity of digital channels. These advertisers will never embrace TV without the ability to measure true return on ad spend. 

But thanks to the mass consumer shift from linear toward connected TVs and premium streaming content, TV is beginning to mine the powerful digital marketing capabilities that big search engines and social networks offer. This shift is creating – for the first time – the opportunity for true 1:1 targeting and measurement on TV.

But being “digital-like” does not mean CTV advertising is trustworthy. After all, there’s a long history of trust issues in digital advertising. 

I believe the biggest opportunity in advertising right now is to enable a large percentage of digital-first performance marketers to migrate spend to CTV. But for that to happen, a new set of data is required. 

Because consumers do not click on TVs, the attribution process must be based on comprehensively assembled data that connects TV ad exposure to a specific business outcome. A complete understanding of a user’s journey is the only way to know whether someone made a purchase, visited a website or installed an app as a result of seeing a TV ad. And it’s the only way for CTV to gain marketers’ trust. 

The four facets that build trust in CTV

Building trust with marketers comes down to big data. With proper access to massive, well-structured data sets on fully transparent platforms, marketers and their data science teams can forensically connect the dots between the time/date stamp of an ad delivered, all the way through to the order ID.  

While this level of radical transparency is an essential component of building trust with advanced marketers, there are several more pressing aspects to the all-important TV “trust formula.” 

  1. Radical transparency  

Marketers’ data science teams need to see for themselves every aspect of campaign data, including event-log-level time/date stamps for each impression, media cost and data cost. 

  1. Total platform flexibility and control  

Growth teams for performance marketers usually have their own view of how attribution should work. New CTV platforms must provide complete flexibility on critical components of the attribution process, including the actual attribution window itself, the weight/value of each advertising touch point, insight into which apps to buy and the ability to export data into first- or third-party measurement platforms.

  1. Zero tolerance for arbitrage platforms 

Marketers do not trust arbitrage companies because there’s a fundamental misalignment of incentives – the more they win, the more marketers lose.

  1. Ability to manage the platform in house 

Most sophisticated marketers want the option of bringing their major growth channels in house because the more critical a channel is to their success, the less they want that channel to depend on third parties. 

When marketers start to trust the data and see that a channel is driving ROAS and incrementality, they will spend against it at scale. In this way, platforms become an enabling, trusted technology partner to marketers with total alignment of incentives. And after 70 years of panel-based TV measurement that looks downright medieval compared to digital advertising, nothing short of this new trust model will win over marketers in CTV.

This is the formula that best represents the new currency in TV: Trust = Data x Transparency x Control.

Follow tvScientific (@tv_scientific) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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